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When Tree Roots Wreak Havoc On Your Plumbing System

There are times when a drain will stop flowing properly without warning and come to a complete standstill. However, more times than not, the drain has progressively gotten more sluggish, and you’ve just not noticed it.  The usual DIY methods don’t seem to clear it, and you are left wondering what has happened. Chances are, your pluming and sewer system has been invaded by tree roots

When tree roots wreak havoc on your plumbing system, it can result in major damage, be quite expensive to repair, and potentially dangerous. Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you uncover the problem before it gets worse.

While trees in your yard are beautiful to look at and provide added shade to your yard and home, their extensive root system can invade your underground pipes as they grow and spread out.

Mature tree roots have the ability to spread beyond 2-3 times the diameter of the tree’s canopy. This means that a 30 ft. tree can have roots that reach anywhere from 60-90 feet past the trunk. Typically, the roots remain close to the top – 6-18 inches deep – where most of the nutrients are. However, during drought, or when we are experiencing very dry weather, the roots will go further down to gather the nutrients they need to keep growing and providing the shade you want. This puts the roots in a prime position to interact with your home’s underground plumbing system.

As mentioned, you may not even realize that your drain is slowing down. This could be an indication that you have a root problem, especially if it’s a re-occurring issue. While the occasional clog is common, ones that re-occur, or seem impossible to clear are not. Showers that fill up, or sinks that hold standing water long after you are done, can indicate you are dealing with tree roots.

Strange noises can also alert you to the fact that there’s an issue.  For instance, if you hear a gurgling noise every time you flush your toilet, or your sink is ‘burping’, it’s time to get your plumbing system checked.

Sewage backup is another good indicator that you have an issue. When there’s a blockage somewhere in your sewage line, backup can occur. Sewage backup can result in foul smells due to leaking sewage gases. Rotten eggs, spoiled milk, and other generally stomach-turning odors are what will immediately tell you that sewage gases are present within the home.

Landscaping plays a large part when it comes to the potential problem brought about my tree roots. There are many older neighborhoods in Toledo and many have trees that were planted far too close to the homes or other buildings.  If you live in one of the older neighborhoods, you have a higher chance of tree roots wreaking havoc on your plumbing system.

If you are considering planting new trees, or are just building a new home, do your research. Learn how tall your tree can grow and find out how far the root system can extend. If it’s not realistic for your landscaping to avoid all sewer line locations, you can re-think your landscaping choices to minimize your risk of root obstructions. Slow-growing trees that don’t reach more than 20 feet tall are a safe bet—this includes species such as Japanese maple, and eastern redbud. On the flip side, avoid planting trees known to cause damage, such as willow, birch, and oaks.

Also, if you have one tree that seems to be growing faster than others, or is greener than others, it could be getting nutrients from your sewer system.

If you suspect that you have an issue with a tree root, give us a call and one of our experts will come out and assess the situation and determine the best course of action.

Going forward, we can keep your plumbing system is in good working order to help prevent not only tree roots causing problems, but also many other common plumbing problems. Our experts can do more than unclog drains – from septic and sewer services to water heating and filtration, we are here to solve whatever plumbing situation you face.

2 thoughts on “When Tree Roots Wreak Havoc On Your Plumbing System”

  1. It’s so amazing that these roots can spread out in an area double the size of the canopy. My sister has some older trees on her property. She is worried some of them might be ruining her plumbing so she needs them removed.

  2. It’s so amazing that these roots can spread out in an area double the size of the canopy. My sister has some older trees on her property. She is worried some of them might be ruining her plumbing so she needs them removed.

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