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Detecting Tree Roots in Pipes and How to Remove Them Properly

Tree root is among the recurring problems regarding plumbing. It’s something you will eventually bump into. When that comes around, you need to be prepared with ways to do tree root removal. This article is here to help you with just that. We’ll go through what causes roots to get into your sewer line, signs of a pipe damaged by tree roots, and finally, how to get rid of them.

Tree root removal in plumbing - intro

What causes tree roots to penetrate your plumbing?

Tree roots are tasked to find sources to get water and nutrients. Anything underground containing water within the 20-meter radius will draw the roots.

Of course, roots cannot get into your plumbing because your sewer line is in the way. However, a crack in your pipe is an entirely different story. Those roots will detect a nearby leak and make their way into your pipes.

Tree root removal in plumbing - what causes tree root to be in your plumbing system?

A loose joint goes the same way as a crack since the roots will be drawn in. Sewer line penetration happens in a matter of days after an entry is located by the roots.

Another reason behind tree roots in your plumbing system is your accommodation being outdated. Such a problem usually happens to old houses. The sewer line in those types of houses was made of concrete or clay. Those pipes will get weakened after 20 years or so. Roots can easily break through old pipes and damage the plumbing network.

How to tell that your plumbing needs tree root removal

Tree root removal in plumbing - signs that you need one

Signs of roots in your system are not hard to notice. However, the severity of each sign is really important. Slow draining and gurgling sounds when you flush are the early signs, and you can feel relieved when those are presented to you.

However, it doesn’t mean you can leave those unchecked. The gurgling sound means bubbles are formed in your plumbing network. As tree roots move into your pipes, the symptoms get worse. The constant expansion of tree roots will eventually break your pipes, leaving you with expensive repair bills beyond your paying capabilities.

Tree root removal in plumbing - signs that you need one
Smelly drains can be resulted from tree roots damaging your pipes

Even worse, sinkholes will start to appear after your pipes get broken. The combination of water and tree roots can erode your soil, thus hammering the very foundation of your home. Sinkholes also release a foul smell disturbing the surrounding residence.

How tree roots can damage your pipes

As mentioned earlier, tree roots can detect if sources of water, nutrient, and even oxygen are nearby. They will move closer to it to get more. When they successfully penetrate your sewer line, they will continue to enlarge to fill your pipe up, catching any objects falling down your drain, such as toilet paper, thus leading to massive clogs.

Simultaneously, pressure is also built up as the roots expand. When it reaches a certain level, your pipes will break due to the inability to withstand the exerted pressure.

How to do a proper tree root removal

When you encounter roots in your plumbing, there are several ways you can apply for proper tree root removal such as:

a. Rock Salt

Using rock salt is perhaps the most common method out there. To do this, you need at least 2 pounds of rock salt. You can quickly get it from the local store or any e-commerce platform.

Tree root removal in plumbing - rock salt

First, put about half a pound of your rock salt into the toilet. Flush until that half a pound is gone. Then, continue to add half a pound of rock salt. Repeat the process until 2 to 3 pounds of rock salt is used up.

What rock salt does to the tree roots is sucks moisture from them. The roots will die from the lack of water.

When you’re done, leave the toilet for at least 12 hours without running water through it or flushing it. Go back and check after 12 hours, and the roots should be cleared up. If the issue’s still there, you might want to call a plumber.

b. Foaming Root Killers

This powder can be used to both eliminate tree roots and prevent future issues from it. All you have to do is to pour some powder into your toilet and flush. Foaming Root Killers release Dichlobenil when it reaches the water. The agent goes straight for the root growth and removes them.

Tree root removal in plumbing - Foaming Root Killers

You can use this method monthly to prevent roots from damaging your plumbing.

c. Copper Sulfate

Your local plumbing store also sells something called copper sulfate. This chemical is toxic and should be used with due care.

Tree root removal in plumbing - Copper Sulfate
Remember to be careful around this blue chemical

To execute this, pour half a cup of the concoction down your toilet, and flush multiple times until it’s washed off. Then, take your family members and pets and leave the house for several hours.

Copper Sulfate is banned in some areas. It’s advisable to check the local legislation before acquiring.

d. Ask a professional

A well-honed plumber will perform any of the previous tree root removal solutions with ease and high accuracy. Plus, he/she can conduct a much more thorough investigation of your problem using various techniques.

Tree root removal in plumbing - Ask a professional

If you’re in San Jose and are having a headache regarding tree root removal, you can give us a call. We will be right over to help.

Those are the ways to remove tree roots from your plumbing system. There is more than one way to fix the issue, so choose the most suitable one for you to apply. If you’re not a DIY person, contact us as soon as the problem arises to discuss it.


About Local Rooter Corporation.

Local Rooter Corporation has been working hard to satisfy the plumbing system needs of home and business owners in San Jose and surrounding areas. Integrity and skills are served as our top priorities Whether it is a service, repair, or installation job, our licensed technicians are here to heed the call of duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to a wide range of standard services, we also provide a number of specialty plumbing solutions to homeowners in the area. Contact us at 408-641-9245


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