If as a home or business owner you are seeing slow drains or repeatedly clogged toilets, it’s important to know how to tell if you have roots in your sewer line. This is a problem that affects thousands of structures every year, and it might be plaguing your home or business as well.
The key to identifying roots in the sewer line as early as possible is to know what signs to look for, how to find the affected part of the line, and enlist the help of a reputable plumber to get rid of the tree roots and fix any broken or cracked pipes.
5 Ways of How to Tell If You Have Roots in Your Sewer Line
Sewer lines generally run underneath a structure making it difficult to diagnose the problem with the naked eye since it is likely buried in the dirt. However, there are some distinctive signs Kingwood home or business owners may notice if there are roots in their sewer line, such as:
- Slow drains. Drains can run slow from time to time for a number of reasons, such as the build up of hair or soap scum. However, if the owner has done their best to minimize or eliminate these potential blockages and the drains continue to run slow, it may be a sign that tree roots finding their way into the pipes could be the culprit.
- Backed up toilets. As with drains, toilets may also become backed up for a variety of reasons such as too much volume of excrement or the overuse of toilet paper. This should be the first thing a plumber checks, however, if every effort is made to eliminate these issues and the problem continues, there could be a tree root problem. This essentially can block excrement and waste from flowing through the pipes correctly and can cause the toilet to back up.
- Sewage odor. It is normal for sewer drains to have a distinct odor that is highly unpleasant and can smell akin to rotten eggs. This smell originates from sewer gases such as hydrogen sulfide and may permeate the air if it is escaping a burst pipe. If you begin to notice the smell of sewage or rotten eggs inside or outside your home or business, you are highly encouraged to seek the assistance of a professional plumber as soon as possible.
- Increase in pests. Raw sewage can attract a myriad of pests, including insects such as flies and cockroaches as well as rodents like rats and mice. Should there be a crack in a sewer pipe, it may provide enough wiggle room to become home to these pests which can create an additional problem. If you notice the sudden presence of pests, especially if it comes with one or more of theses other four signs of sewer trouble, call a plumber right away.
- Change in landscaping such as sink holes or puddles. Sewage problems that are the result of a large breakage or one that has been left unnoticed or unattended may create landscaping problems in the form of smelly puddles or dangerous sink holes. Should a home or business owner spot either of these unusual occurrences, it maybe the result of a sewer line problem.
The tricky thing about how to tell if you have roots in your sewer line is that this typically happens well underground, making it difficult to spot without the help of a professional plumber. Although you may see signs like some of the above, calling a reputable plumber is the next step.
How Tree Roots Can Get into The Sewer Line
In Kingwood, Texas the most abundant type of tree in the area is the pine tree. These trees are part of what originally gave the city the nickname of the Livable Forest. But while these tall and slender trees can be perfect for the forest, they can cause issues to the sewage lines if they are growing in close proximity to a home or business.
Pine trees typically have a taproot system which helps it thrive because it is efficient in absorbing water and nutrients a tree needs to grow. A taproot system is one of the strongest types of root systems and some roots can extend deep into the ground, which helps keep a tree upright in windy conditions. The bad news is that those same roots that extend deep into the ground could be a threat to a structure’s sewer lines.
Tree roots in search of water and nutrients may find their way to your sewer line through even the tiniest of hairline cracks in a pipe. The sustenance the roots find in the sewer pipes can help it grow quickly to the point that it can then be a barrier to correctly functioning plumbing.
How to Remedy Roots in Your Sewer Line
Because tree roots in a sewer line cannot be identified by the naked eye, a reputable plumber should provide a home or business owner with documented proof that tree roots are indeed the problem.
To get proper documentation of the tree root problem, a specially designed camera will be used by the plumber to navigate the pipe in question and take pictures of any problems or areas of concern.
It is not recommended to commence digging to look for a busted pipe without camera documentation first. Digging can be extensive depending on where the sewer line is located and can also typically be quite expensive. Having a clearer idea of where the tree roots are affecting the sewer line can make digging efforts more focused which can help cut down on cost and damage to the landscaping.
Once the tree roots have been documented and the owner signs off on the work to begin, the plumber can clear away a substantial amount of the tree roots that are causing the problem. While this usually does alleviate the headaches caused by a blocked sewer line, it is important for the owner to realize that in time, it may be possible for these tree roots to regrow. Depending on the extent of damage the roots caused, replacing broken pipes may be necessary.
It is a good idea to talk to your plumber about ways to prevent future growth before any holes in the ground are closed back up.