How Trees Can Affect Your Drains

Slow drains? It could be the sign of a bigger issue.

Tree roots can occasionally cause slow drainage or even block drain pipes. Believe it or not, this is more common than you think, especially for your toilets. Determining that you have a root problem can be difficult but there are a few signs to look for.

What are the signs?

Frequent and stubborn toilet stoppages are one thing to look out for. On their own it may be an isolated incident, but a recurring problem may be due to roots. On the other hand, if your entire house is affected by drainage problems, then you know something is not right. This is a common symptom when a root is effecting the main drain line. Homes that are on slab foundations can experience localized drain problems due to roots growing up through concrete cracks and around drains. If a tree root has gotten so big that it has penetrated the drain pipe, rocks and dirt may cause additional clogging.

How to fix it

Using a toilet auger can help verify if roots are the problem. If the auger is able to reach the block, remains from the roots may be pulled back up with the auger. If the blockage is further away from the house, this may require excavation near the suspected trees.

Once the blockage is located, all roots need to be cut away from the pipes as far back as possible. Roots that have grown into the pipes can be removed using a drain machine that is able to reach further down than a toilet auger. Damaged sections of pipe will need to be replaced and steps to prevent repeated root infestations should be taken. This includes using root killer or rock salt near the affected areas to prevent the growth of new roots.

Using strong chemicals is not recommended for dealing with tree roots and may cause additional damage to your drainage system.

Tree roots in your drainage system can be a serious problem. It is always recommended that you seek the advice of a professional plumber in this situation, to properly assess the amount of damage and the correct course of action. At Norfolk Plumbing, we place customer service as our highest priority. If you suspect a serious issue with your drains, please call us at (757)466-0644.

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