The Root of the Problem: Your Trees Are Slowing Your Drains

Spring and summer are a wonderful time. You don’t have to scrape ice from your windshield before work or shovel snow. It’s prettier too, with flowers and trees in bloom and growing again.


However, during the spring and summer months, you’re more likely to have problems with your sewer or septic system. And it’s all because of growing trees and their roots.


Trees Cause Drain Pain
Trees get most of their water and nutrients from their roots. Just one tree can have hundreds of feet of roots. The tip of each root senses water, nutrients, and warmth, and then grows in their general direction.


When your sewer lateral line or septic system lines develop leaks, tree roots will grow in the direction of the warm, nutrient-rich water. Frequently, those leaks also allow the roots to creep inside your pipes, causing clogs and bigger cracks. Tree roots can significantly impact your pipes’ function, sometimes even causing them to disintegrate and fall apart.


Signs You’ve Been Infiltrated

When you only have minor root infiltration, you might not know it. However, there are a few key warning signs that you may have a problem on your hands.


One of the first signs you have roots in your pipes is slow drains. If more than one drain isn’t working like it used to, you might have roots. If drains in just one area in the house are slow, only part of your sewer or septic system has a problem.


A definite sign you have a main line clog is hearing your toilet gurgle. If it seems like your toilet makes weird noises, there’s a clog that could be traced back to roots. Listen to your toilet: it’s trying to tell you something.


The most obvious sign you have a sewer or septic system root problem is a backup in your house. If, for example, you drain your sink and dirty water backs up in your shower, call a plumber immediately. Sewer backup is the last thing you want in your home, since it can cost thousands of dollars of damage.


If you have a septic system, roots can cause problems in your drain field. Spongy ground, odors, and uneven plant growth are all signs you have roots in your drain field. Signs can get worse after a big rainstorm, including flooding part of your lawn with waste.


Keep Roots Out

While tree roots are the cause of the problem, their effects intensify when your pipes already have leaks. If you have an old home with porous clay or brittle cast iron pipes, you may want to contact a plumber to replace your lateral line or other pipes with more modern pipes, which are made from PVC or other plastics and are less likely to crack and typically require fewer joints.


It is also a good idea to have your sewer lateral and septic system serviced regularly to catch cracks and leaks before they become a problem.


If you have any concerns about roots in your pipes, please contact us at EZ Plumbing.

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