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One of the Biggest Dangers to Your Sewer Line: Trees!

tree-roots-in-sewer-lineThe sewer line may not be a part of your home plumbing you think about much. It’s definitely a part you hope you don’t have to have an “up close and personal” encounter with—because that means something is seriously wrong and your home may become unhygienic.

But it’s helpful as a homeowner to know about the troubles that may affect your sewer line and when it’s necessary to call a professional local plumber to inspect and fix the problem. The most common danger to a sewer line that can end up clogging or breaking the pipe is from trees.

Wait … trees? How are trees a problem?

Trees are a danger for pipelines in a way similar to how icebergs are dangerous to ships. It’s not what you see above that’s the problem, it’s what lies below. The roots of trees on your property (or even a property next to yours) can pose a huge threat to your sewer line.

The core of the problem is that tree roots grow toward areas of moisture and high nutrients. This means the roots will naturally grow downward toward a buried sewer line. Roots are nothing if not persistent. They may grow slowly, but they can create enough force to eventually cause a pipeline to break apart.

In the first stage of danger, the ends of tree roots will reach one of the joints on the sewer line and begin to reach inside. The roots are small enough at this point to be able to do this, and will usually not cause noticeable symptoms—yet.

In the second stage, the roots start to grow thicker and branch out because they have access to the proteins and other nutrients inside the sewer line—it’s basically powerful fertilizer for the tree roots. The roots will start to catch onto larger pieces of waste such as toilet paper that will create clogs. This is the point when you’ll start to notice issues in the house, such as slow drains or strange odors from the drains.

The third stage is where the pipeline is in critical danger. The larger root growth both directions in the sewer line can build up enough pressure that the pipe will break apart. This will create major plumbing emergencies in your home.

Solving the tree root problem

You can take preventive measures against this problem when landscaping your property by ensuring trees with deep roots are planted far from the location of the pipeline. But if you didn’t have control over this in the first place, you can call on our plumbers to solve tree root infiltration.

The sooner you call when you notice symptoms, the less difficult and extensive the repairs will be. For minor root infiltration, we can use hydro-jetting and trenchless repair methods. If the integrity of the sewer line has been fully compromised, we may recommend a larger solution such as a full trenchless sewer line replacement. Our trenchless technology will take care of these jobs quickly and with less disruption.

Wm. Henderson Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Inc. serves Delaware County & The Main Line, PA. Speak to one of our licensed plumbers today to schedule service.

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