A Growing Problem -- Roots and Your Plumbing System – Sobieski Services | DE, NJ, PA, MD

A Growing Problem — Roots and Your Plumbing System

Of all the unseen problems that can arise in your household, tree roots damaging your plumbing system is one of the most potentially costly. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep roots and your plumbing system from ever coming into contact with each other.

Knowing the Signs

Occasional drain clogs are common and easy to fix, but constant, recurring drain issues can indicate a problem. Root damage to sewer lines can cause frequent clogs, slow drainage, overflowing drains and sometimes a gurgling noise from the toilet.

Understanding the Problem

The roots of trees and shrubs are naturally attracted to underground sewer lines because your plumbing system provides the water and nutrients that plants need. Knowing where your lines are located and only planting trees and shrubs well away from your plumbing system is a good start, but it’s not always enough to prevent roots from eventually finding their way to sewer lines.

Using Chemical Solutions

Copper sulfate, potassium hydroxide and other slow-release chemicals are commonly used to inhibit root growth near sewer lines. Spread these chemicals around your sewer lines to keep roots from invading the area.

Installing Root Barriers

In addition to chemical barriers, physical barriers made of wood or metal are also available to keep roots and you plumbing system apart. These barriers are buried vertically on either side of sewer lines, and must extend 6 to 12 inches deeper than the line itself to be effective.

Planting “Safe” Trees and Shrubs

One of the best ways to prevent roots from damaging your sewer lines is to choose varieties of trees and shrubs that are less likely to cause problems. No trees are guaranteed not to damage plumbing, but smaller, slower-growing varieties like Amur maple, eastern redbud, Foster holly, European beech, crabapple and flowering dogwood are among the safer options.

For more information on roots and your plumbing system – and for all your plumbing needs – contact Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).

Photo Credit: James Jordan via Compfight cc

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