Trees may be beautiful touches of nature and capable of adding shade and style to your yard, but they can also come with hidden dangers. The roots of a tree will burrow into the ground and seek out nutrients and water, as roots are liable to do, but this activity can put them at odds with your home’s sewer pipes. Most of the time, the pipes that connect your home to the sewer or water system are an “out of sight, out of mind” affair, but tree roots can end up changing that. If left unchecked, they can lead to sewer backups, burst pipes, and more.
Why Do Tree Roots Damage Sewer Pipes?
Roots seek out nutrients and moisture, two things that are constantly flowing through your sewer pipes (inflow or outflow). Even if buried deep, pipes can release water vapor that moves up through the soil and eventually attracts nearby root systems. Since water slipping out through a small crack or joint in the pipe is the most noticeable to the root, it’s towards these spots that they will end up growing.
If the opening is big enough, the roots will end up growing into the pipe and set up shop by extending hair-like root fibres. In addition to helping the tree get more water, the fibers will unfortunately work as a sort of net and can catch any solid masses flowing through the pipe. If the pipe in question is going away from your home, it likely means more than just bits of dirt or grit are getting captured.
What Kinds of Damage Can Tree Roots Cause to a Sewer Pipe?
The most direct type of damage tree roots can cause is a backup. As the roots develop and the above-mentioned fibres start trapping solids, it is only a matter of time until a clog develops. Without adequate room to flow out, anything traveling through the pipe will be sent back where it came from and cause a sewage backup.
As unpleasant as a sewer backup clean-up can be, it is not actually the worst problem roots can cause. When the roots continue to grow and spread, they can force various cracks in the pipe to grow larger and larger to the point where it simply bursts entirely. Alternatively, roots can end up growing around a sewer pipe and cause it to collapse inwards, though this is not as common.
How to Notice Root Problems
The good news is that it takes time for roots to go from simply invading your pipes to outright bursting them open. There will be a series of noticeable, less severe issues that occur as the roots grow, and if recognized early, you will be able to take action before the worst happens. Possible signs of a tree root in your pipes include:
- Signs of leakage on the property (wet spots on lawn, etc.)
- Drains begin to flow slowly
- The toilet makes “gurgling” noises
- Frequent clogs and/or flow rate problems
Contact Flood Services Canada for Professional Sewer Backup Clean-Ups
Since they’re so hidden, root infiltration into your pipes can catch homeowners by surprise and leave them scrambling when backups or home flooding occurs. When water damage restoration is needed, Flood Services Canada’s quick-response teams of professional remediators will drain, dry, and save your property.
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