What Dissolves Tree Roots in Sewer Lines?

When you learn that as a homeowner you are responsible for all of your home’s plumbing, including the parts that cross your yard, it’s hard not to worry about all that can go wrong. You have surely heard about how tree roots can get into your sewer lines, so now you need to know two things. How do you handle these problems, and what dissolves tree roots in sewer lines?

The humidity in the ground that occurs around a sewer line attracts the tree roots growing nearby. The roots can then wrap themselves around the pipe and get inside, damaging the pipe. Since sewage is a very effective fertilizer, the problem is compounded as the roots grow to eventually block the circumference of the pipe. That is a big problem for you, the homeowner, but there is help.

Here are some signs that indicate trouble with root intrusions:

  • Terrible odors from your plumbing inside the house. We are talking “rotten egg smell” level of bad. If it doesn’t go away on its own you should call in the pro’s and we’ll help you find the cause of the smell, no matter what it is.
  • Slow draining plumbing. This can be an early sign where the root intrusions are just beginning to infiltrate the plumbing. You may also hear gurgling in the pipes.
  • Toilet backing up. If you read our blog you know that toilet obstructions are the most likely cause, but tree root intrusions are also, unfortunately, a common culprit in toilet backups, too.
  • Sinkholes in your yard. First, we caution you to stay away from them and contact your plumber, especially if you notice bad smells and if you know it is along your sewer line, but it is important to know this can be a sign of a sewer line failure.

No matter the situation we can help you fix any plumbing problem, but let’s look at prevention first. 

Two Main Types of Prevention

  1. Plant trees well away from your sewer pipes and use chemical root killers to force the roots away from plumbing lines.
  2. Use your plumber’s expertise to arrange the use of a safe, foaming root killer in the sewer line.

We recommend using both of these methods to be sure you don’t encounter any issues with tree roots. Keeping trees away from the sewer line is ideal, but you can’t always control that. With the use of copper sulfate, similar to rock salt, and potassium hydroxide on the ground around the sewer line you can prevent root growth. You don’t want the copper sulfate to actually reach your pipes, though, because it is caustic to pipes as well. 

Foaming root killers coat the roots, dehydrating them so they die out and dry up and then are flushed away with the water. You want to choose root dissolving formulas that won’t hurt your pipes in the process. We recommend non-caustic foams that won’t harm your pipes or the grass and plants above the line since there is always some level of seepage with pipes. You will want to use this foaming root killer once or twice a year for prevention. 

If you want to shore up your plumbing to prevent any root intrusions you can have your pipes relined. Relining is when we install a plastic liner through the sewer line or use an internal pipe coating. Any of the relining methods available to choose from will strengthen your pipes while also sealing any cracks or leaks.

Unfortunately, there are times where the infiltration has degraded to the point of requiring mechanical rooting and of course, we can advise you on the best way to handle any level of problem with your pipes. That is what we are here for. You can learn about all of our services and give us a call at 480-388-6093 to get a free, professional estimate from our friendly staff.