How We Remove Tree Roots from Drain Pipes

A blocked drain is a common problem that most households will encounter at some point. If left untreated, it can lead to a variety of issues including slow drainage, leakage and sanitation problems.

Oftentimes, blocked sewer drains are caused by infiltrating tree roots. Over time, root systems can grow deeper and deeper into your pipes, causing blockages, cracking and structural weakness.

But how exactly do tree roots get into your pipes in the first place? More importantly, what can you do about them? In this blog, we’ll aim to answer these questions and help you gain a better understanding of the issue.

How Tree Roots Get into Your Pipes

Removed Tree Roots - Blocked Drain Plumber East Melbourne
Tree Roots that we have Successfully Removed from Blocked Drains

Healthy trees need sunlight, water and nutrients to grow. In order to get the latter two, trees develop complex root systems underneath the soil. Not only are these roots responsible for taking in moisture and minerals, they also act as an anchor for the tree. If the conditions are ideal, root systems can reach several meters deep into the ground.

Beneath the soil, however, also lie your drainage pipes. Since your plumbing system contains moisture and nutrients, any root system nearby will inevitably be attracted to it.

Tree roots can damage your pipes in two ways.

The first way is through penetration. If there are any gaps or cracks along your piping system, fibrous roots will almost certainly enter through them. Once they’ve made contact with moisture, the roots will continue to grow, eventually causing a complete blockage in your sewage pipes.

The second way is through wrapping. If your pipes have no gaps or cracks, the roots won’t be able to penetrate. However, due to condensation, your piping system will still have beads of moisture on the outside. This will cause the roots to wrap around your pipes, eventually causing them to collapse.

How To Remove Tree Roots from Drain Pipes

If you’re having drainage problems, the first step is to get the damage assessed by professional plumbers. At Richmond Plumbing & Roofing, our team has five decades of experience assessing and repairing blocked drains.

If we suspect that root systems are responsible for your drainage issues, we start by trying to identify the source of the blockage. To do this, we use special CCTV drain cameras to examine the inside of your pipes.

CCTV to find Tree Roots in Sewer Drain

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Using the CCTV system to look inside the sewer drain system to find the broken pipe.

Using the CCTV system to look inside the sewer drain system to find the broken pipe. Through this thorough inspection process, we can determine the precise cause and location of the blockage. In addition, it will also allow us to answer a few important questions. For example: is the blockage mainly caused by roots or a combination of other debris? Have the pipes collapsed? How damaged is the pipe material? With this knowledge we can then determine the best solution for your blocked drain.

Depending on the severity of the blockage, we can either use a high-pressure jet cleaner or a sewer machine. Both of these tools will be able to clear most types of blockages including tree roots, congealed oil, dirt and toiletries.

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Tree roots found inside the sewer drain.

Once your pipes are clear, we will advise you of the next course of action. Our main goal is to prevent tree roots from damaging your piping system later down the road. To achieve this, we might suggest pipe repairs, replacements or upgrades.

Other Considerations

Some homeowners might be tempted to buy chemical treatments for blocked drains. However, there are a few good reasons to avoid this.

Firstly, a lot of off-the-shelf cleaners are alkaline-based. Not only can such products damage your pipes, they can also cause health problems if you or your housemate are exposed to the substance.

The second reason is that chemical treatment is only a temporary solution. If the roots have already found their way into your pipes, it means the piping material is damaged and will need to be replaced or repaired. Even if you were able to cut or kill the roots, there’s a high chance that they will make their way back into your plumbing system via the existing cracks and gaps.

Another thing you should be careful of are manual drain augers. Oftentimes, these types of augers aren’t strong enough to cut through severe blockages. Additionally, if used without the guidance of a professional, manual augers can do a lot of damage to your plumbing system.

Get In Touch

If you suspect that you may be dealing with tree roots in your drainage system, contact the pros at Richmond Plumbing & Roofing today. Give us a call on 0418 397 667 or contact us online now.