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How Can I Deal With Tree Roots in My Sewer Pipes?

By Daniel Burke, 9:00 am on January 12, 2021

If you’ve been noticing your water draining more slowly, gurgling or other sounds in your drains, soggy spots on your lawn, or foul drain odors, you may have issues with tree roots in your sewer pipes. Even a small-scale tree root invasion can become a big problem later on if it isn’t dealt with ASAP. Below are some tips for getting rid of tree roots in your sewer lines.

Pour Rock Salt Down the Affected Drain/Sewer Line

A minimally processed form of salt, rock salt can kill invasive tree roots in your sewer pipes by drying them out. With this method, what you do is:

• Pour about half a pound of rock salt into your toilet to start
• Flush until all rock salt is down the drain
• Repeat the process until you’ve flushed about two pounds of rock salt down the drain

Let the mixture work for about 8–12 hours before flushing your toilet again. Also, avoid using any other drains that go into the affected sewer pipe for this time period.

Use Copper Sulfate

An alternative to rock salt is copper sulfate. It’s used in the same way as rock salt for the purpose of killing tree roots in sewer lines. But be cautious when you use it, since copper sulfate is a toxic substance.

Try a Foaming Root Killer

These types of root killers contain herbicides that kill tree roots fairly quickly upon contact. They also leave behind a film or residue that prevents new roots from growing into your sewer pipe. Foaming root killers are simply poured down your toilet so they can get into the affected sewer line.

Use a Sewer Jetter

A sewer jetter uses a combination of a water pump and highly pressurized water to break up tree roots. Some jetters have water-propelled nozzle heads with cutters that spin, which further helps with the breakup of intrusive tree roots.

Use a Coil Rodder

Using a coil rodder is a mechanical way of dealing with tree roots in sewer pipes. What’s also called a drain cable machine is made of flexible cables that rotate through the sewer line. A blade on the end cuts up any tree roots that may be within the pipe.

Seek Professional Assistance

If the tips mentioned above aren’t working, reach out to a professional with expertise in house plumbing. San Diego plumbing contractors have access to sewer cameras and other specialized tools that can be used to confirm and deal with tree root issues. They can also make appropriate repairs if tree roots have caused cracks and other damage.

Properly Plant & Care for Your Trees

You may be able to prevent tree roots from getting into your sewer pipes in the first place by being mindful of your landscape. Have mature trees pruned or removed if they’re too close to sewer lines. If you’ll be planting new trees, check to see what the typical root spread is and plant them out of reach of your sewer lines.

If you find yourself dealing with a plumbing problem at your home or business, don’t hesitate to call on Burke Contractors. Our licensed, experienced professional plumbers adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and exceptional service. When they want to work with the finest residential and commercial plumbing companies, San Diego residents can trust us to connect them with the best professionals available. For efficient, high-quality plumbing services, call us today at 858-208-7765.