Home » 5 Signs of Tree Roots Clogging Sewer Lines

5 Signs of Tree Roots Clogging Sewer Lines

Posted: May 3, 2022

Trees are an aesthetically pleasing addition to any property, but their roots can become a serious problem when they encounter the home’s exterior plumbing fixtures. When the root system encounters exterior plumbing, such as the main sewer line, they continue to grow through the pipes and can damage the entire sewer system. Root obstruction in sewer or water lines can be a serious issue for your sewage system and should be addressed as soon as possible. If you’ve noticed any of the following warning signs of root damage in your home, our expert Sacramento plumbers are here to help.

Why do tree roots grow in your sewer line?

When trees grow, their root system moves through the soil along the path of least resistance toward the nutrients they desire. Their roots are often two to three times longer than the tree’s canopy. So, the larger the tree, the more intricate the root structure, and the farther they need to travel to continue its growth. This need for growth creates the potential for serious pipe damage.

Sewer and water pipes beneath the soil can develop tiny cracks, creating a beacon of the nutrients, warmth, and moisture trees require to grow faster. The root system then infiltrates the pipes and damages sewer lines, blocking the flow of water and waste, and creating severe issues for the homeowners.

5 Signs of Tree Roots in Sewer Pipes

An old house with an older plumbing system and a yard with numerous or large trees is a prime target for tree root obstruction. However, tree roots can infiltrate a newer sewer line and cause plumbing system failures as well. Here are the five signs that signal a tree’s root system may have invaded the sewer or water lines of your home.

1. Slow Drains and Gurgling Toilets

While slow drains or a gurgling noise made by toilets can be caused by various obstructions such as toilet paper, hair, and other build-ups, they can also be a warning sign of tree roots entering subterranean pipes, forming a serious blockage. As the roots begin to clog the pipes, the water drains slowly pass the obstruction, releasing air bubbles that cause your toilet to make a gurgling noise.

2. Clogged Pipes That Won’t Clear

Elaborating on the first sign, we all understand that toilet backups due to clogged sewer lines can be a common occurrence. However, continuous clogging shouldn’t occur and could be another sign of tree roots infiltrating a sewer line. This isn’t necessarily the case but consistently clogged pipes are certainly a sign of some kind of plumbing issue and likely won’t be solved without professional help.

3. Unpleasant Odors

A blocked water or sewer line prevents the natural flow of the pipe’s contents, leading to a buildup that produces unpleasant odors. These odors may be noticed inside the house or throughout the property depending on the condition of the blocked pipe. If you smell rotten eggs or notice other bad odors permeating the area, it may be an indication of a severe problem.

4. Sink Holes in Your Yard

A sudden depression in your yard or hole could be a sign of tree root damage in sewer and water pipes. When a sink hole forms due to such an infiltration, it forms as water or sewage leaks from the invaded area which creates a soft spot that eventually collapses in on itself forming a hole in the yard. Once again, sink holes can form for a variety of reasons but regardless of the cause, a sink hole could be an indication of severe damage or plumbing problems and should be immediately addressed as they can threaten the property’s foundation.

5. Unnatural Rapid Tree Growth

A final indicator that points to roots clogging water or sewer pipes is a tree that experiences abnormal rapid growth. If you notice that one tree in your yard is growing faster or has more color than similar trees this can be a signal that the tree’s roots have found extra nutrients, often from a property’s water or sewer pipe.

Identifying Tree Roots in Sewer Pipes

If you notice any of the before mentioned signs and believe that trees may have breached your sewer or water lines, call a professional plumber to perform an inspection. A sewer camera inspection is the best method for identifying if roots are causing the blockage of the water or sewer pipes. During the inspection, your plumber will insert a small camera, attached to a long flexible cable, into the problematic drain to determine the root cause of the obstruction. If your plumber determines a tree is the cause, they will discuss possible solutions depending on the severity.

We Remove Tree Roots From Sewer Lines

Resolving tree root blockages is not a typical DIY project and often requires professional help. Sacramento Plumbing Solutions is a family-owned and operated business with a 5-star Yelp rating and the professional experience required to resolve the issue. Our fully bonded and insured plumbers will save you the headache of dealing with potential root damage in your sewer lines. Allow us to get your home’s plumbing back in order. Call us today at (916) 275-4716 or fill out an online form for a free inspection.

Mike Grijalva

Mike Grijalva

Owner and lead plumber at Sacramento Plumbing Solutions. Mike has 10+ years of experience with commercial and residential plumbing jobs. He’s knowledgable in all areas of plumbing including leak detection, sump pumps, water heaters, and high efficiency plumbing solutions.

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