Spring is a time of growth for flowers, vines, weeds, and trees. Having a well-manicured lawn may not be enough to prevent underground pipes from leaking. Certain plant growth can cause severe damage to a home’s sewer line.
Tree roots are known to cause leaky pipes underground. When roots need more nutrients, they can span nearby areas searching for water. Sewer lines provide water and essential nutrients for trees to continue to grow.
When a root system begins to attack the sewer line, it usually happens at a connecting point. This is an easy area for roots to pry into the pipes causing damage and eventually cracks. Once the roots have access to the pipeline, they are unlikely to leave on their own.
Pipe damage caused by root intrusion can be costly if not fixed as soon as possible. Waiting too long to repair a pipeline may lead to an entire sewer line replacement or, in extreme cases, damage to a home’s structural integrity.
Aggressive Plant Life
Invasive tree roots can come from a variety of trees. The most aggressive roots tend to be found in fast-growing trees such as the Japanese Knotweed or a classic willow. Even if a homeowner is unsure where their sewer line is, these trees may impact underground piping.
The mint herb may also cause root intrusion. This is a popular plant because of how easy it is to grow. Since mint can be used for cooking or tea, many homeowners like to grow lots of this herb. These roots will likely spread throughout the yard if mint is not contained.
Not all aggressive roots are harmful. Maple trees have fast-growing, strong roots. Because their roots are extremely shallow, they are not usually a threat to the sewer line. Japanese Dogwoods, Aspens, and Beeches also have smaller root systems just below the ground.
How To Identify Underground Pipe Leaks
A home’s sewer line is run underground throughout the property. To understand if a pipe is cracked from root intrusion, paying attention to warning signs is key.
A cracked pipe can cause several issues within the home. These issues include reduced water pressure and slow draining. Making a mental note of the frequency and occurrence of these problems will help identify potential problems within the sewer line.
Slow draining can occur in kitchen sinks or bathroom showers. The room itself does not matter as much as if it’s happening regularly. Slow draining usually means more than five or ten minutes to filter out all liquid successfully.
Problems with an underground sewer system can also create strange or unusual noises. These sounds are typically heard inside the house when the pipes are running. Depending on the pipe damage, these noises can occur from almost anywhere.
Unusual pipe sounds include a hissing or whistling noise. This can be due to a cracked pipe or an old valve. Typically the sound is due to a significant blockage (such as roots) forcefully funneling a small amount of air forward. Since there are different kinds of blockages, a plumber will need to examine the inside of the pipes.
Water pressure changes may be difficult to identify if the house is old. One way to identify a plumbing problem is to monitor water bills. If bills are higher than normal throughout the summer, this can indicate that a pipe is cracked.
How To Solve Root Obstruction
If root intrusion is ignored, roots may obstruct the pipe. This will lead to high water bills, a lack of water, and waste buildup. If a pipe bursts from the pressure of obstruction, this can cause significant damage to the property.
There are multiple ways to fix this problem, depending on the leak. Homemade remedies may work for minor tree root issues. Typically these solutions involve using copper sulfate that can kill the roots and rock salt. This method is a temporary solution that can be effective, but only for a short period.
Hydro jetting is one way to blast through root obstructions without digging underground. While technically, homeowners can purchase this equipment in stores, it should be left to trained technicians who will get the job done faster and safer. Hydro jetting can damage old or worn-down pipes if not done by a professional. This method involves using high-pressure water to disintegrate dead or living roots.
Trench replacement is typically used when other options have already been exhausted. By digging trenches in the property, the sewer line can be easily accessed by plumbers. This allows the cracked pipe to be dismantled to assemble a new sewer line.
Trenchless repair, like hydro jetting, is a way to remove roots from the sewer line permanently. A camera inspection is used to locate the damage before replacement. Once cracks are found, the original pipe acts as a host to a new epoxy-saturated tube. This is an environmentally-friendly way to replace underground piping and is typically less expensive than trench replacement.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine
Preventing root intrusion is critical to avoiding root obstruction. Using sewer line barriers can help compartmentalize roots by creating clear boundaries.
A chemical sewer line barrier involves using copper sulfate and potassium hydroxide around the sewer line. This will prevent roots from growing in specific parts of the property. Wood barriers can also help surround the sewer pipe.
Landscaping is one of the best ways to prevent root intrusion. Knowing which trees and plants to avoid can go a long way when protecting the sewer line.
Plumbing Nerds provides the residents of Bonita Springs, FL, and the surrounding areas with quality plumbing services. They offer an upfront pricing guarantee, have fully stocked trucks, and their team is fully licensed, insured, and background checked. Call them today for sewer line repair in Bonita Springs, FL.