6 Ways to Tell if Tree Roots Have Invaded Your Plumbing

Andrew Vanny

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Trees are a wonderful addition to a property, offering shade, shelter and beauty. However, when it comes to trees, what you see is not always what you get. For instance, according to Colorado State University, a tree’s root system can spread 2 to 4 times the breadth of its canopy. Because of this, tree roots frequently invade sewer and drain lines to get at the water and nutrients within.
Fortunately, although you can’t see the roots themselves, you can see the tell-tale signs that they have invaded your pipes. Spotting these signs early will allow you to deal with the roots before they crack or even crush a pipe in your plumbing system.

1. Your sinks and tubs drain slowly

Charles and Francis Darwin once proposed that tree roots were essentially a tree’s brain. This is probably because tree roots can sense the presence of moisture and nutrients in the soil. Tree roots can also sense the same two things inside sewer lines. In order to get at those valuable resources, a tree sends out small feeder roots that seek out the pipes.
If those roots find a way into your pipes via a junction or crack, they will continue to spread within the pipe until they eventually begin to cause a noticeable blockage. One of the early signs of this is slow draining sinks and bathtubs. If you notice this, look out for the other signs too.

2. Your drains gurgle noisily

You shouldn’t have to listen very carefully to detect the obvious gurgling that usually accompanies slow-draining sinks and tubs. This isn’t your average gurgling as the water goes down the plughole though. When tree roots block pipes, they cause neighbouring drains to gurgle whenever you flush the toilet, empty the sink or run a tap. This gurgling is the water struggling to get through the pipes.

3. Your toilet backs up constantly

Another tell-tale sign that tree roots have entered your plumbing system is regular toilet backups. When tree roots make their way deep inside a sewer line, they encounter debris, such as toilet paper. Over time, as more toilet paper snags on the roots, the blockage worsens, leaving little room for the wastewater when you flush the toilet.

4. Your drains give off unpleasant odours

If tree roots have clogged your drain line, you will eventually begin to notice an unpleasant odour emanating from the drains in your home. This sulphurous stench is the waste trapped within your pipes by invading tree roots. Unless you do something about the roots, the smell will only worsen, especially in hot weather.

5. Your yard is covered with sinkholes

In serious tree root invasions, tree roots can damage pipes and cause water to leak out of them into the surrounding soil. Over time, these leaks saturate the soil around the pipes, leading to soft spots that eventually begin to cave in. If you notice sinkholes in your yard, you probably have a serious tree root problem.

6. Your tree is experiencing rapid growth

Is your tree suddenly looking bushier and greener than usual? A recent study found that when in need, tree roots will travel hundreds of metres below ground and even probe through cracks in the rock to get to the water. If your tree is looking healthier and more vibrant than usual, it may well be enjoying a regular supply of water and nutrients from your sewer or drain line.
Do you suspect that a tree on your property is interfering with your home’s plumbing? Then you need a blocked drain specialist to help you identify and remove the tree roots from your pipes. Contact Andrew Asquith plumber Vanny Plumbing today to find out how we can clear the roots from your plumbing system and ensure that that it never happens again.

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