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Here's What Tree Roots Can Do to Your Sewer Lines

We see it all the time. A homeowner has tried every method to unclog the drains, but the problem only comes back time and time again. A likely culprit? Tree roots.


Many people are surprised to hear that tree roots are causing problems with their drains and sewer line. But it makes sense. A sewer line is filled with water and fertilizer, and so tree roots grow toward them naturally.

The roots can potentially wrap around the pipe and penetrate through cracks or poorly sealed joints in the sewer line. Then, they continue to grow, causing slower drainage and, eventually, a completely clogged sewer system (that may cause sewage to backup).


If you’ve already run a cable down your drain line and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good, you need to call in a professional with access to video pipe inspection equipment. A small video camera line is run down the sewer line to inspect the damage.

That way, you can determine together what the next steps are in clearing up the problem once and for all. Using a drain snake to break apart the clog may not do much, as the roots might just grow back, or they can resettle since you were not able to actually cut them out.


The next steps will very much depend on what plumbers find inside of your drain line. The video camera will help plumbers determine exactly where the clog is. From there, they can schedule services such as thorough sewer cleaning, pipe repair, or pipe replacement, if necessary. You’ll know how much longer your sewer lines will last and whether you should look into other options like root barriers or even digging up the invasive tree roots.

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