Tree root ingress into a drainage system can cause damage to the drain, leading to a stoppage in water flow. Plant roots intrusion into the pipes will also slow down the flow of water and may even lead to blocked drains. This may result in water overflowing at certain parts of the house in spite of the drainage system being properly installed.
Learn how to identify plant roots and prevent their growth, or how best to repair root-damaged drains.
What is tree root ingression?
Tree root ingression occurs when the roots of a tree invade and damage underground utilities, such as water or sewer lines. This can often happen when the tree is not properly pruned, causing the roots to grow in an uncontrolled manner. If left unchecked, plant root ingression can cause significant damage to infrastructure such as burst pipes and may even result in service disruptions.
How do tree roots get into drains?
The materials used to build drainpipes are surprisingly susceptible to plant roots development.
The majority of the pipes on turfs in Brighton are constructed of normal vitrified clay. They have excellent anti-corrosion and anti-abrasion capabilities, but they’re not very effective at wheedling out fine tree roots, which can enter pipe systems through cracks, fractures, chamber walls, and gaps in pipe joints before developing into bigger tap roots and root masses.
In pursuit of moisture and nutrition, roots spread. They’ll undoubtedly discover it in the condensation-ridden walls of drainpipes and the water-soaked cracks of broken drain couplings. It doesn’t help that newly dug up or disturbed ground provides a rapid and easy passage for a new root system – therefore, in principle, if your drainage network is relatively new, or has been put on a new development site, it’s significantly more vulnerable to root damage.
Modern drainage systems, such as those installed with rubber-sealed, leak-proof connections, are also susceptible to root ingress. Because they are rarely constructed with root barriers, they are frequently prone to the same issues as clay installations.
Most common signs of having plant roots in your drains
Roots can be found in many places around your home. Root ingress isn’t necessarily dangerous, but it can cause massive damage to drains, pipes, and other drainage problems to your plumbing works.
If you notice these red flags below in your drain, there is a good chance that you have root growth in the drainage systems. You may want to contact a professional at once to investigate the problem and eliminate it.
Gurgling noises coming from your drains
The first sign that your drains are blocked is gurgling noises. This means that water is filling the area of your drain and attempting to force itself out of the pipes. If you hear gurgling noises, it could be a sign of root ingress growing into the pipes.
The main reason for slow drainage can be root incursion, which if not treated right away could cause damage to your plumbing and drain lines. To prevent this from happening, you need to call an expert drain cleaner who can professionally remove the roots before it does any further damage.
Sinkholes are one of the most common signs that you might have plant root damage in your drains. They can occur at any time of year but are more common during the winter. A sinkhole will occur when excess water pressure causes one side of a drain to collapse, creating an opening.
Frequent clogs and blockages in your toilets, sinks, and showers
Plant roots can eventually weaken your drains and cause frequent blockages in your toilets, sinks, and showers. In addition to this, the roots may also be accidentally eating away at the surrounding mortar of your brick or concrete walls, leading to structural cracks or even crumbling.
Low water pressure
If your water pressure is low, root growth could be causing it. ing roots have a tendency to grow through cracks and holes in the pipe system, causing a buildup of sediment that slows down the flow of water from the tap.
What are the consequences of plant roots damaging drains?
Tree root damage in drains doesn’t get the same kind of attention as fatbergs, or blocked sinks, but it’s one of the biggest reasons why blockages occur. Consequences of ignoring them include:
- Cracks and leaks in drains and pipes
Plant roots can cause cracks and leaks in drain pipes by growing into and through them. This can lead to water damage inside your home or business, as well as costly repairs.
- Blocked drains
Plant roots can lead to a blocked drain by growing into them and clogging them up. This can cause flooding and sewage backup, which can be a health hazard.
- Sewer damage
Plant roots can damage sewer systems by growing into them and breaking them. This can lead to raw sewage leaking into your home or business, which can be a health hazard.
- Increased water bills
If plant roots damage your drains or pipes, you may have to pay for expensive repairs. This can also lead to increased water bills if your water usage increases because of the leaky pipes.
- Environmental damage
When plant roots damage drains and pipes, it can cause environmental damage. For example, if raw sewage leaks into the ground, it can contaminate groundwater supplies.
How do you deal with tree roots in a drain?
Tree roots can cause a myriad of problems. Over time, they will crack, causing damage to your pipes. Even if the roots aren’t visible, they can wreak havoc on your plumbing and can even cause dry wells. Plant roots are very hardy and often difficult to remove completely.
If you know where the clog is in your drains, you have a few drain repair solutions to consider based on your circumstances. Plumbers can remove the roots from your drains, using a variety of procedures.
A plumber may simply remove your drain tree roots. A structural liner will next be used to fill in the fissures. This reduces the likelihood of roots returning to your underground pipes.
If the tree roots have accessed the system via its joints, and there has been no major displacement to those joints, the system can be root cut and in many cases relined. In severe cases, your drains may need to be entirely excavated to solve the problem.
This technique includes digging a hole in the damaged pipe, which can be disruptive to the region nearby. Utilise this only when relining is not a possibility for whatever reason – for example, if your damaged pipes have shifted and no longer line up with the joints.
Conduct a CCTV Survey
A plumber can also conduct CCTV drain surveys through your pipes, which is always a good approach to see whether there are any plant roots down there or whether there has been significant displacement to the system joints. . This can help identify a specific problem before it becomes too serious. A CCTV survey like this will also allow you to pinpoint the exact location of the plant root.
Steps to Avoid Tree Root Ingress
Root infestations cannot always be avoided, but there are some steps you can take to prevent roots from gaining access to your drains in the first place. Below are a few steps you can follow:
- Planting trees at least 10 feet away from structures.
- Use root barriers to prevent plant roots from growing towards or into structures.
- Regularly prune tree roots and branches that are growing towards or into structures.
- Keep trees well-watered to encourage deep, healthy root growth.
- Inspect trees regularly for signs of damage or stress that could make them more likely to cause problems in the future.
Overall, it is critical to keep an eye on your drainage system and maintain it on a regular basis to avoid buildups and blockages. Because plant roots will be aggressively seeking the nutrients on offer from silt and surplus water, it’s advisable to clean out your piping as regularly as possible to get rid of anything that might encourage future growth.
Will insurance cover damage caused by tree roots to drains?
It depends on the insurance company and the policy. Some companies will cover plant roots if they are considered an “act of God.” Others will not cover any damage caused by trees or shrubs.
Who is responsible for repairing damage caused by tree roots to drains?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it can vary depending on the location and jurisdiction. In some cases, the homeowner may be responsible for repairing damage caused by tree roots to drains, while in other cases the municipality or utility company may be responsible. If you are unsure who is responsible for repairing damage caused by tree roots to drains, you should contact your local municipality or utility company for more information.
Do you have an issue with tree roots in your drains?
Contact Regency Drainage Brighton to speak with one of our knowledgeable specialists about your root incursion issues. Regency Drainage Brighton serves Brighton and Hove, but we can also travel to other parts of East Sussex to provide skilled drain services. Best of all, we are available 24/7 to assist you with any emergency drain services. Our staff can provide you with the best solution at the lowest possible cost.