Tree and plant roots infiltrating a drainage system is one of the most common reasons for blocked drains and sewer systems collapse in the UK. Drains attract roots because they provide a consistent stream of water and moisture required for survival.
Over time, these tree roots may block an entire pipe causing a massive clog and costly repair. After making their way into the drainage system, roots can cause difficulties in subterranean drains by growing and taking hold, narrowing, and finally leading to a blocked drain.
A plant root that has grown into your sewer pipes can significantly slow down the normal flow through your drain which in return impacts the pressure in other pipes downstream, potentially leading to clogs or spills in other areas of your house like toilets and sinks.
The method of removing tree roots from drains may vary depending on how deep the roots reach. If they’re growing in an open drain or gully, you might be able to pluck some of them free. The remainder of the work can then be completed by high-pressure water jetting and CCTV inspection, which will warrant you to contact drainage engineers.
What Causes Tree Roots to Enter Your Drains?
One of the most common causes of blocked drains is tree and plant roots penetrating into a drainage system. Tree roots that grow into your drains can cause professional damage, which is why it’s important to know how to find them and what causes them to invade your drainage system.
Plant roots develop in your drainage systems in quest of water and nutrients, all of which are provided by your drainage pipes! Tree roots grow toward the vapour to the point of its source. Once the tree roots reach here, they tend to grow through this opening and reach up to the moisture and nutrients inside the pipe.
A little root from a tree or bush can readily sprout through a loose joint or break in the pipe lining when growing close to your sewer line. The more nutrients it gets from the interior of your pipe, the bigger it grows and the more significant damage it causes when it works its way through and rips apart the drain pipes.
What Are The Signs That Your Drains Have Been Invaded By Tree Roots?
Common signs that indicate that your drainage system is suffering from blockage likely caused by tree roots include:
- A slow or clogged drain: If your drains are suddenly draining slower than usual, or if you have a clog that won’t go away, it could be a sign that tree roots have invaded your pipes.
- Gurgling noises: If you hear gurgling noises coming from your drains, it could be a sign of an obstruction caused by tree roots.
- Water backing up: If water starts to back up out of your drains, it’s a sure sign that something is blocking the flow of water. Tree roots are a common culprit.
- Bad smells: If your drains start to emit bad odours, it could be due to the build-up of debris and waste that has been trapped by tree roots.
- Cracks in the foundation: If you notice cracks in your foundation or walls, it could be due to the roots of trees putting pressure on the structure.
- Damaged landscaping: Tree roots can also damage your landscaping as they grow and spread through the soil. If you notice dead patches of grass or other plants, it could be due to tree roots invading the area.
- Flooding: If you experience flooding in your home, it could be a sign that tree roots have broken through the sewer line and are causing a blockage.
How Can Root Damaged Drains Be Repaired?
If tree roots have clogged your drains and are causing damage to your pipes, you’ll need an experienced team of drainage engineers to take them out.
Here are some ways of repairing root-damaged drains:
CCTV Drain Surveys
CCTV drain surveys are the most effective, cost-effective, and efficient method to determine which drains require repair. Most surveyors will recommend a drain inspection if they are in danger of root incursion. This allows for preventive repairs to take place, if necessary, coupled with the removal of roots that could pose a danger.
A drainage company can do a CCTV drain study to evaluate the drainage system if there is considerable root incursion in a drain. This allows them to see farther down the drain pipe and ensure that the entire root system has been eliminated. A CCTV survey provides further assurance and reduces the likelihood of the roots blocking the drain again.
High-Pressure Water Jetting
For tiny root ingress into drains, high-pressure water jetting is frequently sufficient to remove the roots and unclog the drain. You may then clear any deposits that have accumulated in the piping once the roots have been removed.
This method is a more aggressive approach than blasting and includes a jetting process that releases higher pressure water than traditional methods for effectively removing the clog.
When a plant root is hard to remove, drain specialists can use electromechanical root removal methods.
This kind of plant root removal is intended for more difficult-to-clear root removals. To remove the root invasion and free the blockage, they insert a rotating steel cable using specialist attachments to cut away the root ingress and clear the sewer pipe
How Do You Prevent Tree Roots from Invading Your Drains?
If you notice that your sinks or bathtubs are draining slowly, or if you hear a peculiar gurgling sound coming from your toilet, it could be because tree roots have infiltrated your sewer lines A minor root invasion will upset you, but if left untreated, this problem might cost you thousands of pounds in maintenance to the sewer system.
However, there isn’t much you can do to prevent tree roots from developing close to or around your drainage system unless you never plant a tree or allow one to grow near your property. The most efficient way to ensure that tree roots do not break through is to contact a professional drainage firm and have them inspect your pipes on a regular basis.
If you want to plant trees or shrubs around your property, a slow-growing plant is highly advised. This will help reduce root intrusions to a minimum. So a drainage professional can gain access and remove them easily. As a result, your pipes will likely have less damage, and any obstructions in the drain or sewage line will have been avoided.
Is There Any DIYer Method For Tree Root Removal?
Tree roots can enter your drain and clog it, so if you have this problem, the first thing you should do is to call a professional drainage expert to come and clear your drain for you. The common method of removing roots from sanitary sewer service pipes involves the use of augers, roots saws, and high-pressure water jetting. However, there are a few other do-it-yourself methods for tree root removal from drains, including:
- Roto-rooting: This involves using a rotating cutting blade to grind away tree roots.
- Hydro jetting: This uses high-pressure water to blast away tree roots. This is often used for smaller root intrusions into drains.
- Sewer augering: This involves using a long, flexible rod to reach and remove tree roots from the sewer line.
- Excavation: In some cases, it may be necessary to excavate the area around the tree root in order to remove it completely.
- Chemical treatment: There are various chemicals that can be used to kill tree roots and prevent them from regrowing.
If you want to try and clear the tree roots from your drain yourself using chemicals, then you will need to purchase some root killers like crystals of copper sulphate, sodium chloride or rock salt from your local DIY store or garden centre.
- Once you have purchased the weed killer, follow the instructions on the packet carefully.
- Pour the root killer down your drain and leave it for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
- After a few hours, or the next day, flush your drain with warm water to remove any residue of the root killer.
- You may need to repeat this process a few times before the tree roots are completely removed from your drain.
- If you still have tree roots in your drain after trying this method, then you will need to call a professional drainage expert to come and clear your drain for you.
Are You Protected Against Root Intrusion Damage to Drains?
You should be covered for root intrusion damage; most major insurance companies will cover this, however, some policies may not. Tree root ingress to drains has always been an insurable risk; nevertheless, in the aftermath of the economic downturn, certain insurance companies have been found to try to deny a few tree root-related insurance claims. It is recommended that you check your policy and consult your insurance company to know.
Do You Live in Brighton And Have an Issue With Tree Roots in Drains?
Contact Regency Drainage Brighton to speak with one of our knowledgeable specialists about plant root removal. 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.