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When Is Growing a Garden Bad? When Roots Invade the Pipes

Spring has come, and as the plants grow up, they also grow down into the ground, roots searching for water and nutrients. Sometimes this search can lead to an unexpectedly rich source of water coming from supply and drain pipes. Though this is not an uncommon problem, several painless and simple solutions are available.

Mature Trees and Their Rootstree roots
Tree roots are particularly destructive culprits when it comes to possible pipe obstruction. Because the roots are strong and far-reaching, they can be major contributors to a burst pipe. Roots invade pipes in their search for nourishment through:
  • Small cracks from damage
  • Corroded sections due to age
  • Weakened joints or connections

The pipes in question may be supply pipes that bring the water to the home or the drain pipes that remove the wastewater from the home. Roots can cause various issues if they invade either type of pipe.

The Root (of the) Problemsdraining

Even if an invading root doesn’t cause a catastrophic burst pipe, it can still result in plenty of mischief for a household. There is no avoiding that if a root has gotten into a pipe, water will leak out, but this is not the only problem that results from growing and expanding roots. Here are a few examples:

  • Slow Draining: One of the first signs that a root or root system has breached a home’s drain plumbing is when drains start to run slowly. While one drain moving at a slower pace, can signal an issue with that one drain, when toilets and other drains are also slow, this indicates a larger problem.
  • Low Water Pressure: If water pressure seems to have decreased, a root may be the source of the problem. If a tree root has infringed upon a supply pipe, it may fill the space and reduce the opening size and allow less water through.
  • Higher Water Bills: This is not exclusive to root invasion, but if a supply pipe leaks, more water will be escaping than what is used in the house. So if consumption has not increased, but a home’s bill has, there is likely a leak in the supply pipe.

Rooting Out a Solution

Because root invasion is a common occurrence, plumbers have many ways to alleviate, eradicate, and prevent this problem. Traditional drain clearing methods such as snaking or pipe augering are the best for the initial removal of the roots. Depending on the severity of the pipe damage, one may do a patch or repair on the pipe, or it may require complete repiping

A repipe can be invasive and expensive but need only be done if the invasion is severe and there is no saving the pipe. Preventative measures for root obstruction include root barriers, including chemical and physical fortifications on pipes. These can be made from several different materials, including metal and plastic. 

About Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air

With 24/7 availability and the “white glove service,” Affordable Plumbing, Heating & Air is the contractor of choice for Fairhope, AL residents. Call today and ask about their VIP club and 24-month, no-interest financing options and plumbing services.