How Tree Roots Affect Plumbing

tree with massive roots

Big beautiful trees near your house can add to the charm of your property, but they can also cause a variety of problems. Besides the possibility of heavy limbs falling on your roof, these trees can also cause real trouble below the surface of your yard. We’ll explain why.


Large species such as oak, birch, willow, and various citrus trees have sprawling root systems, which can grow to be much wider than their canopies. Every tree root explores the soil for moisture, and the water from minor leaks in your plumbing can act as virtual magnets, causing these roots to grow ever closer to these pipes, sometimes to the point of invading them. The extra water can also cause these roots to grow stronger, exacerbating the problem. This vulnerability is most prevalent in older homes that have clay or iron pipes. Newer homes have PVC pipes, which are more flexible than iron and stronger than clay, but are not entirely immune to root invasion.


If you have one slow drain, you may just have a localized problem that could be fixed with a plunger, a chemical clog remover, a drain snake / rooter tool, or another minor form of plumbing repair. But if draining is slow throughout your house, and a shower tends to become a bath, that could indicate that tree roots have invaded your plumbing and are obstructing the drainage flow of your sewer line. This may result in the need for expensive sewer line repair. Other indoor indications of root invasion include toilets frequently clogging up, overflowing or making a gurgling noise.


Root invasion can also be detected in your yard, primarily near your sewage main. Some areas may become wet, squishy or smell like rotten eggs, spoiled milk or sewage. In the most serious cases, sinkholes can form, causing unsightly erosion or posing a danger to children and pets. Be careful to notice these minor symptoms in order to avoid the major ones. One keen observation can save you a lot of costly repairs.


If you plan on planting trees, consider going with smaller trees such as fig trees, eastern rosebud or Japanese maple trees. If you want to grow a larger tree, or notice one growing in your yard, be careful of where it’s placed. If you’re unsure where your sewage lines are located, try calling 811, or contacting your sewer department or a home inspector.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your home or yard, call Hoover Electric. Established in 1980, Hoover Electric, Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling has been serving customers in Southeast Michigan ever since, offering courteous, professional service. Because we offer all the services you need for residential maintenance under one roof, we’re able to offer extremely competitive pricing while maintaining great customer service and guaranteed satisfaction. When you’re looking for top-quality electrical, plumbing, heating, or cooling services in Clinton Township, contact Hoover through our website or call 586-232-9204 today.

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