Tree roots can be the source of severe sewer clogs for homeowners. When it comes to your sewer lines, tree roots can worm their way in via any small cracks or pipe joints. The tiny roots grow quickly from the water and nutrients from the waste in your sewer. Eventually, they grow large enough and thick enough to block the sewer pipe, which can cause all the drains in the house to backup into tubs, showers and sinks. Sometimes, the sewage can flood basements and cause serious property damage.
Older houses are especially susceptible to the issue of tree roots because the trees have had time to grow and develop complicated root systems beneath your lawn. The Environmental Protection Agency stated that root intrusion is the single most destructive thing that can happen to a wastewater collection system and the rise and growth of Roto-Rooter over more than 80 years is proof of that.
How do you get rid of these root systems without causing harm to the trees themselves or the environment around them? Here are some tips:
1. Use copper sulfate
Copper sulfate crystals can be found at your local hardware store or garden supply center. These crystals can be used to kill roots inside the sewer lines – by pouring one-half cup of crystals into your toilet, they can travel along the pipes until they come to the obstruction. This is an environmentally friendly way of root management because the chemical only kills the roots that it comes in direct contact with – it doesn't travel upward to kill the plants themselves. Other chemical means of cleaning out drain pipes also include aquatic herbicides like Dichlobenil or metam sodium. Before putting any chemical down the drain, It’s a good idea to check with your local sewer district to make sure they don’t prohibit the use of copper sulfate or other root inhibiting chemicals for one reason or another.
2. Buy a sewer jetter
For an even more environmentally conscious method of root removal, you can invest in a sewer jetter, also known as a flusher, water jetter and jet rodder, among other names. This is a high-pressure water pump that forces water through your drainage system in order to flush debris out into drain basins that can then be cleaned out. Some may come with water-propelled nozzle heads equipped with spinning root cutters. Professional grade water jetters are extremely expensive whereas lesser models are cheaper, but not as effective.
3. Use a coil rodder
Removing roots from your pipes via electro-mechanical means is also an option. Coil rodders, sometimes called drain cable machines, or Roto-Rooter machines are stiff but flexible steel cables that rotate a through the sewage line. There is a sharp C-shaped cutting blade on the tip of the cable that is designed to cut away roots. This solution is primarily used by plumbers or professional sewer cleaning companies to clean out the entire sewer line leading from your home to the main sewer line, usually 4 to 6 inches in diameter in residential settings but sometimes up to 12 inches in diameter in commercial and municipal settings.
4. Call Roto-Rooter
Get in touch with your local Roto-Rooter sewer solutions expert for more information about how to get rid of unwanted tree roots in a safe, environmentally conscious manner. We recommend using RootX. However, this product should only be applied by a professional plumber. Roto-Rooter invented the electric sewer cleaning machine in 1933. For more than 80 years, Roto-Rooter has been winning the battle against tree root intrusion in sewer pipes around the world. The service is usually fast and affordable. Call Roto-Rooter today!