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Clogged Or Slow Drains: Getting To The Root Of The Problem

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Have the drains in your home stopped working or is the water draining much slower than it once did? If so, the trees that surround your home may actually be to blame for your current plumbing problems.

How Can Trees Stop Your Drains From Working?

It is not uncommon for underground drainage pipes to develop small cracks that allow a typically insignificant amount of water to leak out. Under normal circumstances, this would be no big deal. However, if you have a tree planted near your underground pipes, you could end up with large tree roots growing inside your drainage pipes. This is because a tree's roots will actively grow outwards in search of water, naturally leading the root system right to your leaking drainage pipe.

Over time, these roots will begin to venture into your pipes themselves. As the root system grows inside the pipe, it will slow the flow of water until it eventually prevents the water from passing at all. 

What Can Be Done To Prevent This Problem?

The most effective way to prevent this problem is to always plant trees and bushes several feet away from any drainage pipes. Since these pipes are hidden underground, you will need to have a plumbing service come out and mark the location of the pipes before you do any landscaping work. This will allow you to easily identify where the pipes are and build your landscaping design around this information. 

What Can Be Done To Correct This Problem?

The process used to deal with existing roots in your drainage system will depend upon the extent of the damage that has been done. If your drainage pipe is completely blocked, a plumbing contractor may need to excavate your yard so that the damaged pipe and the offending root can be removed and a new drainage pipe can be installed. However, when dealing with smaller root systems, a qualified plumber may be able to remove the roots by accessing the pipe from the sewer side of the line.

Once the offending roots have been removed, a plumber (such as one from Clearwater Plumbing) will likely recommend that a growth inhibitor is placed on the root system of nearby trees. This will prevent the tree's root system from branching out any further in the direction of your drainage pipes. However, you should be aware that this may cause the roots to grow out further in other directions. This can be a problem if the tree is located close to your home's foundation or your driveway. In this situation, you may be better off removing the tree all together in order to prevent future damage.