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Why You Should Inspect Your Sewer Line For Roots

While Seattle’s trees might bring joy to your heart, their roots can play havoc on your pipes. Over time, the integrity of your sewer lines can be compromised by roots, causing cracks and blockages that can lead to a sewer backup.

Root systems are made from large roots that provide support and stabilization, and smaller, feeder, roots that supply water and nutrients. Generally roots grow within the top 18 inches of soil, but can go deeper depending on conditions. It’s important to know that the roots of trees and shrubs generally extend more than two times the height of the plant. Even if it doesn’t look like a tree is near your sewer line, its roots could still possibly cause issues.

How Roots Cause Damage

For the most part, roots will enter the pipe around the joint, but they can also exploit small cracks or thin areas in the pipe wall. The material of the pipe helps decide its resistance to roots. For example, clay pipes are easily penetrated by roots and will quickly become damaged. PVC pipes are less susceptible to root intrusion, though they can be penetrated, particularly if joints aren’t tightly fitted. If not disturbed, roots will completely fill up a pipe, creating a thick, web-like mass that slows down flow and traps debris. In severe cases, the roots can grow so large that they crack the pipe or joint, causing it to collapse.

How Rooting Helps

Cabling a pipe cuts off the root pieces that are on the inside of the pipe and clears out any blockages. However the root on the outside of the joint will continue to grow and put pressure on the pipe. Eventually the root will grow large enough that it can cause a crack and allow dirt to enter the pipe. For this reason, it’s important that you have your sewer line video inspected to check the conditions of the pipe. Doing so allows you to make plans for eventual sewer line replacement instead of being caught off guard.

If you think it’s time to have your pipes cabled, give Best Plumbing a call. Using our advanced video inspection process we can spot where roots have penetrated your pipes and created blockages. We can also repair any damage roots have caused before it becomes a more serious problem!

Photo Credit: werner22brigitte, available under Creative Commons CCO.

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