Trees are a beautiful part of any landscape, they provide shade, a home for birds and critters, and the foliage creates an impressive scene in the fall. But there’s one aspect of trees that can be incredibly damaging and harmful for your home — its roots. Large trees, even when they are located a good distance away from the home, have roots that spread up to one-half to three times wider than the foliage. If you take a look outside your home now, it might be a little daunting thinking about how many roots are growing, hidden below the surface.

Roots by themselves aren’t dangerous, but when they grow near or around your home’s foundation or the sewer system, that is when it’s time to take action. If there are trees surrounding your home or are near your sewer system, it is essential that tree roots are taken care of before they cause damage to the pipe. When roots have penetrated a sewer line, it can result in significant problems in your yard and inside the home. If your sewer system hasn’t been inspected by a professional plumber in a few years, get in touch with Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air as soon as possible. Our team has the technology and experience to get the job done right.

Tree Roots and Your Sewer System

The sewer system has everything a tree wants — water, nutrients, and oxygen — and so tree roots will naturally grow toward the sewer. When there are older pipes with cracks in them, tree roots will grow through the cracks and along the inside wall of the pipe. The roots will eventually cause blockages, preventing waste from getting to the sewer and potentially backing up into your yard. If there is enough pressure from the roots, the pipes may break entirely, which could result in repairs that can cost thousands of dollars.

Sewer Line Materials

Tree roots can penetrate a variety of pipe materials, including clay pipes, concrete, and PVC, but roots cause the most damage to clay pipes. There are four main material types:

  • Steel: Although steel pipes are more commonly used for water piping, it can also be used for the sewer system. There are two types of steel pipes, cast iron and galvanized iron, and both are strong, durable, and resist buildup and corrosion. The downsides of steel are that it’s more likely to rust and it’s more expensive. Another downside to make note of is that steel is heavier than other materials, requiring shorter lengths to be used. This creates more joints, which increases the opportunities for rust.
  • Concrete: A more environmentally friendly option as it’s made with natural and raw materials, concrete is long-lasting, resistant to rot, and can be used in a variety of places in the sewer line, including catch basins. In order to prevent a buildup of sewage material, it does require regular maintenance. During construction of the sewer line, it’s important that concrete piping is handled carefully and is installed with the proper equipment.
  • Clay: One of the most common materials for older homes, clay isn’t used as often today. Clay piping is inexpensive compared to steel and iron and clay will last the longest. However, clay is susceptible to cracking, which is great for trees, but could be very costly for homeowners. When sewer line repairs are needed, it can be difficult to maintain, repair, and replace sections with clay piping.
  • Plastic: This includes both High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping, both are considered plastic. The biggest downside of plastic sewer piping is that they are difficult to maintain and require regular maintenance checks. Plastic is also more susceptible to heat, which can result in bending or warping. There are a variety of benefits to plastic sewer pipes:

    • Lightweight
    • A lifespan of 50 to 100 years
    • Easy to transport
    • Great for earthquake-prone areas
    • Can be made into longer lengths
    • Fewer joints and reduced risk of leaks.

De-Rooting Sewer Pipes

Most plumbing services offer video inspection in order to locate the exact location of the blockage. When the location of the roots is identified, there are several repair options.

Hydro-Jetting

Using a light and camera line, our plumbers will be able to find the roots and trim them away using a hydro-jetting process. This will clear away any blockages, allowing waste in the line to reach the septic tank. Hydro-jetting is a process that uses high-pressure water to clean and wash away any debris that is inside the pipe.

Mechanical Auger

Better for thinner roots, a mechanical auger is a cable that is lead down into the drain that breaks up roots and pulls them back out the drain. There are several cutter heads that can be used depending on the severity of the blockage and the thickness of the roots.

Trenchless Pipe Repair

Rather than digging an entire trench to reach the line, trenchless pipe repair requires only two holes on either end of the section that needs replacing or repairing. The new pipe is put into place and then is secured and connected to the plumbing system.

Relining Sewer Pipe

Because sewer pipes can be so difficult to access, another option is simply adding a liner on the inside of the damaged pipe. This will seal any cracks in the pipe and is a cost-effective way of repairing that doesn’t involve excavating the yard.

Don’t Wait For Sewer Line Repair

The important thing is that homeowners act quickly when they believe there could be an issue with the sewer line. The larger the roots get and the more damage they cause, the harder it will be to clear them out of the drain and the more invasive repairs will need to be.

Ace Hi Plumbing provides expert plumbing services throughout Northern Colorado, including Fort Collins, Estes Park, and Loveland. If you have trees near your home or septic system, contact us to schedule an appointment today. The process will start with a video inspection to determine the scope of the problem and we will provide several options if a sewer line repair is necessary. Again, don’t hesitate to contact our plumbers if you have any questions!