How to remove tree roots from a sewer line: tips from an expert plumber


How do you remove roots from a main sewer line?

Tree roots infiltrating sewer pipes can be a homeowner’s nightmare. As trees seek water sources, their roots can grow into small cracks or joints in sewer lines, causing blockages, backups, and potentially costly damage. Fortunately, there are effective methods to remove tree roots from sewer pipes, ranging from DIY solutions to professional assistance. In this guide, we’ll explore these methods and offer tips to prevent future root intrusion.

Trees naturally seek moisture, and the condensation on the outside of sewer pipes attracts them. Additionally, small cracks or joints in pipes release water vapor, further attracting roots. Once inside the pipe, roots continue to grow, causing blockages and potentially leading to pipe damage.

DIY Solutions

1. Mechanical Removal:

Drain cleaning machine can be used to mechanically cut through and remove tree roots from pipes. This method is effective for minor root intrusion but may not completely eradicate roots deep within the pipe. But you must understand that this will only be a temporary solution to the problem, since sooner or later the roots will grow into the damaged pipe again. To solve this problem, you need to contact professional plumbers and replace the damaged pipe.


Hydro Jetting: Hydro jetting involves using high-pressure water to clear out debris and roots from sewer pipes. It’s a more powerful method than snaking and can often remove roots more thoroughly.  Remember that this is only a temporary solution. To solve this problem, you need to replace the damaged pipe.


2. Chemical Treatments:

Root Killing Chemicals: There are chemicals available that can kill tree roots within sewer pipes. These chemicals are typically poured into the toilet or drain and left to work for a specified period before flushing out. However, they may not completely remove roots and could harm the environment if not used properly.

Professional Assistance

Professional Plumbers: Plumbing companies offer services specifically designed to remove tree roots from sewer pipes. They may use specialized tools such as root saws or high-powered cutting equipment to clear the pipes effectively.

Video Inspection: Many plumbers offer video inspection services to identify the extent of root intrusion and pinpoint areas that require attention. This allows for a targeted approach to root removal.


2. Pipe Replacement or Repair:

In severe cases where the damage is extensive, pipe replacement or repair may be necessary. This involves digging up the affected section of the pipe and replacing it with new piping or repairing the existing pipe.

Prevention Tips

Preventing tree roots from infiltrating sewer pipes is key to avoiding future issues. Here are some tips to help prevent root intrusion:

Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular inspections and maintenance of your sewer pipes to catch any potential issues early.

Avoid Planting Trees Near Sewer Lines: When landscaping your yard, avoid planting trees with aggressive root systems near sewer lines.

Chemical Treatments: Periodically treat your sewer lines with root-killing chemicals to deter root growth.

Dealing with tree roots in sewer pipes can be a challenging task, but with the right methods and preventive measures, you can effectively remove roots and prevent future intrusion. Whether opting for DIY solutions or seeking professional assistance, addressing root intrusion promptly is essential to avoid costly damage and inconvenience. By understanding the causes and employing preventive measures, you can maintain the integrity of your sewer system and enjoy a hassle-free plumbing experience.

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