Is Tree Root Killer the Right Answer for Your Clogged Main Line

Tree Roots

For homeowners with older homes, chances are pretty good that you’ll eventually have to deal with tree root intrusion in your dated clay sewer pipes.  It’s a plumbing issue that can affect any home, but root intrusion is an especially common problem for homes that are exposed to prolonged periods of drought since roots search and reach for any source of moisture that they can find.  Unfortunately, this includes the water found flowing through your sewer pipes. But, what can you do about tree root intrusion, and is there a way to safely unclog your lines?

There are several solutions and resources available out there, one of them being tree root killer, a chemical that can be poured down your toilet to eradicate those pesky roots for you.  This, however, is not the sort of safe, thorough antidote that you should be using.  Sure, it seems like the more affordable and less invasive alternative to calling in a team of experts, but trust us, you will be paying for it in the end.  

We understand that pipe intrusion can be a potentially costly repair or even replacement, but you must first understand what you’re actually dealing with.  So, let’s take a closer look at the issue at hand and the proper course of action that you should take to secure your sewer pipes and your home.

The Tree Root Problem

Before you just assume that roots are the source of your clogged pipes, you must take the time to properly identify the problem.  Take a look at the site plans for your home, find out where your main sewer line runs, and see if there are even any trees growing along its path.  Do keep in mind, however, that larger trees on or near your property can have vast root systems that can travel for many feet underground. So, there are several things to take into consideration when assessing the area around your plumbing system.  

While you’re looking at your home’s plans and layout, try to find out what your sewer lines are actually made of.  Are they the more modern PVC pipes, or are they clay? If your home was built before 1970, then you’re likely dealing with clay lines, which are prone to intrusion.  If your home was built later, though, you likely have PVC lines, and tree roots won’t be an issue for you. Of course, this isn’t always standard across the board, so unless you have recent documentation or records, it’s still a good idea to dig down to the pipe in order to determine which material you’re looking at.       

Chemical Root Killers

If it’s been determined that your pipes have been invaded by tree roots, then you’re ready to take action.  As previously mentioned, chemical tree root killers are an option, and they all work on the basic principle that when the corrosive properties of the chemical are poured into your pipes, it kills the roots that it comes into contact with, freeing the clog.  But, working with chemicals isn’t only potentially dangerous to your health, they can also be hazardous to your pipes and your entire plumbing system, not to mention the environment that surrounds your cracked pipes.

The fact is, chemical root killers can do more harm than good, as they can have long-term corrosive effects on your pipes.  That’s why you’re better off calling in your trusty plumber if you have any suspicion that your clog is due to tree root intrusion or collapsed clay pipes.  They have the expertise and equipment to properly assess the situation and take safe corrective measures to ensure that your pipes remain sealed and clog-free.

If you have any questions or concerns, give our team here at Tritan Plumbing a call.  We’ll handle the situation as efficiently and effectively as possible so that you don’t have to spend any more time or money stressing about the safety of your home and investment.  


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