Tree Roots and Underground Pipes: Not a Perfect Combination

Men fixing the underground pipes

Trees are an amazing addition to your landscaping. They offer shade during hot days and provide protection from breezy, cold winds. But trees near your home, specifically their root system, could likewise wreak havoc on your plumbing system without you even realizing it.

All Hours Plumbing and HVAC shares some information to help you understand the problem.

How Do Tree Roots Damage Plumbing?

In the summer months, plants constantly search for water through their underground root systems. Smaller types of vegetation, such as small shrubs and flowers, don’t have large roots so you need not worry about them causing damage to your plumbing system. But the root systems of trees near your home are a different story.

Water vapor usually leaks around the cracks and joints of old underground pipes, which in turn attract the roots of trees adjacent to them. These aggressive roots could easily sneak their way around and in your underground piping, oftentimes causing significant damage. Pipes made of terracotta and clay tile are highly vulnerable to damage and intrusion by roots. Those made from concrete provide more resistance, explains a top plumber in Salt Lake City. Newer pipes made from PVC won’t leak easily, as they feature snugly sealed joints.

So how do you know if your tree roots are already affecting your pipes? While the occasional clogged drain is fairly common and nothing to fret about, tree roots might have already infiltrated your plumbing pipes if:

  • You experience clogs more frequently than expected
  • There are clogs that won’t subside without intervention
  • There are gurgling noises from your toilet
  • You experience slow-moving or overflowing drains
  • As soon as you suspect that your tree roots are causing damage to your underground pipes, you should call a plumber right away to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Your plumber could then clean your pipes, or in more severe cases, repair or replace them.
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Knowing how to identify issues as early as possible could help you treat them promptly. To prevent tree roots from damaging your underground pipes, consider removing or relocating trees that are growing too close to your pipe system. If you plan on planting more trees, you could plant abut 15 to 20 feet away from where your underground pipes are located.