Sunday, March 3, 2013

24 Hour Rooter of Yakima, WA provides fast plumbing service.. Here is an article on how to prevent roots growing in your sewer line.

   If you have ever found yourself in a plumbing emergency such as with a leaking pipe, a leaking hot water heater, no hot water, a clogged drain or a backed up sewer line, then you may know that getting a plumber to respond immediately is very important. Often times it is hard to find a plumber who is available or one who will even answer the phone when your situation arises. If you find yourself in an emergency plumbing situation in Yakima, WA then your in luck as 24 Hour Rooter & Septic is always available and ready to help you with instant response. Continue reading below to learn how the prevent an emergency with your sewer line.





   With Spring time just around the corner, the trees and shrubs begin to take root as the trees begin to bud. Most of the older homes through-out Yakima and anywhere else for that matter are vulnerable to having sewer and drain issues during this pre-Spring season time.


Older houses that have never had the main sewer line replaced are usually constructed of clay pipe, concrete pipe, asbestos or sometimes iron pipe. In all of these cases the pipe was laid in the ground in 2 to 4 foot sections and butted together to form a lateral sewer line leading out to a main city sewer line or sometimes to a septic tank. 



   Depending on how well the sewer pipe was soil sealed when it was installed, over the years the pipe begins to weaken around the hub or joints. Often times these pipes are not sealed at the joints. It is at these vulnerable joints where the trees that inhabit the home's yard or even neighboring yards begin to penetrate your pipe. A well irrigated yard can help prevent these trees from endangering your sewer system, but not always.

Once the roots find their way through the cracks into your sewer there is really no way to prevent them eventually taking over the pipe other than removing the trees (which is very costly) and then completely removing the stumps along with the roots. This can be dangerous to your sewer pipe as pulling the stumps (via a backhoe or excavator) can grab ahold of the sewer line and pull it up or out of place as well. Newer methods are to grind the stumps to below ground level and insert root killing chemicals into the remaining stump. This method can eventually help eliminate the problem and help restore your sewer line to a functioning system that is root free. You will probably have to have the line snaked out by a professional drain cleaner at least once and sometimes two or three times over the course of a couple years to get rid of the roots that already established in your line. I have personal experience with this exact situation and I have seen it work for some people. After the last remaining root growth has been killed off and cleaned out of the pipe, the homeowner can have a sewer line that will last for several more years without the major cost of replacing the line. 
  WARNING......before going through the expense of tree removal, there are VERY important factors that need to be addressed first.
First you are going to want to hire a plumber to put a video pipe camera in the sewer line to determine the extent of damage that the roots have caused. I have seen hundreds of old sewer lines here in Yakima, WA throughout the years and I can honestly tell you that some very old lines are actually in very good shape for their age. Things I look for when determining whether a sewer line is in good enough shape to continue using with a little maintenance are as follows.

What is the extent of root penetration? Are the roots hair fine roots that have not damaged the pipe? (over time small hair fine roots can turn into thick roots that will damage, break or separate the pipe leading to other problems with stoppage at separated joints)

Are there other obstructions in the pipe? (often old clay pipe will become weak and have multiple chips and cracks)

What does the inner surface of the pipe look like? (in old concrete sewer pipe the inner surface can become very rough along the bottom where the sewage flows. Toilet paper and effluent sludge doesn't flow through the pipe very well as it catches and clings to the pipe and causes the line to clog up often)

Are there sags or dips on the line? (a sewer line can settle in places over the years as rain water and irrigation water slowly seeps through the top layer of ground over the pipe and gravity pushes the pipe down in spots. Sometimes the original contractor or installer may not have compacted the soil under the pipe where it lays in the ground and it has resulted in the pipe sinking over time. Other times this can just be an act of nature as the earth moves. This situation can sometimes be fixed by making a repair to the affected area and other times there are too many sink spots in the line and it is more cost effective to replace the entire line.)

How does the City tap look? (very often the sole reason that a sewer line plugs up is that it is plugged at the City tap or connection. A side sewer or "lateral" is the responsibility of the homeowner. Often times a City connection will shift and debris will catch at the connection causing the line to plug. In this case it is always best to replace the entire sewer line on an old line because 3/4 of the $cost of a new sewer replacement is for the time it takes to re-tap the City sewer and the replacement of gravel or asphalt associated with the alleyway or street where the connection is made.)

  • What About Root Killer?
Root killer can help aid killing roots to some extent but there is only one way it will have any effect at all. You must have a clean-out access to your sewer line and you will want to pour the entire contents into the sewer system at night after no one in the household will be using any water what so ever. You want the chemical to be in it's most concentrated formula as it slowly gravitates down the sewer line. And remember, most of the liquid will pass by the the trouble spots in your pipe as it drains out to the City main or septic. Therefor you may have to spend a lot of money on the product and use it repeatedly in order to have any effect and I can tell you from years of seeing sewer lines on a video pipe camera that the roots grow in the sides of the pipe. It's not really that they grow just in through the sides of the pipe but that they aren't really visible on the camera because as the sewage passes through the pipe it usually keeps the bottom of the pipe free of debris unless of course there are rough spots along the bottom where debris collects. Therefor an educated guess tells me that maybe 1% to 5% of the product ever touches the root endings if any at all. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong as this is just my theory, but I have NEVER had a customer tell me that they corrected their root problem by pouring root killer in their sewer line.

Thank for reading and please feel free to leave your comments.

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