Have you ever heard a horror story from a family member, friend, or neighbor about tree roots growing in their sewer lines? As much as we wish they were just a myth, tree roots growing into plumbing lines aren’t merely an urban legend. They’re a real nuisance that needs to be dealt with ASAP — before your sewer pipes suffer as a result.

Tree roots in sewer lines don’t occur due to random chance. The roots are attracted to the water and nutrients your sewer lines provide, especially if your lines are closer than other food sources. As the root systems grow, they spread out and begin to intertwine with your pipes, causing tiny cracks and holes that worsen over time. Eventually, you’ll be stuck with all kinds of plumbing issues, from mysterious gurgling sounds to full-on sewage leakage. Yuck!

As Medina’s best plumbing team, we’ve seen more types of tree root problems than you can imagine, and we know a thing or two about getting to the “root” of the issue. If you have (or suspect you have) tree roots in your sewer pipes, here are some options worth trying!

DIY Methods

If you’re willing to deal with the consequences of possibly killing the tree the roots belong to, you can try several DIY root killer options. Here are two worth mentioning:

Rock Salt or Copper Sulfate

Rock salt (sodium chloride) and copper sulfate prevent roots from growing by starving them of moisture, killing them off over time. To use these methods, acquire about 2 pounds of either rock salt or copper sulfate online or at any big-box store, then flush it down the toilet a half-pound at a time, waiting for the water to refill between flushes. Limit toilet and drain usage for the next 8-12 hours as you wait for the chemicals to work their magic. When used repeatedly, this method can be deadly to things growing in your yard, so be careful if your trees, bushes, and shrubs are especially important to you.

Root Killer

Foaming root killer is exactly what you might expect based on its name. It’s a foaming solution that you can use to kill the roots growing in your sewer system. Foaming root killers can be pricier than rock salt, but one benefit worth considering is that it helps prevent future tree roots from coming back since it contains powerful herbicides. 

Most foaming root killers have instructions on the bottle, so be careful to follow the directions to the letter. Root killer is often more immediately effective than rock salt, but you still might have to use it several times over a few weeks to ensure that the roots are totally gone. 

PS: since foaming root killers can contain some seriously strong chemicals, don’t forget to don gloves and safety goggles if necessary.

Professional Methods

If you’re still dealing with slow drains or gross gurgling and are convinced that your tree root problem hasn’t disappeared after your DIY attempts, it’s time to call professional plumbers. We’ll locate your sewer line (want to learn more? Check out our piece on how to find your home’s main sewer line) and do a sewer camera inspection to check for roots. Then, we’ll use powerful equipment such as hydro-jetting machinery to blast any encroaching tree roots away. In some situations, we might also need to dig into the pipes themselves or replace sections of tubing to preserve the integrity of your plumbing. 

Contact Dan’s Drain Services Anytime

Have you got sewer problems? Call Dan’s Drain Services, and we’ll terminate those tree roots today. Whatever needs to be done, we’ll keep you updated and informed the whole time — so you know when and how you can get back to living life root-free. We’ll see you soon!

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