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Damage Tree Roots Can Do to Sewer Lines

Tree Root Damage

Beautiful trees not only enhance your landscape but help reduce air pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, and provide important shade during hot summer days. However, when tree roots start to grow into the cracks of sewer lines, it can lead to costly, messy sewer backups.

Why Tree Roots Grow into Sewer Lines

Trees like sewer line cracks because sewer pipes contain all the elements that are essential for tree growth: oxygen, nutrients, and water. The warm water that flows inside a sewer line creates a vapor that escapes into the cooler surrounding soil. Tree roots are attracted to this vapor. If there is a crack in a pipe or a loose joint, the root will enter at these points to get to the good stuff (nutrients, moisture, etc.) to grow.

What Happens When Tree Roots Enter Sewer Lines

First and foremost, tree roots do not invade healthy, well-kept pipes. But when there is a crack, a hole, or an improperly-sealed sewer pipe, it leaves the sewer lines vulnerable to tree root growth. As these roots grow, they combine themselves with grease, toilet tissue, waste, and other debris traveling through the sewer lines causing toilets, sinks, and other drains to become sluggish, back up, and eventually, the pipes break.

How to Prevent Tree Roots in Sewer Lines

The best control of tree root issues in sewer lines is prevention. Be proactive by installing preventive growth barriers between trees and pipes. Preventive growth barriers are wall-like structures placed around tree roots to prevent and redirect the spread of root systems. Working with a landscape professional can help you find dense soil and discover slow-growing plants and shrubs that do not have extensive root systems. Additionally, here’s what you can do to stop tree roots growing in sewer line drain systems before it happens: 

    • Locate sewage lines – Know where the underground pipes, lines, and cables are buried. This will assist in future landscaping and planting.
    • Landscape wisely – Avoid planting trees directly above or near the pipe. Limit the number of trees you plant close to your sewage lines. 
    • Regular maintenance & inspections – Hire a licensed plumber to inspect your sewer drain system every other year. When conducting maintenance on a regular basis, any threatening issues can be handled before they get worse. Aside from this, major sewer lines should be cleaned regularly which prevents roots from seeping into vulnerable spots. 
    • Know the Signs
      • Slow running drains or gurgling toilets
      • Bad odors coming from drains, toilet blockages, water backups, and overflow
      • Visible sinkholes in the yard  
      • Frequent clogs
      • Sewer flies

Tree roots can cause significant damage to a sewer line system without you realizing something terrible is wrong. If you suspect there may be tree roots in pipes or would like to rule out any other kind of damage to your plumbing system, have one of our professional plumbers inspect your sewer system today! Our experts will show you the current condition of your pipes and identify any problems or potential problems. From there, you can take appropriate steps to help keep your plumbing in top shape for years to come. Contact the professionals at Tony’s Drain & Sewer Cleaning, our goal is to solve your plumbing issues and repair them in a timely manner. Contact us today!

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Common Causes of Sewer Backups

Sewer Backups

You probably never think about your sewer system pipes until they don’t work properly. Sewage problems, like sewage backups, can happen to anyone, in any building, and at just about any time. When wastewater isn’t draining properly and not addressed immediately, wastewater will continue to fill the sewer lines and drainpipes, resulting in a backup. A sewer backup is something that you want to avoid as much as possible.

Plumbing systems have to handle everything that goes down the drain. These systems catch hair, grease, laundry detergent, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and garbage disposal waste. When these items go down the drain, these items can clog pipes and cause a sewer backup. There are other causes of sewer backups that can be unseen, lurk beneath the ground and floors of a home or business.

Common Causes of Sewer Backups

  • Clogged or Blocked Sewer Pipes: The most common type of sewer backup is due to clogged pipes. Sewer clogs are easily preventable with proper care and maintenance. If a backup is affecting more than one toilet or sink, it could be a sign of an issue with the main sewer line that would require the use of a plunger or drain cleaner.
    • Use drains properly. Here are some quick tips:
      • Avoid pouring fats, oils, coffee grounds, rice, pasta, and other solids down your kitchen drain. When the grease cools down it solidifies in the pipes which creates blockages in the pipes. 
      • Do not use the toilet as a trash bin. Items such as feminine products, “flushable” wipes, diapers, paper towels, and facial tissues will all create backups in the pipes. Only flush toilet paper. If it does not dissolve almost instantly in water, do NOT flush it.
  • Old or Damaged Sewer Pipes: Sewer backups could be due to damaged, broken, or collapsed sewer lines. Sewer pipes are usually made of clay, Orangeburg, PVC, or cast iron. While these materials are durable, it’s inevitable for sewer pipes to deteriorate and eventually collapse as they age. Any one of these problems will lead to big issues for a home or building’s sewer line.
    • Get a sewer line inspection to check the condition of your sewer system every five years. The professional plumber will look for signs of damage, cracks, and clogs. 
  • Tree Roots in Sewer Pipes: Even though you may not have a tree on your property or near your sewer line, tree roots can travel far and grow into the cracks of the sewer lines. Tree and shrub roots cause damage, holes, and blockages as they flourish. 
    • How to get rid of tree roots: Contact a sewer line professional for a sewer camera inspection. This is a non-destructive procedure that will easily find the exact location and extent of the problem. The sewer line professional will then be able to get rid of the problem by cutting the roots and repairing or replacing the pipe.
  • Sewer-Sanitary or Municipal Sewer Blockage: These issues are usually detected and treated before they become a problem, however, a sewer main blockage could impact residential and commercial sewer lines in the area. When a blockage in the municipal sewer is not detected immediately, wastewater can back up into floor drains. 
    • Call a plumbing expert and contact your local public works office to report the problem if water is rapidly entering the lower level of a building or basement.

How to Prevent a Sewer Backup

  • Clean your sewer lines
  • Be mindful of what goes down the drain and flushed down the toilet
  • Get a sewer line inspection
  • Route gutters, downspouts and sump pumps properly
  • Replace old sewer lines
  • Tackle drainage issues

Do You Have Frequent Sewer Backups? 

Wondering what would make a toilet gurgle, a shower not to drain as it should, or create a smelly, soggy yard?  The best way to identify the cause of a plumbing issue or sewer backup is to have a professional plumber inspect the sewer system. They will perform an inspection, show you what is causing the problem, and determine an appropriate solution. When it comes to sewers, you want a permanent solution, not a temporary fix. Contact the professionals at Tony’s Drain & Sewer Cleaning, our goal is to solve your plumbing issues and repair them in a timely manner. Contact us today!

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Sewer Line Tracing: Should I Call a Plumber or a Drain Specialist

Sewer Line Tracing:  Should I Call a Plumber or a Drain Specialist

Maintaining your home is one thing, but when there is a problem with your home, like an emergency situation, it seemingly takes over your entire life.  Knowing who to call during these situations can not only save you time but can also save you lots of money.  This is especially true when it comes to plumbing issues when it’s related to sewer lines, backup, and clogged drains.   These unexpected drain backups can develop all of a sudden, leaving you scrambling to find the right plumber.  But did you know that a plumber is not who you should call first?  Most people will want to reach out to a plumber, but let’s take a look at the difference between a plumber and drain/sewer line specialist and what makes them different, and why that is important in saving you time and money.   

What is a Plumber? (What is Plumbing?) 

So this may seem like a fairly straightforward answer and something that we discovered in elementary school. A plumber is a skilled professional who works on your water pipes, right?  The answer is yes and no. Plumbing generally involves fresh water coming into your home and water running through your pipes; therefore, a plumber will specifically handle those plumbing issues that affect the water that comes into your home.

It is fairly common to think of a plumber to be the solution for any water issue in your home.  A plumber is the professional you will want to call when you have dripping faucets, replacing toilets, installing a new sink with new water supply lines or repairing an internal pipe leak. While we often equate plumbing and drain problems as one in the same, understanding that not every plumber or plumbing company can adequately handle major drain issues can get your “plumbing” issue resolved quicker. 

What is a Drain / Sewer Expert?

Think of drain issues as water going out of your home, like when you flush the toilet or water going down your sink, for example.

Why and When to Call A Drain Specialist instead of a Plumber?

It happens all too often.  A clogged toilet that just keeps overflowing.  You plunge it out only for the water to continue overflowing.  So naturally, you think to call a plumber.  And you’re probably going to call that 24-hour emergency plumber so you can get this problem handled immediately.  Once the plumber assesses the problem, the solution, unfortunately, is that you have to call a drain specialist.  And you still have to pay the plumber a fee for just coming out and assessing the situation.  But why can’t the plumber handle this problem?  

Generally speaking, most plumbers simply do not have the equipment required to handle these large, emergency situations.  And in most cases, there is a clog or some type of obstruction in the drain causing the backup.  It could even be a tree root that has grown into the drain or perhaps a collapsed drain pipe underneath the house. These types of situations require a drain specialist who has the right equipment and tools to quickly assess the problem and give you an immediate solution.  

What is sewer line tracing? 

For every sewer drain line, there is also a tracer wire (also known as a locator wire) that has been installed.  This tracer wire is used to assist in locating pipes after they have been buried in the ground.  

When there is a drainage problem within the sewer line, the first step is to trace that sewer line from the home to the main sewer line.  It is this tracer line, known as Sewer Line Tracing, that helps identify sewer line location,  where it’s running from, as well as the sewer line’s depth.  The only way to locate the sewer tracer line is by using specialized locator equipment. Unfortunately, this is equipment that very few plumbers have on hand – which is why you will be referred to a drain specialist. 

A drain specialist is highly-trained to use a top-of-the-line handheld locator, which is receiving a signal in real-time from the camera in the sewer line.  This sounds pretty simple to most of us; however, it does take specialized training to operate the camera that will be flowing through the drain lines which can often be buried up to 12 feet underground.  The locator will provide the technician with the exact location and depth of the line, that way the drain specialist can pinpoint the exact location of the sewer line.  This will also show where the clog or obstruction is located and help to identify the next steps to take for drain repair.  

Some Common Plumbing Problems

Here are a few of the top situations you would call a plumber:

  • A leaky or dripping faucet
  • Low water pressure
  • No water at all
  • Sprinkler System Leaking
  • Shower Leaking
  • Replacing hot water heater
  • Installing a new sink and changing supply lines
  • Internal leak 
  • Continuously running toilet
  • Overflowing toilet of clean water

In any of the situations above you can feel confident that a plumber and plumbing company can help take care of your situation quickly.

Some Common Drain Line or Sewer Line Problems

The following situations are a good indicator that you need a drain specialist, not a plumber:

  • Slow or clogged drains from a sink, toilet, shower, kitchen, or washing machine 
  • Water does not empty from the sink, tub, or washing machine
  • There’s a sewer line break
  • Septic tank break or leak
  • Lift Station 

Knowing the difference between plumbing and drain issues will save you time and money because you’ll know the right questions to ask. Because not every plumber performs drain work, you wouldn’t want to call a plumber out to your house thinking it was a plumbing issue, only to find that plumber doesn’t perform drain work and that you’ll have to begin the whole process again of finding someone to fix your problem. 

Drain issues aren’t the sort of thing that you want to have to deal with for several days…if you know what we mean. Plus, when you use a company that specializes in both plumbing and drains, you’ll know that you’re not only getting the right person for the job but someone who is skilled enough to diagnose the problem and get the job done quickly and efficiently.

Drain Specialists, such as  Tony’s Drain & Sewer Cleaning, specialize in other services including hydro-jetting, sewer pipe cleaning, and plumbing camera inspection services.  If you’re having some draining issues, don’t hesitate,  give us a call today.  We can have one of our trained technicians come out for an onsite assessment.