Root infiltration occurs when tree roots grow into your pipes. While this usually happens out in your yard where the pipes run underground, it can also happen to the pipes inside of your house if a tree is located close enough. Over time, the roots will break down the pipes and cause clogs, underground water or sewer leakage and other major problems. Many people do not realize the damage that trees can cause to their pipes until it’s too late and they have a minor (or major) flood on their hands, or call a plumber to figure out why they no longer have any water flowing to their pipes.
Thankfully, there are several ways to prevent root infiltration:
Have Your Lateral Pipes Cleaned on a Yearly (or Twice Yearly) Basis
Your lateral pipes are the ones that run under your yard and out to the street where they connect with the larger sewer and water pipes that are maintained by the city. However, you are responsible for the lateral pipes that connect directly to your house. One of the best ways to prevent roots from fully infiltrating these pipes is by having the pipes cleaned by a plumber every year.
Have Broken Pipes Replaced
While the plumbing company is out cleaning your lateral pipes with a snake or auger, they will check to make sure that none of the pipes are broken or collapsing. (This is done with a small camera attached to the snake or auger.) If any of these pipes are damaged, they will need to be replaced. During the replacement process, your tree roots will be trimmed in that area to prevent them from causing further damage.
Don’t Plant Trees Less Than 10 Feet Away From Major Sewer and Water Pipes
If you can control the placement of your trees, do so. This obviously doesn’t apply to trees that are already planted, but if you decide to put in new ones, make sure that they are at least 10 feet away from your lateral pipes. This greatly decreases the odds that their roots will begin to infiltrate your pipes.