Tree root growth versus drains for those who want to learn a little more: A Plumbers Perspective
The most famous enemy of any underground drain is the tree root. Even if you are drain and environmentally savvy and monitor items entering into your drainage system, tree roots will remain unbiased and will infiltrate the tiniest of gaps and given time, protrude substantially into root compromised drains.
How did it find and get into my drain?
Without going heavily into tree root etiology, tree roots search for and are directed by growth and directional factors (what is in the soil to stop directional growth), towards water sources underground. Unfortunately for building owners one of which is an active drain.
The tree roots will likely be guided along the length of the drain from its origin due to a couple of factors but most noteworthy and simplest reason (for the purposes of this writing) is its just easier for the roots to grow along the drain. Where your drain is buried the soil is no longer "virgin soil" post excavation irrespective of how long ago the drain was put in, and has been softened up by being a low spot for, and enabling the flow of sub-soil groundwater in a trench layed for a pipe to have a fall gradient. In wet or dry times the tunnel like pores formed at the bottom of the trench enable easy root navigation through lower density soil along the length of the drain.
Tree root growth on a cellular level occurs from inside the outer "skin" portion of the root, so as the root grows, pressure is applied to its surroundings longitudinally from within (if you are unable to conceptualize this, think of one of those long party balloons you make poodles out of, being inflated whilst between two slices of bread). This facet is the most detrimental to your drain as it enables force to be applied to your drain's entry point and may eventually split your drain with enough lateral growth pressure as the root thickens. How the drain splits and where will dictate the repair needed if any or the frequency of maintenance.
A tree root protruding into affected drains will play all sorts of havoc on your drain system. It may even form unexpected overnight tree root blockages by creating an internal drain catch point by the root "fingers". The protrusion by a root or roots has the potential to snag hair, paper and detritus until the drain's flow is compromised or nonexistent. At this point a tree Root Blockage will occur and a plumber will need to be engaged.
At first there may be few signs that there is a root problem, but if you notice an unpleasant drainage smell, a lingering odor, or if you hear unusual bubbling or gurgling sounds, it's wise to get your drain checked to prevent the situation deteriorating. If you suspect an obstruction in your pipework, call us for prompt drain assessment or drain cleaning.
Skilled assessment of the problem
When you call us out, the first thing we will do is assess the issue in order to decide on the best drain solution. We carry a wide range of specialist equipment, including the still highly efficient electric eel drain cleaning machine and water blasters. This ensures we can nearly always fix the issue without the need for a repeat visit or to dig it up. We will check whether tree roots in pipes are the cause of the problem and advise on strategies for repair or maintenance dependent on what you would like to do.
Various sizes of Jetting machines and an electric eel so we mitigate the risk of failure
More equipment means more options and expedient results prior to a dig up repair.
Every machine has its pros and cons when used in the field: Some are heavy but powerful, some light and navigate well and some will have accessories that allow greater control and functionality. We Try to cover all Bases with the equipment we carry to provide options for our customers and to allow us to continue building on our can do reputation.
Depending on the length of the pipe and the position of the blockage, we will select an eel or Jetting machine of the correct size, in order to ensure the problem is reached, it is dealt with in the most cost effective manner and the complete removal of the problem root ingress is ensured. No matter what size your sewage pipe might be or how challenging the configuration, our combination of expertise and the right machinery means we can get the job done quickly and effectively.
Property clearing assessment
We don't just clear the first blockage we come to! After jetting or using an electric eel we check the pipe right the way back to the mains sewer pipe to make sure there aren't any nasty surprises further along. If a tree root or other obstruction is noticed, we will let you know of how severe we think it is or if invasive repair should be undertaken (we try to avoid these solely due to the cost to customer when there are always options that doesn't involve surgery).
As experienced plumbers who have been working in and around Canberra and Queanbeyan for some years now, we are proud of our excellent reputation for reliability, efficiency and professionalism. No matter how challenging or complex your drainage job might be, our winning combination of high caliber equipment and a skilled, dedicated team will result in a successful outcome.
Give us a call to book an appointment or leave us an email on our contact or info pages and we will get back to you promptly.