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Drain Cleaning Service: A Guide to Removing Tree Roots | St. Paul, MN

Every few years, you should have a plumber perform a drain cleaning service as a form of maintenance for your home. This is especially true if there have been clogs and blockages. Even the most experienced plumber can have difficulties finding the source of a blockage. Oftentimes, it is the accumulation of soap scum, grease and even dirt particles. However, sometimes, the source of the blockage may be more severe. 

Tree roots from nearby plants in your yards may have slowly, but surely, invaded your plumbing system. These tree roots will continue to grow within the plumbing until they block all water from traveling in the pipes. You’ll need a professional plumber to perform a drain cleaning service in order to get a better idea of what to expect and what exactly happened.

If you need drain cleaning service in St. Paul, MN, do not hesitate to call Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains. We can help you diagnose the source of your clog. This article, in particular, will look at tree root intrusions. 

What Are Some Signs of a Tree Root Intrusion?

Signs of a tree root intrusion can often be mistaken for something else. Many homeowners will ask for a drain cleaning service thinking that they are dealing with some other type of problem. It’s only until later that they will figure out that the tree roots are the main source of the problem.

With that said, many signs of a tree root intrusion can be mistaken as a problem that requires drain cleaning service. You might find that the water is constantly getting clogged and does not drain easily. Or, you may even notice some type of foul odor coming from your drains. 

There are other signs of a tree root intrusion that does not mimic any problem that requires a drain cleaning service. Let’s take a look at some other signs of a tree root intrusion.

#1. Sinkholes in the Yard

Oftentimes, you’ll notice that there’s a tree root intrusion in your plumbing when there’s a problem in your yard. If tree roots have intruded into your plumbing, you’ll often notice sinkholes emerging and forming across the yard. When the roots grow into the pipes, more and more water will leak out into the yard. This creates soft spots in the soil, and the earth will sink in those areas.

#2. More Green Patches in the Yard

Another sign of a tree root intrusion in the yard is when there are green patches in the yard. Excessive green in the yard may indicate that those areas of the yard are receiving more water than normal. You’ll notice unusual bush growth and lush patches of grass. 

#3. Weird Noises 

A sign that there may be tree roots inside your plumbing is when there are weird noises coming from your pipes. This may also be a reason for why you may ask for a drain cleaning service. The weird noise comes from the water getting forced out of the tree roots. It could also be the tree roots banging inside the plumbing as well. 

#4. Decreased Water Pressure

As the tree roots fill the plumbing, it’ll become more and more difficult for water to pass through the plumbing. You’ll notice a significant decrease in water pressure coming from your plumbing. When you turn on your faucets, you may notice that only a little bit of water is coming out. This decrease may happen slowly over time. You may notice that it gets worse and worse as the tree roots slowly, but surely, grow the entire length of the plumbing.

Why Do Tree Roots Become Clogs?

There’s one thing that trees, and even bushes, desperately need — water. Tree roots are drawn to moisture and will grow close to that source. There’s a lot of warm water inside sewer pipes and the water main. A lot of the vapor will escape into the soil as well. 

Roots from trees and bushes can sense the warmth and moisture within the pipes, especially from the condensation on the outside. They’ll naturally grow towards them. If there is a small crack or a loose joint, the tree roots will take advantage of this fact and use that to grow into the plumbing. They’ll continue to grow along the entire length of the plumbing. As the roots get larger and larger, they will fill up the entire diameter of the plumbing and clog it. Some of the root systems are capable of growing within the pipes to the point that they completely fill it and block the flow of water. 

Many homeowners will call for a drain cleaning service because their drains are clogged. They think that the source of the problem is grease or a small object that their child has tossed into the drain. They don’t realize that the problem could be tree roots intruding into the plumbing. 

How Can a Plumber Diagnose a Tree Root Intrusion?

A tree root intrusion is often diagnosed during a drain cleaning service. During a drain cleaning service, many plumbers will use a video inspection to take a look at the condition of the pipes. During the video inspection, it’ll be easy to tell whether any tree roots have entered the plumbing, and, if so, our plumbers will also be able to tell where the tree roots are and the extent of the problem. 

This is also why it’s important to get drain cleaning services regularly. Our plumbers will always inspect the entire length of the plumbing to see whether there are any other issues that need to be addressed. This allows us to quickly see if there are any signs of tree root intrusion. If the problem is still in its minor stages, it will be a lot easier to deal with. We’ll be able to easily patch up or replace that section of the plumbing and also remove the tree roots. 

What Are Some Ways that Tree Roots Can Be Removed?

If our plumbers determine that a tree root infestation is the source of all of your headaches after a video inspection from a drain cleaning service, we’ll work quickly to remove the tree root as soon as possible. The longer that you wait, the worse that the problem becomes. Fortunately, there are several different ways that tree roots can be removed. Let’s take a look at some of them below. 

#1. Cut the Tree Roots Mechanically

One of the simplest and most common techniques employed is to use a mechanical auger to remove the tree mechanically. This way involved sending a powered sewer auger down the sewer line or the water line. A mechanical auger has a rotating head that is covered with a lot of teeth. It basically does the same job as a reciprocating saw blade. When you turn the mechanical auger on, the rotating action of the blade will cut the roots and clear them. 

With that said, you have to deal with the problem immediately. Cutting the tree roots is not a solution, as the tree roots will start to grow back almost immediately. 

#2. Remove the Tree Roots Using Chemicals

Another popular option is to use chemicals. There are many special chemicals out there that are designed to kill tree roots and ensure that they don’t grow back. One of the most popular chemical treatments is copper sulfate. This method will not only kill the tree roots that are already in the plumbing, but it also creates a poison barrier around the plumbing and within the soil that will kill the tree roots before they are able to grow back into the pipes. These types of treatments can be applied with foaming agents that have the ability to coat the entire pipe. This will ensure that the chemicals reach every tree root.

With that said, some homeowners aren’t too keen on using chemical agents to remove tree roots. They may feel unsure about having their drinking water tainted with chemicals. If you do not patch up the plumbing or replace it, this will also not be a permanent solution as the tree roots can grow back into the plumbing. 

#3. Remove the Invasive Roots by Digging Them Up

The video inspection that comes with our drain cleaning service will be able to tell the extent of the damage. If the tree roots have already penetrated and invaded most of the plumbing, the best course of action may be to dig up the invasive tree roots to remove them. With that said, usually, people only do this when the tree roots have invaded a good chunk of their plumbing and have grown out of control. Physically digging up the tree roots will not salvage the plumbing, and you’ll likely have to repair the plumbing or replace it entirely. In general, the latter happens more often. 

#4. Remove the Tree Roots with a Hydro Jetter

Last but not least, many plumbers may also recommend hydro jetting. This option can be quite expensive, but it’s also one of the most effective options that will do the least amount of damage to your plumbing. This technique relies on a hydro jetter, which is essentially a pump that uses pressurized water to cut through the tree roots. After the hydro jetter does its job, many professionals may recommend flushing the plumbing with chemicals to kill any of the tree roots that are still present. 

The video inspection of the drain cleaning service will tell the plumber exactly where the problem is. They’ll also perform another video inspection after the fact to determine whether all of the roots have been removed.

What Steps Are Next? 

Once the roots are removed from the plumbing, there are still some steps that need to be taken. For one, you’ll need to either repair the plumbing by patching it up or replacing it entirely. If a large section of the plumbing is damaged, the best thing to do is to replace it entirely. 

Another thing that homeowners should consider and think about is getting rid of the plants that caused the problem to begin with. As the trees and bushes grow larger and larger, the root systems are going to expand. If you leave the plants where they are, the roots will eventually find their way back to the plumbing and wreak havoc again. 

Last but not least, make sure to perform a drain cleaning service regularly. It’s important to get the drains cleaned regularly as this will help you diagnose any plumbing problems that may be present. It’ll also help you determine whether any other tree roots have intruded into the plumbing. If you don’t remove the trees or plants nearby that caused the problem to begin with, you’ll likely have to keep an eye out for them to make sure that the tree roots do not try to intrude into the plumbing once again. 

Call Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains for Drain Cleaning Services in St. Paul, MN

If you’re looking to get drain cleaning services for your home, consider calling Paul Bunyan Plumbing & Drains. All of our technicians have the technical know-how and experience to unravel even some of the toughest and most difficult plumbing problems. We offer a wide range of plumbing services for those in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area, and are one of the most experienced plumbing companies in St. Paul, MN

Give us a call at 952-209-9329 to schedule an appointment or service. We will accommodate your schedule and timetable. We are also able to offer numerous coupons and discounts, and we even offer different types of payment plans. We can work with you to figure out a solution to your plumbing needs. 

Our licensed plumbers can also help you schedule a drain cleaning service and figure out how often you need to get your drains cleaned. We’ll walk you through each process step-by-step, and if tree roots are the problem, we can help you figure out a viable solution as well.

Photo By mikeledray at Shutterstock

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