Remove Tree Roots in Drain or Replace Pipes?


One major problem facing homeowners is the clogging of water and drainpipes by roots. Naturally tree roots look for moisture and that leads them to your water pipes. The roots gain access to the interior parts of your pipes through the joints in your pipe. As they grow larger they will begin to block your drain. There are two major ways to get rid of this problem, you can have the drain lines replaced, or you can try to kill the roots.

Root Removal

There are several methods of cleaning your drain pipes:

  • Drain Jetting – High-pressure water jets are used to shred apart the roots in the clogged pipe. This method can be employed in all types of pipes including PVC. You can hire a pro to do this or you can rent a pressure washer and do it yourself. Just be sure not to damage your pipes with the water.
  • Electric cable snake – An electric device mounted with shredders is used to shred the roots in the pipe. The plumber will clean the pipes later using water getting rid of the debris stuck in the pipe.
  •  Treat the ground around the drain – You can pour copper sulfate or potassium hydroxide on the ground over the pipes to help kill roots before they enter the drain
  • Monthly maintenance – Since all the root removing techniques are temporary you will continue to have problems if you don’t to some regular maintenance. There are several simple things you can do.
  • Dissolve a box of rock salt in hot water and pour down the drain. Let it sit overnight so it can kill small roots in the drain before they grow. You must do this every month to keep the roots small.
  • Pour coffee grounds down the sink every morning wash them down with plenty of water. This will kill any roots that have started to grow in the pipes.
  • Monthly, pour weed killer, such as Round Up, down the drain to kill roots.

Replacing The Pipes

  • If you continue to have problem with roots your pipes may be in bad shape in which case they will need to be replaced. If they are old, the roots have probably caused many cracks and it will be best to replace the pipes.
  • Use PVC pipes – You can replace your pipes with PVC, which will prevent roots from entering the pipes.
  • Cut down the tree – If you don’t mind changing your landscaping you may want to consider removing the tree entirely to prevent regrowth of the roots.

The advantage of having a plumber install new drain line is that it is a permanent solution. It will also correct any other problems you may be having with your drains. The only disadvantage is that it is quite expensive to replace your pipes. Root removal is cheaper and, depending on your situation, may or may not be a permanent fix. You should probably consult your plumber for advice.