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When Tree Roots Spell Trouble: Simple Ways To Avoid Clogged Drains

Key takeaways:

Some signs of tree roots in your pipes are:

  • Slow drainage from your sinks or bathtubs
  • Gurgling sounds from your clogged drains
  • Backflow from the toilet
  • Unpleasant odors from your sinks and drains
  • Sinkholes in your yard
  • Green patches or sudden tree growth in your yard

We can ward off some plumbing emergencies with simple procedures like drain cleaning. However, if you have tree roots in your pipes, you may face a bigger problem.

Mature trees on your property can wreak havoc on your drain system, especially the main drain that carries water away from your home. That’s why it’s essential to understand the signs of tree roots in pipes and what you can do to prevent plumbing emergencies.

Keep clogged drains and sneaky roots at bay with these tips.

Sign 1: Slow Drainage

Your first indication of tree roots in your drain may be slow drainage. If water is draining more slowly than usual from your sinks, showers, and tubs, it’s a sign that tree roots are clogging your drain.

This is especially true if the slow drainage worsens over time. Tree roots can grow and expand, causing more significant drain blockages as time goes on.

If you suspect tree roots are the culprits for slow drainage, you should first contact a drain cleaning professional. They will be able to use special equipment to clear the drain and remove any tree roots that may be present.

Sign 2: Gurgling

This suspicious sound occurs while our first sign, slow drainage, is also happening. Gurgling can be a result of drain blockages that cause air bubbles. These air pockets get forced up through the drain, creating a gurgling noise.

If you hear gurgling coming from your drain, it’s best to take action right away by contacting a plumber. It might be difficult to source the problem independently, as the gurgling can come from nearby sinks or toilets.

A professional can quickly identify the source of the gurgling and take the necessary steps to clear your drain.

Sign 3: Toilet Trouble

The problem with tree roots is that they continue to grow. As they grow, they can cause even more damage to your plumbing system.

One way you’ll know tree roots are causing problems is if your toilets start acting up. If you have a clog that won’t flush or water that backs up into the bowl, it’s likely because tree roots obstruct water flow.

You might also notice that your toilet is no longer flushing with the same power as before. This is another sign that tree roots are to blame.

Sign 3: Toilet Trouble

Sign 4: Odious Odors

If you poke your head around your sewer line, you can naturally expect an unpleasant pong. But if you catch a whiff of sewage even when you’re not near your drain, that’s a sign that tree roots have infiltrated your sewer line.

This isn’t the time to whip out an air freshener. You must immediately call a drain cleaning professional to clear the tree roots and restore proper sewage flow. Otherwise, you’re at risk for a sewer backup, which is one of the foulest (and most costly) plumbing emergencies.

Sign 5: Sinkholes

Your first instinct might not be to check for sinkholes in your yard when troubleshooting a clogged drain. But suppose tree roots have infiltrated and damaged your sewer line. In that case, that could cause the ground above the pipe to collapse, creating a sinkhole.

Sinkholes are not only unsightly but treacherous as well. If you notice a depression in your yard, it’s best to stay away from it and call a plumbing professional. They’ll be able to determine whether the sinkhole is connected to a clogged drain and take appropriate action.

Sign 6: Guilty as Green

Before spotting a sinkhole in your yard, you might come across an unsuspecting patch of bright green grass. This could signify a leak in your sewer line, as water seeps up and fertilizes the ground above it.

That green patch might even be a healthy, happy-looking tree, sourcing all its nutrients by breaking through a pipe underground. If you see a tree growing in an area where there shouldn’t be one, it’s time to give us a call.

For more on how to prevent plumbing emergencies at home, let’s check out the tips below.

Tip 1: Maintain Your Pipes

This tip goes without saying, but not all homeowners realize that drain clogs can be prevented by regular pipe maintenance.

Weather changes can cause pipes to shift and crack, which creates tiny entry points for tree roots. To avoid this, have your pipes checked by a professional at least once a year – more often if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions. This will help ensure your pipes are clear of rust and the risk of clogged drains.

Tip 2: Protect Your Drains

Some of us fall into the habit of washing anything and everything down our sinks.

Grease, coffee grounds, and eggshells can build up over time and create clogs. Be mindful of what you’re putting down your drains, and invest in drain guards to catch any debris before it has a chance to clog your pipes.

A mesh sink strainer is inexpensive to prevent clogged drains, and they’re easy to clean – rinse them off after each use. You can also buy drain guards that fit over your drain and catch any hair or small debris before it has a chance to go down.

Tip 3: Guard Your Toilet

This might sound strange to some, but flushing isn’t a catch-all for everything that goes down your toilet.

Non-flushable items like tampons, sanitary pads, and baby wipes should never be flushed – no matter how bad you want them to disappear. These items can cause major clogs in pipes that are difficult (and costly) to fix.

Instead, dispose of these items in the trash can next to your toilet. And if you have small children in the house, be sure to put a child-proof lock on the cabinet so they can’t get into it and make a mess.

Forbes Home offers an excellent guide if you’re a parent trying to fix a running toilet.

Bonus Tip: Call Us

We at J & E Restoration Pros are proud to offer emergency plumbing services in Gainesville, GA. We’re here to empower homeowners with the knowledge they need to keep their homes in shape. If you’d like to know more about how to protect your property, check out our post on how to spot the early signs of water damage.

Whether you require water restoration or emergency plumbing, we’ll help you create a new beginning after disaster strikes.

Contact us today!