Why do a plumbing heating and air conditioning company have a tree roots page on their
Tree root intrusion in sewer lines is a very common problem in southern California. To
understand why we must first understand a few things:
All the plumbing drain lines inside your home are connected and exit the home in one pipe. The piping materials inside or under the home are usually made of ABS schedule 40 plastic piping or cast-iron metal piping. Approximately 3’ to 5’ outside the house, the main sewer drain line changes materials from cast iron into a vitrified clay pipe. Although clay sewer piping is very thick and does not easily rot or corrode, it does have other problems CRACKING! Along with clay sewer pipe cracking the other problems experienced is in how the pipe is connected. Clay sewer pipe comes in 4’ and 6’ lengths with a plain end referred to as a spigot. The other end has an open-end referred to as a bell. The common method for connecting the sections of piping is done by inserting the spigot end into the bell end and sealing with concrete or cement. Over time the concrete or cement will start to deteriorate and fall out allowing the sewer connection to start leaking.
Southern California has very little rainfall so tree roots are looking for water and since we use our sewer system daily, they will eventually find a constant source with built-in fertilizer! The other problem we face with tree roots and clay sewer pipe is when the home was built. City plumbing inspectors require the entire sewer and drain system to be tested for leaks by filling with water. To accomplish this, a test wye fitting is installed at the where the city sewer line meets the building sewer line. A rubber plug is inserted into the pipe at the test wye and the building sewer is filled and checked for leaks. When finished the rubber plug is removed and the water flows into the city sewer. The problem arises on how the test wye is sealed. Most times it is just filled with concrete which we know overtime cracks and leaks, combine this with the fact that a lot of cities planted trees in the strip of grass between the curb and sidewalk (right where the test wye is buried) it is no wonder that most sewer line root intrusions occur at this point.
If you are experiencing this root intrusion problem at the city connection, we recommend
calling your city and asking if they have a program to clean maintain the root problem.
We recommend having a properly sized ground level cleanout installed, then running a cable sewer machine with a proper sized cutting blade, then use a high-pressure water jetter to thoroughly remove the roots. This should then be followed up with a foaming root destroyer maintenance program to keep the roots from returning. Call us today for more information.