Roots in the drain

Old 03-15-07, 11:24 AM
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Unhappy Roots in the drain

We had a plumber come out today because our kitchen sink and washing machine drain were backing up. When he get his industrial strenght auger out and cleaned out the drains, he said he pulled out a bunch of roots (I don't know what a bunch husband was home, I wasn't there).

How serious is this? does that mean that there is a hole in the drain and the water is just leaking into the ground? Do we need to call someone out to find where the roots are and figure out which tree and kill the tree?

I've seen online some things you can pour down the drains to kill roots (some type of crystals). If we do that, is that considered 'fixed'???

I'm just scared this is going to be a HUGE, pricey project??? Any help would be much appreciated..

Oh, and if it matters, the house was built in 1968 and the pipes are all metal.
Old 03-15-07, 04:24 PM
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I think the crystals are silver nitrate or something like that. Anyway....

Chances are that once this has struck, now you will be in for this once a year.

The school is out, with me, considereing if the treatment works, as one time I thought it did and another time, it didn't, etc...many times.

He maybe got out a big handful worth off his cutter head and they often creep right up the auger once cut by the cutterhead knives. The roots are as fine as human hairs or corn silk. They burrow underground searching for water like you would envision an octupus's arms doing or an elephant's trunk. They will entire the smallest crack or joint. In theory, you coud have them way out by the street where your line dumps into the city main.

You could test to see about where the backup is by letting the water drain, say overnight. Then the next day you could run the water in the house full blast and wait for it to start surfacing at a basement floor drain. You then could do the math on a 4 inch I.D. pipe by figuring out how many gallons are in the pipe by using the formula 2-squared times 3.14 (pi) =...then times 1 foot(12 inches) in length = ...oh heck, I wil just do it. 150.7 cubic inches is the answer. That is .65 gallons. So, .65 gallons of water for every foot of sewer line. Go to your water meter before and after you run the water til it surfaces and see how many gallons of water was used before it surfaced at the floor drain. If your meter is in cubic feet, the conversion to gallons wil be close enough if you figure about 7.5 gallons per cubic foot.

A test like this will only be reasonable accurate if your tree roots are blocking your flow about 95 or worse percent plugged.

Do you have just one particular tree that you think could be the cause, and is it a nice tree you hate to lose? Is the tree worth possibly $100 to you a year (or whatever they charge to clear drains by you)? Or you could keep dumping lots of root killer down the drain for the next year to see if that buys you longer than one year. They also sell foaming root killer but it is very expensive, and I wonder how far out the roam will foam to.
Old 03-15-07, 06:12 PM
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You've probably got crock drains under your house leading to the main sewer at the street. These are common for allowing roots to sneak in at the joints.

You can try the crystals and see if they help. I used Root Destroy twice a year in my old rental and it worked like a charm. If I failed to use it I would be augering out the drain in the dead of winter. I have known people that have used it with no luck at all.

Your best option of course is to have a plumber run a camera down your lines to evaluate them and go from there.
Old 03-17-07, 06:04 AM
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Copper Sulphate is the magic chemical.

Once roots are in a drain you have an ongoing problem. Yes, this can run into lots and lots of money, or hardly anything at all. You need to have someone run a camera through your drain so you can see how much damage there is.

It may be just one bad joint under 3 feet of dirt in an open area, this would be good. It can be under the middle of a double concrete driveway, this would be bad. It could be it the street, this would be very bad.

Call around to get some prices for running a camera and bug for locating root problems. It'll probably run you under $300 without know where you live.

When you have the problem located, come back and talk to us. You, actually your husband, may be able to fix this and people will be more than happy to help out with advice.

Good luck with this....

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