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Avoid The Strain of Drain Pain

Sep 5, 2008
Tree roots can be a problem - even if the tree is not in your yard you may still experience the results of having the roots in your property.

Tree roots can cause damage in more than one way: physical expansion of roots can shift paving stones and crack walls etc. Also the tree can remove moisture content from the soil which could lead to subsidence.

Another fear for home owners - and perhaps the most common one - is the 'tree root and drains' problem. Tree roots are naturally drawn to the drains in our soil because roots forage for water.

When warm water passes along our pipes, it causes vapor to escape to the colder soil that surrounds the pipe. If there are any cracks or loose joints in your pipe work, the tree roots will grow into it.

One of the common factors that draw them to the pipes is the accumulation of fats, grit, oil and grease that will be stuck to the pipe. Tree roots are always looking for nutrients and water.

Once the root has access to the interior of your pipe, with all its oxygen and nutrients, it will spread and grow out smaller roots. These make good 'road blocks' for little pieces of tissue, debris or grease that is rushing down the pipe.

The roots will continue to grow and will eventually crack the pipes by their natural expansion. One of the first tell tale signs is said to be a gurgling sound from your bath or toilet. If you hear this new sound, you may want to contact a plumber.

These days, many plumbers offer a service that videotapes the inside of your pipes so ensure that the plumber you book offers this service. The videotaping will locate where and if there is damage.

Plumbing contractors have the equipment for removing blockages from your pipes. However, you must take precautions to stop the roots from doing the same thing all over again.

There are several methods that will deter root growth. One of these methods is to use chemical root inhibitors. Copper sulphate is also widely used to kill roots; if the damage is severe, it may be necessary to either line or replace the sewage pipe.

An old country remedy for unblocking drains is to allow a huge mound of rock salt to slowly dissolve into your pipes. Roots cannot live on rock salt and this concentration apparently kills them. Old timers do this about four times a year rather than removing their trees.

As rock salt is an extremely cheap commodity it may be worth a try. Most advocates of this 'cure' just dump their lump of rock salt in the bath tub and leave it for a whole day to dissolve and drain.

Pre 1980s homes may be more susceptible to this type of problem as many were still being built with clay pipes. The modern day PVC piping is less troublesome, due to less joins in the pipes.

Regular cleaning of your pipes by a sewage system maintenance contractor will have the same results as any other regular household maintenance. Namely, any problem that you may encounter will be caught at the beginning and dealt with at the lower end of the repairs price range.
About the Author
Carolyn Capalbo is an expert military relocation specialist and real estate agent serving Northern Virginia real estate. Visit Just4Real.com to find updated market information about areas in Prince William, including Bristow VA real estate.
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