For many, especially those living in urban areas where green space is limited, having a tree in the front yard is considered a benefit - even a luxury. They provide shade in the summer and picturesque foliage in the fall. The only downside homeowners typically associate with trees is the amount of raking their leaves require. Few consider the damaging effect trees, more specifically their roots, can have on their property. As Greg Leger of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drains Service explains, "When we receive a call regarding a 'clogged' or 'blocked' drain line, the problem is usually caused by tree roots."
Learn more about the primary cause of drainage issues in homes, and what preventative steps homeowners can take, from our Specialty Services and Homeowner's Association partner: Roto-Rooter.
Carson Dunlop (CD): What is the most common problem your technicians encounter?
Roto-Rooter (RR): "Tree roots are the most common problem. If a drain line is found to be collapsed, often times it is due to roots having constricted and subsequently busted the drain line. Blockages of paper often get caught on very fine roots that have grown through a small opening or a shift in the drain pipes and create a back-up."
CD: What are warning signs homeowners can look for that indicate blocked pipes?
RR:"Some signs of blocked pipes may include but aren't limited to:
Basement fixtures (for example toilets, showers, laundry tubs, etc.) taking a long time to drain
Musty smells coming from floor drains
Small pools or puddles of water around floor drains
Sewage or stormwater in the basement
Roots actually coming up from the floor drain - this is more common than many might think"
CD: What is the average cost to fix a tree root induced draining issue; is it less expensive if caught early?
RR:"If caught early enough, snaking will usually still be a viable option. In many cases, roots are not too invasive - snaking the drain line annually can help ensure it remains clear of obstructions, until the point where the roots become thicker and end up collapsing the drain. With tree roots it is always the same end result: the roots will get in and the drain line will need to be repaired. Snaking and camera inspections are typically a few hundred dollars. More in-depth remediation tactics, such as excavation, can be upwards of several thousand dollars."
CD: Who has to pay for remediation - When is it the homeowner's responsibility compared with the municipality's responsibility?
RR: "Every neighborhood and city is different. It's important to know what applies in your area.
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