There are many reasons why you might need Houston plumbing repairs for your home. One incredibly common issue is pipe damage from tree roots. Many people don’t know just how common tree root damage is for their plumbing, with many being caught by surprise when it happens. In this blog, we’ll discuss pipe damage from tree roots, including types of damage, signs of damage, as well as trees and shrubs that may be worse for your plumbing.
Why You Might Need Houston Plumbing Repairs for Tree Damage to Your Plumbing
When landscaping your yard, you probably don’t think too much about your plumbing. Yet, this can be a huge mistake, as tree and shrub roots often cause damage to pipes. Roots can damage underground pipes for both potable water and sewage. If this occurs, you will need Houston plumbing repairs from an experienced plumber. Here are two ways roots can damage your home’s plumbing system:
Houston Plumbing Repairs for Sewer Lines
One common root-related type of damage to your plumbing system is broken sewer lines. Sewer lines run from all the drains in your home to the main sewer line under your home. This main line runs underground through your yard to connect either to the city’s sewer main or to a septic tank on your property.
Unfortunately, tree roots can cause issues for these sewer lines. One thing we see frequently is where there is a small crack in the sewer line that attracts nearby tree roots. Sewage contains a lot of things that trees need to grow, such as oxygen, water, and nutrients from waste, sort of like using manure in your garden. Trees are naturally drawn to such things and may grow toward the pipe, eventually infiltrating and breaking the pipe.
However, keep in mind that tree roots can damage even intact sewer lines. Tree roots typically grow and expand throughout the life of the tree, which might cause damage to any nearby pipes. Roots don’t typically don’t have the courtesy of simply growing around your plumbing, so they may end up causing breaks by simply growing normally as well.
Whatever the case, damaged sewer lines from tree roots will need Houston plumbing repairs. Not only will we need to repair the break to prevent issues with your plumbing system and yard, but it may also be necessary to prune the roots or look at other options for your tree as well. Simply replacing the pipe likely won’t fix the issue, as the roots may break the new pipe as well.
Houston Plumbing Repairs for Water Lines
Of course, sewer lines aren’t the only type of plumbing that may run underneath your yard. You also have a main water line that connects your home to the municipal water supply line. This pipe is under constant pressure and filled with potable water for drinking, washing, and bathing. It’s what supplies water to every faucet, toilet, and appliance in your home.
These lines have water, which, as you know, is essential for trees to grow. Like a cracked sewer line, tree roots may be attracted toward fresh water supply lines if there is a slight leak in the line. Trees and shrubs are always looking for moisture so they can keep growing. That means even pinholes in the main water line to your home may attract tree roots that can eventually grow into and break the line.
Additionally, just like with sewer lines, the water line may be in perfect condition and still end up damaged by tree roots that grow naturally. If a water line is too close to a tree, then there’s a good chance the roots will eventually damage the pipe through normal growth.
In either situation, this can create some pretty catastrophic issues for your plumbing system and property. Therefore, you’ll need to call a Houston residential plumber as soon as possible to repair the damage. Once again, you may need to do a little tree root pruning or even tree removal or relocation to prevent the issue from happening again after we repair the pipe.
Types of Trees that May Increase the Risk for Root Damage
Practically any type of tree or shrub can cause root damage to your plumbing if placed too close to the underground pipes. Roots tend to grow deep and spread out to get enough water and nutrients from the soil to grow. As a basic rule, any shrub or tree can have roots that spread out as much as the maximum height of the tree. For example, if the maximum height of a tree is 60 feet, then the roots can also grow outward about 60 feet. That’s why it’s often recommended to get your plumbing and other utility lines mapped out before doing any landscaping work. This way, you know where you can plant trees and shrubs to reduce the risk of damage to water lines, sewer lines, gas lines, as well as things like electrical lines underground.
However, it is important to note that some types of trees and shrubs may be more likely to cause damage to your plumbing than others. Here are some types of trees and shrubs commonly associated with Houston plumbing repairs for root-related pipe damage:
Tree Species with Potentially Damaging Roots
- Willows: Willows require really moist, nutrient-dense soil to grow properly. This means they may be more prone to growing toward water and sewer lines on your property.
- Magnolias: Magnolias are large trees with massive root systems. Because the roots spread out and grow so much, they might run into your plumbing lines.
- Poplars: Poplar tree roots can often grow two to three times the maximum height of the tree, which may also increase the risk of plumbing damage.
- Oaks: Oak trees are super popular, but keep in mind that their roots are also pretty large. These trees typically have what is called a tap root that goes really deep into the ground as well as shallower roots that are large and spread out quite wide. This may also lead to root-related damage that requires Houston plumbing repairs.
Shrubs and Bushes that May Damage Pipes
Shrubs and bushes may also cause root damage. Here are some shrub species commonly associated with root damage to plumbing:
- Boxwood: Boxwood shrubs grow large roots that spread out widely. Like trees with similar root characteristics, these shrubs may lead to damage to your pipes.
- Holly Bushes: Similar to willow trees, holly shrubs and bushes crave moisture and nutrients, which may lead to them growing toward sewer and water lines.
- Ivy: Ivy grows quickly, planting roots that supply water and nutrients the entire length of the plant. Because they grow so quickly, it can be difficult to keep up with maintenance and pruning the roots, which may lead to damage to your plumbing.
Signs You Need Houston Plumbing Repairs for Tree Root Pipe Damage
If you think you have pipe damage from tree or shrub roots, call your Houston emergency plumber straight away. These issues can cause major damage to your home if you don’t address them quickly. Not sure what to look for? Here are some signs you might have root damage to your water or sewer line:
- Soft spots in your yard
- Flooding in your yard
- Unusually green or lush patches of lawn
- Sudden drops in water pressure
- Foul odors from your yard or home
- Sewage backups
- Gurgling drains and toilets
- Suddenly high water bills
- Unexplained drain clogs throughout your home
Any of these can indicate a break in the water or sewer lines for your home, potentially due to tree root damage. To avoid further issues and more damage to your home and plumbing system, call our experts for Houston plumbing repairs if you notice any of these issues.
Choose Santhoff as Your Houston Residential Plumber
For trusted plumbing service, choose our team at Santhoff Plumbing Company. We are a local, family owned company providing total plumbing services to homeowners and business owners throughout the Greater Houston area. We are proud to offer top notch quality plumbing repairs, maintenance, and installation. Get in touch now to request service or call our emergency line at (281) 759-5000 for 24/7 service.