Stop Root Growth Near Your Plumbing Before It's Too Late
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Stop Root Growth Near Your Plumbing Before It’s Too Late


Tree and shrubbery root growth happens fast in the Portland area’s rainy climate and when that root growth is near your plumbing, it can cause leaks, blockages, and other issues that call for expensive repairs. A little forethought can help you keep your lines clear.

Find your lines — To protect your sewer lines, you need to know where they are. You can find your lines by calling the Oregon Utility Notification Center’s “Call Before You Dig” number or by using the online form. A professional plumber can also give you a plan of your sewer line’s location.

Block the roots — Creating a physical or chemical barrier around your sewer lines helps keep roots out. You can divert roots by burying wood, metal or plastic barriers along the sewer line or applying a layer of root-inhibiting chemicals such as sulfur or zinc.

Commercial clog prevention products designed to be flushed down the toilet are another option. Alternatively, a professional plumber can apply a combination of metam-sodium, which kills roots, and dichlobenil, which inhibits root growth.

Landscape with care — Plant trees and shrubs at least 10 feet from the sewer lines. Choose slow-growing species with small root balls. Read up on the species’ root growth habits before you plant it. Some good selections for Western Oregon are:

  • Japanese maple
  • Kousa and flowering dogwood
  • Crabapple
  • Serviceberry

Upgrade your lines — Leaky sewer lines pose a health hazard and are more susceptible to root damage. When possible, replace older and damaged lines with continuous unplasticised (UPVC) pipes, which is nearly impervious to tree roots. Pipe bursting technology makes it possible to replace your sewer lines without digging up your lawn.

Staying alert for the signs of root damage will help you catch problems early. If you’ve noticed slow-flowing drains or frequent clogs, or your pipes or toilet have been emitting gurgling noises, call a plumber to have your pipes inspected.

If you need a little help keeping your plumbing, furnace, air conditioner or other home comfort equipment in top form, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling in Portland and the surrounding area.

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