Beautiful big trees add beauty and shade to our homes, however their root systems can cause huge damage to underground stormwater and sewer pipes. Tree roots are one of the most common causes of blocked Sydney drains, and unfortunately most people do not know they have tree roots in their drain pipes, until it is too late. Usually by the time the blockage occurs, they have made a real mess and can cause sewerage to flow back into your home.


Why do tree roots block drains?

Tree roots flourish in drains, because they have the perfect moist atmosphere and the right nutrients for growth. The warm water flowing through the pipes also helps the roots make their way inside. Old pipes that crack allow tree roots to get in, and then they will take over the sewer pipes completely. Over time the roots will hold onto material passing through the pipes including tissue, grease, grit and other nasty substances. Then eventually they will block the entire pipe, which will back up the main sewer line and end up flooding your home, posing a health risk and damage to your property.

The first sign that you have a blockage will be that the water is slow to drain, as well as gurgling noises coming from your toilet and or sink. Once you have these problems you must call a plumber as soon as you can, otherwise the damage can get worse quite quickly.


Options for removing tree roots from blocked drains

1. High pressure jet blasting

Jet blasting will temporarily clear drains for up to 12 months, and will be successful in approximately 90% of cases. Jet blasting uses a high pressured  water blaster which clean the entire length of the pipe. A CCTV camera is also used to detect exactly where the blockage is occurring. This is the quickest and cheapest method available, but it is not a permanent solution. If tree roots have found their way into pipes once, they will always find their way back in, unless the pipe is repaired or replaced. Nevertheless, annual jet-blasting maintenance is a great option due to price and convenience.

2. Pipe relining

This option involves relining your old pipes, which involves inserting a piece of inflatable tubing into the pipe and inflated until it lines the inside of the pipe. The tubing is soaked in epoxy resin that makes sure that the tubing fastens to the pipe. Before the pipe can be relined though, it needs to be assessed using a CCTV drain camera, to make sure that this is the right option for removing the tree roots coming back permanently. If it can be done, then before work commences the pipes will be cleaned using the high pressure jet blaster. Pipe relining will not cause any damage to your property, as we will not have to dig up ground on your property to put new pipes in.


3. Excavate and replace damaged pipes

The third option is to replace the damaged section of pipe where the tree roots are entering. This involves excavation on your property, and is the only option if your pipes have collapsed or are extensively damaged. The old pipes will be replaced with durable PVC pipes which will last a lot longer than the old ceramic or metal pipes.

The cost of replacing the old pipes and excavating your property will depends on where the damage pipe is located, and how many meters of pipe need replacing.  For example, if the pipes are located underneath a grass lawn and its only a few metres it will be a relatively more straightforward job, as opposed to pipes under a driveway that need  replacing and are twenty metres in length.

How to prevent tree roots blocking your drain

If you are a home owner you should be aware of  where the sewer clean-out pipe is located on your property, and avoid planting trees and hedges close to these sewer lines. All trees should be planted at least three metres away from the sewer lines, to try and ensure that roots do not enter into the pipes. If you do have to plant trees in your front or back yards, choose smaller sized trees, that do not have extensive root systems.  If they do start to infringe on the location of the sewer pipes, please remove or replace them to avoid problems starting.

Another common reason why drains can block up is when people put sanitary items and wipes down the toilet, the only thing that should go into the toilet is toilet paper!


If you have tree root drainage problems, please call us today!

4 Elements Plumbing are experts in blocked drains and pipe relining. Call us for a free quote, we have fixed prices for unblocking drains using a jet blaster. All of our plumbers are insured and licensed. Call us on 1300 790 930.