how do tree roots get into pipes

Why are roots a plumbing problem?

Question: Why are tree roots a plumbing problem? How do tree roots grow into pipes?

Answer: Tree roots are a plumbing issue in Charlotte because of the terrain. When it rains, the water often doesn’t reach the roots of the trees because of the amount of rock and clay present in the soil. This is especially true when we have short, intense rainfall. Instead of soaking into the earth where the roots can reach it, much of the water runs off without permeating the soil. This leaves tree roots desperately seeking water.

Pipes—even sewer lines—transport the water those tree roots are seeking. That means tree roots can sense even tiny cracks or breakages in the pipes, and they grow towards that source of moisture, even if it is very little. Tree roots find even small pinhole cracks in a pipe, and once they find a crack, the root will forcibly insert itself in the pipe.

Once inside a pipe, the tree roots will grow into the pipe, filling it completely. Tree roots are very powerful, and once inside, the tree roots will either clog up or break open the pipe. This causes problems with both water mains and sewer lines.

tree roots grow into sewer lines and clog them

Look at this huge tree root that had grown into a sewer line!

What You Can Do

It's hard to prevent tree roots from growing into your pipes, but once you suspect you might have a problem with this, it's important to get a plumber out to fix it before you have a major repiping job on your hand. As you can see, some of the tree roots we've pulled out of pipes here in Charlotte are pretty massive; a tree root invasion of this level can tear up your pipes pretty bad. Fortunately, we have experience removing tree roots and fixing the affected piping.

Keep an eye on your water bill; a water bill spike is indicative of a hidden leak and will alert you to a leak problem before the roots find that crack and worm their way into the pipes.