Fixing my leaking shower

Why Your Underground Utility Pipes May Be under Constant Threat

by Andy Butler

As a tree grows, it requires more water and will use its root structure to search far and wide for its needs. Of course, this may present a challenge when drought conditions pervade, and the water table below ground may be out of reach. So it may not be surprising to hear that pervasive tree roots can often cause issues with any underwater piping, as the roots in question seek out that sustenance. Therefore, could hidden tree roots be the cause of your current plumbing issues?

Underground Targets

To provide service to your property, you will typically have pipes coming in and drains going out, connecting the public utility. All of those underwater pipes carry liquids and may also have condensation on the outside. As the tree roots sense the presence of moisture, they'll be particularly interested in any joints or connections. If there is any weakness, the roots will eventually penetrate the pipe and gain access to the moisture.

The Repercussions

Should this happen to an incoming water pipe, you may turn on the tap, and nothing happens. Should the roots penetrate an outgoing sewer pipe, they may cause a significant blockage and a backup into your property.

To the Rescue

Of course, all of this goes on out of sight and well below ground, so it can be difficult to know what to do next. Thankfully, plumbers have the answer in the shape of special tools and the latest technology designed to locate and potentially fix a problem as simply as possible.

Miniature Camera

For example, the plumber will send a tiny camera on the end of a flexible cable into the pipe from aboveground. This camera will send signals back to a computer on the surface and give the technician a very precise location. They'll also be able to see what's going on so they can plan how to fix it and, if need be, pinpoint where to dig to access the problem area.

Rotary Saw

Some plumbers will also have a rotary saw tool that they can also feed down the pipe from above. When activated, this can grind away any unwanted roots from within the pipe, and the residue will be flushed down through the system.

Getting Back to Normal

Trees will be particularly interested in your underground utility pipes when the weather is dry and moisture is scarce. Thankfully, you can always rely on your local plumber to put matters right and restore your normal service.

For more information on blocked drains, contact a professional near you.