If you own a house with trees on your property you should already have worries about this problem.
Most of the time we like to say for smaller trees the root base can be up to 150' and for larger trees up to 300" from the base.
Trees find the easiest way to get nourishment from any water source, and drains are a good one.
There is really no way that works 100% to keep the roots out and most of the time when it comes to it finally blocking a drain, the only way to repair it fully is to dig it up and replace it.
Draincom representative took a call about a blocked drain.
One of Draincom plumbers came to the customer's place. Here is the full story spoken by our plumber:
I arrived at the job and was taken to the basement immediately. It was indeed backed up and had accumulated almost 6" in the basement. I told them to stop using water of any kind and started my way to look for drain access.
I found a stack with a 4" cleanout and opened it up to see how badly it was backed up. There was pressure build up as there was standing water on the floor above, so the cap just blew out of my hands and it drained into the basement as well.
I went and got my large drain machine and camera for when I had cleared it enough to get rid of the water. I set my stands up, as running an electrical device in water is a bad idea, and got to work.
I had around 75' of cable in the drain and it seemed to start flowing out, but very slowly. When I snake a drain, I like the back and fourth motion.
It allows me to clean the drain and to get as much debris as possible from inside. As I did this it seemed that the flow was increasing down the drain line as I was removing more and more from the pipe.
I pulled out the cable, which is roughly ?' in diameter, and at the end it was 6" around and approx. 36" long!!!! It was completely covered in roots and debris. This is a really bad sign because with root penetrations like this it can destroy the side wall of a pipe completely.
I cleaned up my cables and got them back to my truck and prepared the camera to go down. I called the customer to watch as I put the camera in and I decided that it was better to get a recording than not.
The pipe was 6" in diameter, which is not normal but acceptable, and the first few feet seemed to be in great shape. This however did not last because at the 50' mark is when we started to see penetrations and roots.
It was pretty minor until around the 80' mark and then it was totally blocked save for the small hole that my snake had punched into the bottom. This was certainly a dig job for sure and the customer was amazed at just how dense the roots were.
I went and marked out the lawn with my camera, as it has a locate sensor in the head, to prepare for the impending dig job. The lines were around 12' deep and I knew the crew would not really be happy the next day.
Our Draincom plumbers team arrived in the morning and the customer wanted to be around during the job and because of the footage, over100' being changed, he was only able to get one day off to watch.
It did indeed take us 2 days to complete the work with the permits and inspections, but in the end the customer was very happy with everything completed.
The cause of the issues were 2 very large oak trees at the very front of the property, no further than 20' away from the drains.
If you suspect that a blockage is because of roots from a tree you are most likely correct. Many people do not have problems because of previous owners of a home will normally have this done prior to selling a house.
This is a big thing most people do not consider. Before you purchase an older home have a camera put in the drain. This is something that a home inspector cannot see and for a small investment now may save you thousands in the future.