When it rains, it pours. We know that all too well in Melbourne with our recent weather of lots of rain, followed by heat and humidity, back to rain, and back to hear again. Our gardens are loving it, however this season here at Butler Plumbing we have experienced an increased frequency of problems with tree roots. If your shower is not draining, your toilets are backing up, or your yard is flooding, it could be tree roots blocking your pipes.

a very long tree root lies on a footpath after being pulled from a drain.

A pipe can become a perfect spot for tree roots to grow uninterrupted, and they can get surprisingly long. Check out our TikTok of a tree root removal. The bad news is that these tree roots can cause extensive damage and result in flooding.

How do tree roots grow inside the drain?

Tree roots are drawn to pipes, especially older ones that they can easily break through. The roots are seeking the water and nutrients inside the pipes. They can enter through small cracks and grow to partially or fully block a drain.  This growth can result in the pipes cracking and if left unchecked can result in significant structural damage.

What makes the problem worse, is that it’s more than just tree roots in your pipe. Things get caught on the roots, like leaves, toilet paper, and anything other thing flushed down your toilet.  Common issues are wipes, sanitary products and we even located a wedding dress one time ( maybe a story for another day).    

What are the signs that I may have issues with tree roots

Tree roots impact two separate drainage systems:  

  • Sewer: Which takes all the waste from your property, both toilet and water waste.
  • Stormwater: Which is what you downpipes run into.

Both can be impacted by tree roots, however you’ll probably notice a blocked sewer quicker – when you flush the toilet and it doesn’t drain. Another sign of blocked sewer is wastes do not drain quickly, there is a strong smell and /or you hear gurgling sounds. With stormwater you may not notice it as easily. But signs could include down pipes not draining, a lot of ground water, and water coming out of overflows.  

What do I do about it?

If you suspect that your drains are blocked, you should look for the signs. If they are present and you cannot remove the blockage yourself, call a plumber immediately. If the water or sewer ends up moving toward your house, you could be dealing with significant flooding and water damage in the future. 

Butler Plumbing can inspect your drain using a drain camera and once the problem is located  clear the blockage with the use of a high pressure water jetting equipment or a mechanical drain cleaner.  Once the cause and the extent of the problem is determined a long term solution can be put in place if required. This could include

  • Repairing and replacing sections of the pipes
  • A regular drain cleaning program to keep roots in check
  • Pipe relining

How to Prevent future Problems

It’s not always possible if the trees are there when you move in. However when considering new plants, work out where your pipes are located and consider the size of the root system prior to any planting.

Be vigilant about what goes down your toilet and avoid flushing products like nappies and cleaning wipes.

Consider a regular maintenance program to have your drains cleared once or twice a year.  

Butler Plumbing Can Help

If you’re experiencing flooding it’s important to contact a professional plumber as soon as possible. Butler Plumbing services Melbourne and surrounding areas and can solve your flooding problems. To get in touch, give us a call on 03 9416 1726 or to book in click here.