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What are the main causes of blocked drains?

Today’s post is a simple one.

Amazingly, 83% of all blocked drains in Australia are caused by tree roots!

Cooking fats, oils and grease, human and pet hair, sanitary products, facial tissues and napkins used instead of toilet paper, dental floss and broken or collapsed pipes make up the other 17% of blocked drains.

If you have persistent problems with your sewer pipes caused by tree roots then this simple instruction found in the “head” or toilet of an ocean racing yacht, makes a lot of sense to me. I’m sure the yacht owners won’t mind if you put a similar sign in your troubled bathroom.

Tree Root Removal From Pipes Without Using Chemicals

There are two surefire ways to remove tree roots from pipes and protect plumbing from further tree root intrusion. One: dig up the pipes, cut out the section that hold the roots, and replace the plumbing with new, root resistant pipes. And two: completely remove all plants that could grow into plumbing.

Unfortunately, these options are all but infeasible to the average home or business owner. This system of tree root removal is expensive, and in some cases, impossible.

On top of those drawbacks, cutting the roots can actually make the trees (and roots) grow faster. Add to that the fact that replacing sections of pipes weakens plumbing, which raises the chance that tree roots will find their way back into pipes. This method of removal could make the situation ten times worse!

Some plumbers recommend this removal method for emergency situations only.

Alternative methods might be just as ineffective. Pipes can be relined with cement or mortar, which seals the pipes and kills invasive roots. But, cement often cracks when the surrounding ground shifts and the compromised pipes become a welcome mat for nearby tree root systems.

Other, interesting, non-chemical solutions exist. One method creates a new pipe inside existing plumbing, rerouting water through the new pipe and killing the roots that live in the pipes. Plumbers feed a cloth-like, collapsed pipe down the plumbing system and then fill the pipe with cold water which expands the pipe and activates chemicals that harden the cloth. Voila! A new pipe inside your old pipe.

Another method does the exact opposite. A new PVC liner is placed around the existing damaged pipe, cutting off root access to the old pipes and forming a new plumbing system.

Inside and outer pipe replacement is often more cost effective than substitution of pipe sections, but there are many chemical alternatives that are cheaper, easier and longer lasting, including Vaporooter.