Tree Roots in Pipes – Why A Hot Summer Spells Trouble
Sydney homeowners in leafy suburbs need to check their plumbing this summer! If you have trees near your house, there are various ways this could put your house at risk. And when the summer season is a scorcher like this one, the likelihood of tree roots in pipes rises with the temperature.
Trees are thirsty! Their roots are always in search of water and nutrients – and the underground pipes that carry wastewater away from your home are full of both. So that one healthy tree among the dry might just be a parasite – causing you (or even your neighbours) serious plumbing issues.
Tips from the expert: After spending 20 years in the Sydney Plumbing business, I know that plumbing problems can go unnoticed. So let me help you out! Look out for slow or gurgling drains, foul odours, backed-up toilets, sinkholes or vibrant green grass patches. Take any signs seriously. And if you do notice one, get it checked, because even if it isn’t a tree root blockage, it might be something else. I’ll get to the “root” of the problem!
How do tree roots put my plumbing at risk during hot dry summers?
There are two main ways tree roots risk the integrity of your plumbing in summer, particularly in extremely dry conditions.
Tree roots in pipes
The slightest crack or leak is like a red flag to thirsty tree roots. They’ll put a vast amount of energy into growing towards and invading any space that holds moisture in arid conditions. Once infiltrated, tree roots can cause blockages within underground pipes, and in some cases, cause cracks and significant damage.
North Sydney has two main soils – sandy soil and clay soil. Some properties have a combination of both. When the weather is particularly dry, tree roots act like vampires and suck the moisture out of the surrounding soil to survive, especially clay or combination soil. When clay soil dries out excessively, like model clay, it hardens and contracts. Consequently, older, more fragile pipes can be damaged and leak.
Tree roots in pipes – who is responsible?
Tree roots in pipes can cause homeowners a whole lot of plumbing woes. But what if the offending tree causing damage to your pipes isn’t actually on your property? Who is responsible?
As a general guide, the owner of the land the tree is growing on is liable for any damage caused. Further, if the tree is on the border of two properties, it can be jointly owned.
And what about council trees? For the council to accept liability, you would need to show that you had notified the council PRIOR to the damage being done and prove that they failed to act on the notification.
In most cases, you need to show that the tree root damaged the pipes, not that the root simply entered an already damaged pipe.
Liability disputes are not uncommon and rules can vary in different states and territories, so it’s important to get specific advice about your situation.
How to prevent tree roots in pipes
Avoid costly bills and arguments with neighbours and local councils! Regular maintenance of your plumbing can detect possible issues before they lead to blockages or burst pipes. Choose a plumber with state-of-the-art equipment including CCTV Drain Inspection. This gives the most accurate assessment of the condition of your pipes and whether they’re susceptible to blockage or damage caused by tree roots.
Think tree roots have already compromised your plumbing? If you notice bad smells, slow-draining water, or suspiciously healthy trees in the yard, don’t ignore it! Get in touch with Gladesville Plumbing for a thorough assessment.