It's one thing for tree roots to grow down into the sewer drains in your yard. It's another thing entirely for roots to sprout up from beneath your house's groundwork to invade your toilet. While it seems unlikely, this problem is more common than you may think. If your house is on a slab foundation, roots can spread along the base of the slab and creep up right where the toilet drain is, then grow down into the drain pipe, causing all kinds of problems. Here are signs to watch out for roots in drain lines.
Recurring Toilets Stoppages
Although it's the most common first sign, toilet stopping up isn't a definite sign of a root problem. It is the first symptom. Usually, the toilet can be easily cleared using a plunger. With a low-flush toilet, an occasional stoppage is not unlikely, but if it happens frequently, it is a sign of a problem.
If the stoppages become frequent and persistent, it is likely that you are dealing with a root in the drain problem. At times, the toilet will eventually block in a way that a plunger cannot clear. Watch out for a recurring or deteriorating problem.
A localised drain problem
This is rather easy to diagnose. At the time your toilet is clogged up, ensure other plumbing fixtures are draining. If they are also blocked up, then it's likely you have a main drain line blockage — not a root problem. It can be unclogged at the clean out. However, if only one toilet is affected by the stoppage, chances are that roots in the toilet drain are the cause.
How to verify that you have roots under your toilet
If you are unsure of what is causing your toilet to clog, you can always use an auger to confirm. Extend the toilet auger to the 6-ft mark. Often it can reach the tree roots and pull back some of the roots. Inspect your auger and toilet bowl for some roots.
Removing Roots in the Drain
To access the toilet drain and see the roots beneath, you will require to pull the toilet up. After that, cut off all the roots and get rid of any that may have crept up the drain.
• Use a utility knife, or a pair of clippers cut all roots as far back as you can.
• Pull out the roots if they have grown into the drain pipes. A drain machine can be helpful. Keep running the machine until there are no more roots around the flange and the drain is all clear.
• Apply some root killer or rock salt between the slab and the drain pipe. This should prevent or stunt growth of other roots for many years. Ensure that you emphasise on areas where the tree roots originally grew up from.
• Reinstall your toilet with a fresh wax seal. Use shims to level your toilet, bolt it down, plug in the water pipe, and put new caulking all around the toilet base.
Hire a professional from a place like P1 Plumbing & Electrical for more direction and information.