(Excerpt from the Newsletter by Carson Dunlop. For full version, please click on the picture)
Trees: A Thing of Beauty or a Liability?
For many, especially those living in urban areas where green space is limited, having a tree in the front yard is considered a benefit - even a luxury. They provide shade in the summer and picturesque foliage in the fall. The only downside homeowners typically associate with trees is the amount of raking their leaves require. Few consider the damaging effect trees, more specifically their roots, can have on their property. As Greg Leger of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drains Service explains, "When we receive a call regarding a 'clogged' or 'blocked' drain line, the problem is usually caused by tree roots."
Learn more about the primary cause of drainage issues in homes, and what preventative steps homeowners can take, from our Specialty Services and Homeowner's Association partner: Roto-Rooter.
Carson Dunlop (CD): What is the most common problem your technicians encounter?
Roto-Rooter (RR): "Tree roots are the most common problem. If a drain line is found to be collapsed, often times it is due to roots having constricted and subsequently busted the drain line. Blockages of paper often get caught on very fine roots that have grown through a small opening or a shift in the drain pipes and create a back-up."
Caron Dunlop: What are warning signs homeowners can look for that indicate blocked pipes?
Roto-Rooter: "Some signs of blocked pipes may include but aren't limited to:
- Basement fixtures (for example toilets, showers, laundry tubs, etc.) taking a long time to drain
- Musty smells coming from floor drains
- Small pools or puddles of water around floor drains
- Sewage or stormwater in the basement
- Roots actually coming up from the floor drain - this is more common than many might think"
Carson Dunlop: What is the average cost to fix a tree root induced draining issue; is it less expensive if caught early?
Roto-Rotter: "If caught early enough, snaking will usually still be a viable option. In many cases, roots are not too invasive - snaking the drain line annually can help ensure it remains clear of obstructions, until the point where the roots become thicker and end up collapsing the drain. With tree roots it is always the same end result: the roots will get in and the drain line will need to be repaired. Snaking and camera inspections are typically a few hundred dollars. More in-depth remediation tactics, such as excavation, can be upwards of several thousand dollars."
Carson Dunlop: Who has to pay for remediation - When is it the homeowner's responsibility compared with the municipality's responsibility?
Roto-Rotter: "Every neighborhood and city is different. It's important to know what applies in your area. In the city of Toronto, the homeowner is responsible for all of their underground drains from the inside of their home to the city property line; look for the water shut-off, this usually offers a guide as to where the property line is. However, in Durham region, three feet past the most outward portion of the home is the city's responsibility. In Barrie, the homeowner is responsible for the entire drain line from inside their home all the way to the city connection, which is commonly found in the center of the road. Not only that, the homeowner is also responsible for the backfilling, compaction and repaving of the city roadway."