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Tree Roots and Other Ways Nature Messes with Your Plumbing

There’s not much that you can do to prevent mother nature from striking. This is why many legal contracts contain provisions to excuse parties from being liable for damage that can happen because of natural disasters. Nature can wreak havoc on your plumbing system even when your home does not take a direct hit from a storm. Your plumbing can be impacted in subtle ways that can be potentially costly. Here are some things to watch for and what you can do to protect your property.

Tree root infestations

Many people do not think about what the roots of trees can do to sewer lines underground. Sewer lines contain nutrients, water, and oxygen, making them ideal targets for tree roots. When underground pipes and sewer lines are damaged or old, they may develop small leaks that release nutrients and moisture into the soil. This will invite roots to grow towards the source of the nutrients and invade the pipes. Once they have infiltrated the pipes, the roots will continue to grow within the sewer line. Tree root infestations can cause sewage backups, burst pipes, and slow draining problems. Some of the signs that you might be dealing with a tree root invasion include the following:

  • Water draining much slower than in the past

  • Gurgling sounds in your toilets

  • Sewage backups in your yard

  • Foul odors

If you have trees growing near your sewer line, you can take preventative action to prevent tree root infestations. Try pouring copper sulfate down your drains once per month. This can help to keep tree roots at bay so they do not infiltrate your pipes. If you notice some of the symptoms of a tree root infestation, a professional plumber can inspect your sewer lines and complete needed sewer line repairs. Getting help early before the problem grows worse can help to prevent the damage from becoming more extensive and costly.

Shifting ground

Ground shifting can happen after torrential rains or earthquakes. When there are torrential rains, the ground can shift once the earth has absorbed all of the water that it can. Whether from heavy rain or an earthquake, shifting ground can affect the pipes that carry water to and from your home. The ground movement can stress the pipes and cause them to break. This can lead to additional flooding, a shifting of your home’s foundation, and other problems. When there has been a significant storm such as a hurricane or tornado, you should get your plumbing inspected to check to see if any ground shifting has affected your pipes.

Freezing pipes

While Ruston, Louisiana generally enjoys mild winters, the temperatures can still drop below freezing a few times per year. This can cause your pipes to freeze, which can be a big problem. When water freezes inside of your pipes, the water will expand by around 9%. This expansion causes an increase in the pressure inside of your pipes that can cause them to crack or burst. A crack as small as 1/8 of an inch in a pipe can cause up to 250 gallons of water to leak out in a single day, significantly damaging your home.

You can protect against freezing pipes by making sure that they are properly insulated. You should also turn faucets on to a drip at night when the temperatures plummet. If your pipes are frozen and burst, a plumber can help with burst pipe repair to minimize the damage.

Weakened plumbing infrastructure after hurricanes or tornadoes

Louisianans must occasionally contend with the threat of tornadoes and hurricanes. Tornadoes can cause underground pipes to rattle and shake, and the rains from hurricanes can cause the ground to shift as previously described. Even if your home is not struck by a tornado, the storm can damage underground pipes, affecting their integrity.

After a major storm like a tornado or hurricane, make sure to have your plumbing inspected and repaired as quickly as possible. The repairs might be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Even if you do not see visible signs of damage, getting an inspection after a major storm can help you to identify and fix any detected damage before it starts to cause larger problems.

Contact an experienced plumber

For more than 20 years, the plumbing professionals at Mark Johnson Plumbing have provided expert plumbing help to people in Ruston and throughout the surrounding region. If your plumbing has been damaged by natural events, you should act quickly before the damage becomes more extensive. Contact us today for a free quote by calling us at (318) 257-6167.