Tree root intrusion into sewer lines is a very common problem for homeowners. Tree roots are always seeking the best source of consistent moisture. This makes them naturally attracted to the virtually limitless wastewater found in a sewer line. Roots tend to most commonly invade the joints and gaps between pipes. These roots not only multiply as they continue to draw moisture from the sewer line, but they also expand. Over time, this leads to the structural decay of the pipe and ultimately a complete collapse. If roots have infiltrated your sewer line, you’ll need a professional plumber to remove them and repair the damage. In this blog post, T-Top Plumbing – Los Angeles and Ventura CA sewer line repair specialists – explain the process of effectively removing tree roots from sewer lines.

A professional plumber will usually use one of two methods to remove tree roots from a sewer line. They’ll either use a mechanical auger (commonly referred to as a “snake”) to cut through the roots or they’ll use a hydro jetter to blast through them.

While chemical methods are available to kill the tree roots, a good plumber will refrain from recommending or using them since they can seriously damage your plumbing system.

Here is how the process typically works.

Sewer Line Video Inspection

First, your plumber will want to perform a video inspection of your sewer line. During this video drain inspection, a camera will be attached to a line will be fed down the pipe. This will let the plumber visually confirm if it’s tree roots or something else creating the clog.

By conducting a sewer camera inspection, the plumber can see firsthand the tree root clog’s density, the material makeup of the pipes, and whether or not the pipes have been damaged or compromised in any other way.

This information helps the plumber decide whether an auger or hydro jetter is the best option to clear out the roots. Also, by gaining insight into the blockage’s exact location, both time and money are saved.

Choosing Between a Mechanical Auger and Hydro Jetter

Machine Auger – A machine auger is a drain-clearing cable machine. It’s fed down your drain to bust up tree roots and pull their pieces out from the drain. Augers are most effective for the removal of thin, less dense tree roots.

Hydro Jetter – A hydro jetter feeds a high-pressure hose down the drain. Via a specialized nozzle, the machine blasts a high-powered stream of water through the tree roots. A hydro jetter machine is most effective for denser tree root clogs. It also more thoroughly cleans piping by removing grease, scale build-up, add other debris much better than a machine auger.

Avoid DIY Tree Root Removal Methods

A Google search will display multiple commercial root killers. Plumbers generally don’t recommend this method. This is because the harsh chemicals in these products may seriously compromise your plumbing and necessitate future repairs.

These damaging root-killing products include:

Foam Root Killers – The chemicals in this root-killing foam will very likely eat away at ABS or PVC pipes.

Crystalline Root Killers – Crystalline root killers tend to corrode metal piping.

Another thing to keep in mind with commercial root killers is the results aren’t immediate. It can take weeks or even several months for tree roots to decompose and clear from your sewer system.

Hire a Pro for Sewer Line Root Removal

It’s understandable that the cost of hiring a professional can sway people towards DIY commercial root killers. But it’s important to note that any money saved using a commercial product right now will be offset when a more expensive repair is needed down the road.

When you choose a professional to remove roots from a drain pipe, you’re ensuring the problem you’re experiencing is properly assessed and diagnosed. The “root” of the problem is visibly observed with the sewer line camera inspection. The exact location of the clog is detected and the best method to resolve the issue and mitigate further damage is confirmed.

If you need to sewer line root removal in Ventura or Los Angeles CA, contact us today by visiting or by calling (805) 527-8867.