LESLIE: Roberta in Minnesota, welcome to The Money Pit. What’s going on at your house?ROBERTA: Well, I have a sanitary sewer and I was just wondering instead of using harsh chemicals to clean it out, like with the tree roots and stuff, what can I use?
TOM: Do you know, Roberta, that you do have tree roots in those pipes?
ROBERTA: Years ago there were.
ROBERTA: I’ve got a maple tree out in the front yard.
TOM: And so do you suspect that there still is or you just want to do something preventatively?
TOM: Well, you don’t want to use chemicals for that either. What you would want to do is snake it out. That’s something that a professional could do for you – like, you know, Roto-Rooter or something of that nature – because you can’t put enough chemicals in that pipe to kill those roots, believe me. It’s a mechanical repair. You have to run a snake down there and it grabs the roots and it pulls it out.
Now, if you’re just concerned about whether the pipe is in good shape or not, another thing that could be done is a camera inspection and a lot of these plumbers are fully equipped today to run camera lines down those pipes and they can actually see the inside of it and if it turns out that you need any kind of a repair there is also a way to kind of repair it from the inside out without even digging it up. So the technology has gotten a lot smarter for examining, maintaining and repairing those sewer lines as they go from the house to the street.
ROBERTA: So there’s nothing to put in there to get rid of like the toilet paper and stuff that’s in there.
TOM: No, that would not be something I would recommend. And in fact, if you don’t have a problem with it I wouldn’t mess with it.
ROBERTA: OK, thank you.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.