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Protect Sewer Pipe from Tree Roots

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Scott in Montana, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?

    SCOTT: Well, I was wondering – I’ve got a situation where I cut down an elm tree in my backyard and several times in the last several years I’ve had to root out the sewer line going from the house. Now I was out in California and listening to the radio – I’m a long-haul truck driver, so I get all over. And they were talking about a system where you could put it down through your existing sewer line and it would seal the inside of your sewer line against roots.

    TOM: That’s exactly right. It’s a pipe relining technology. And the way this sort of works is you thread a – think of it as a sock that gets inserted into the existing waste pipe and then once it’s inserted it is expanded and then filled with fiberglass and then the fiberglass hardens. And that basically creates a pipe inside of a pipe. It’s a way to line the pipe. And it works very well if you have like the old terracotta waste pipes that are clay and the roots can easily get into them. It can also help if there’s any type of a broken pipe. A lot of the sewer cleaning companies are doing it and the plumbers. I know Roto-Rooter; it’s big for them. I’m sure it’s big for other plumbers. But it’s basically pipe relining as opposed to pipe replacement.

    SCOTT: OK, so it’s not something that a do-it-yourself can do then?

    TOM: No, it’s absolutely not a do-it-yourself project. You have to have the right tools. There’s a lot of equipment involved. It’s pretty cool, though. I’ve seen it done.

    SCOTT: OK, is it – now does that take care of the root problem permanently or …

    TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah, you know why it’ll take …

    SCOTT: … do you still have to dig the roots out?

    TOM: No, no. It will take care of it. Probably the first thing they do is run a camera down there just to see where the trouble spots are.

    SCOTT: Uh-huh.

    TOM: There’s a drain camera that can go through there. But when once this new liner is in place the roots can’t get through it. See the problem with the clay pipes is there’s big open joints and the roots can easily feed through that …

    LESLIE: And force that seam open.

    TOM: Yeah, and there’s plenty of fertilizer in those pipes. They just grow like crazy once they get in there.

    SCOTT: Although (ph) that tree was flourishing (Leslie chuckles) but we had to cut it down because it was just getting too bit …

    TOM: Yep.

    SCOTT: … or too old.

    TOM: Yeah. Now that’ll work for you.

    SCOTT: OK. Well, thank you very much.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Scott. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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