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How to Prevent Tree Roots in Sewer Lines & Drain Pipes

Learn how to prevent root growth from damaging your plumbing. | SHW Blog

Trees and natural growth provide wonderfully aesthetic benefits to the home, but can also severely damage your property if not carefully plotted.

Select Home Warranty offers coverage to repair or replace major home systems, including plumbing and septic systems. But when it comes to damage caused by roots, coverage unfortunately does not apply. Tree roots, vines and overgrowth are preventable, and homeowners must take the necessary steps to avert this damage.




Do you have questions about your home warranty coverage? Call us today: 860-288-4791

Who is responsible for tree roots in sewer lines?

The owner of the tree is typically responsible for damage caused by root growth.

Are tree roots in sewer lines covered by insurance?

Root damage is not covered by homeowners insurance or home warranty coverage.

How do I get tree roots out of drain pipes?

You may be able to destroy root growth without killing the tree through methods such as rock salt mixtures flushed through your pipes. Note that copper sulfate is commonly recommended, but not safe for septic systems.

How to Prevent Tree Roots in Home Plumbing

Tree roots can be disastrous to a home’s plumbing and septic systems. Removal for tree roots in your sewer line can run up to $600 with additional costs to monitor regrowth. It’s important to prevent this damage in the following five ways.

1. When purchasing a property, consider surveying the vegetation on your property before purchasing. Plan ahead for where exactly new trees could be planted and remove trees early if they appear to be in a damaging location. Ask the previous homeowner about root damage and carefully consider how this has damaged the property in the past.

2. Expect roots to extend as far as the tree is tall. Learn about the expected height of the trees on your property for when they reach full maturity. Here is a quick list of the five most common trees in the United States and their maximum height:

  • Red Maple, up to 60 feet
  • Loblolly Pine, up to 90 feet
  • Sweetgum, up to 75 feet
  • Douglas Fir, up to 70 feet
  • Quaking Aspen, up to 50 feet

3. Know exactly where your septic system and outdoor plumbing lines are located. If trees appear near your septic system, sewer lines, or street access points, be sure to remove them immediately. It is very easy to form sentimental attachments and desire curb appeal, but be aware of the dangers of allowing new growth to occur as it can hurt your property more than help.

4. Consider removing trees that may eventually reach your septic system. The cost to remove a tree varies drastically depending on the size, from as low as $200 to as high as $2,000. It is better to remove a tree preemptively than to wait until it has reached a size to cause damage.

5. Carefully approach neighbors if their trees have caused root damage. Trees typically belong to the owner of the property where they are planted. The landowner is responsible for caring for the tree on their property. Legal help may be required to navigate a situation where a neighbor’s tree has caused root damage to your property. In many cases, the owner of the tree is responsible to pay for damage to your property caused by root overgrowth, but do not cut down their tree. Arborists are qualified professionals who quantify the value of trees, and the owner of the tree could sue you for cutting it down. Expect these costs to be of a greater magnitude than the damage the tree causes to your property, as the age of the tree, health, species, location, fruit-bearing benefits, and more are accounted for in the value of the tree. Arborists appraise trees according to the cost to replace it.

About Select Home Warranty

Since 2012, Select Home Warranty has offered affordable and extensive coverage on home appliances and systems.

We offer coverage on many areas of the home, including line leaks, toilet bowls, flushing mechanisms, angle stops and risers, as well as plumbing stoppages up to 100 feet from the access point. Our septic system coverage includes aerobic pumps, sewage ejectors, jet pumps, and septic tanks.

Get a FREE quote today at no charge and compare plans. Select Home Warranty is here to guard your home and your wallet. Give us call if you have any questions: 860-288-4791