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I don’t want to live like this.

You could hear the fear in her voice!
“Sonia” from Bronte asked, What does your Vaporooter Guarantee actually mean?

Sonia lives on the first floor of a 8 storey block of home units.
“About every 3 months we get a blocked drain caused by tree roots in the pipes under our building”

“Depending on the type of tree, that’s not unusual” I said.

“You don’t understand” she said as her throat began to tighten
“When we get a blockage, all the sewer and waste water flushed by the residents on the 7 floors above, hits the blockage in the carpark and backs up through the floor drain in my bathroom”
overflowing toilet Yuk!
“Ouch, Do you mean everything?’
“Yes, everything”
“Poo, condoms, tampons, cotton wool buds, toilet paper. It’s absolutely disgusting”
“It makes me want to throw up just thinking about it, running from the floor drain in my bathroom, out the door and all over the hallway and lounge room carpet.”

“But, Why are you so upset now?” I asked.

“It’s been 4 months since it happened, so it’s gonna happen again soon. I don’t want to live like this!”

I actually had this conversation on April 8th 2016.

The Body corporate committee are getting other opinions on Tree root treatments for drains.

I feel for “Sonia”

Vaporooter Helps Strata Prevent $40,000 Sewer Replacement

Tree Root Photo-1
Location: Clovelly, Sydney
Occupants: Mostly women over 40. 2 with teenage children.
Home: Block of four 2 bedroom flats 2 up, 2 down circa 1920
Trees in Vicinity: Tree lined Street, many Hills Weeping Fig (Ficus Microcarpa Var.) large
In total we have billed this client $9,772.00 for tree root cutting and repairs.
In March 2010, they have finally indicated their interest in applying Vaporooter to control their tree roots in and around their sewer pipes.
The quote to apply Vaporooter is $1,586.00. This comes with a 12-month Guarantee.
The estimated cost to renew this sewer around both sides of the building and out to the sewer main in the street is estimated to be an astonishing $40,000.00.
The roots from the trees in this street are widespread.
We have attended to blocked drains in houses and unit blocks up and down the street.
The roots are getting stronger.
Without Vaporooter, a full sewer replacement will be the only (costly) alternative.
Some of the residents have indicated that instead of applying Vaporooter, they will lobby the Council to cut down the trees.
That would change the entire streetscape and severely diminish their property value above the $40,000 sewer replacement and well beyond the preventative Vaporooter solution that is guaranteed to solve the problem.
This beautiful period block of flats, a 5 minutes walk from the beach is on a street lined with Hills weeping fig trees.
You know the kind, they produce the most beautiful summer shade with birds attracted to the fruit.
The branch canopy stretches right across the street.
But, so does the root system of these magnificent specimens.
We were first called to this property to attend a blocked drain in May 2005.
The problem was tree roots from the specimens on the public footpath at the front of the property.

The ground floor flats were the worst affected.

Not only did their toilets back up when they flushed them, but when the flats upstairs flushed their toilet, that also came up and sometimes overflowed in the ground floor toilets.

That’s called The U-Tube (poo-tube) effect!

We recommended to the owner occupiers that Vaporooter would control the tree roots in their sewer.
They declined to take up the offer.
In the 5 years since, we have attended to this sewer blocked by tree roots 7 times.
We have carried out excavations to repair sections of drainage damaged by this aggressive tree root system.

This unfortunately includes costly and inconvenient weekend and after hours callouts.

Street Trees block drains

 

Are these Beautiful Trees in your street?

Liquid amber, London plane tree, Golden Robinia, Hills weeping fig, Brush box

Every year as they grow a little bigger their expanding canopy adds thousands of dollars to the value to your home, bringing energy saving cool shade from the summer heat, the beauty of the colours of autumn, some, when they lose their leaves, provide much needed natural lighting and in some cases a windbreak in winter. 075

These same trees help replenish our oxygen supply, and bring birdlife in abundance, a place for the kids to play, making your street one of the most sought after in your suburb.

Imagine your street without the trees.

Now if you have lived in your tree lined street for some time, you will know that there is a downside to having these trees.

Did you know their luxurious canopy is fed by a root system that is fed nutrition from the non stop supply running through that main artery from your home, also known as your sewer pipes.

Tree roots are growing around the clock, they don’t just grow overnight. They start, finer than the hairs on your head, searching for that hint of moisture or condensation on the top of your sewer pipes. (Condensation is caused as the water running through the sewer is slightly warmer than the pipes and the earth they are laying in).

Their task has been made easier by the trench excavation, breaking up soils to fit the pipes in the first place. Backfill and compaction is still way easier for tree roots to penetrate than virgin soils.

Once the fine hairs get in through the slightest crack in old earthenware or terra cotta pipe joints, they feast on the nutrients available, and grow constantly.

They can end up as thick as your arm with a horse tail attached.

Amazing!

We have cut tree roots from sewers that fit this description and up to 8 metres in length

As the roots grow in length they grow in diameter and can actually crack the earthenware pipes as they grow.

They don’t just grow overnight.

Who knows how a tree thinks?

Once they get in the pipe and have a constant source of moisture and nutrients they will keep coming back for more.

Having their roots cut by drain cleaners is like pruning the roots.

As any gardener will tell you, pruning makes them grow thicker and stronger. Think hedges or Rose bush.

It’s the same with the root system.

How Blocked Drains Happen

Sewer and drain pipes may not be very attractive to you, but tree roots love them.
Tree roots are lured towards your pipe because of condensation. Moisture builds up around the pipes, more so in summer because the water in the pipes is much cooler than the surrounding environment . Thirsty tree roots lock on to the trail of dampness and creep toward your pipes.

The roots will grow along the pipes until they reach a crack, they may even pry open a loose joint. Once the pipe is breached, the root will grow into it to take advantage of the nutrient-rich material inside.

As the root continues to infiltrate the pipe it grows a bundle of thin root-masses. These masses make the blockage worse by trapping kitchen grease, food oil, and large pieces of drain debris such as toilet paper.

The tree roots will eventually exert so much pressure on the pipe that they will simply destroy the section that they have grown into. The pipe may crack or burst from the outside, or it the pressure of the roots on the outside could cause the pipe to collapse in on itself.

Tree roots are not your everyday drain blockage. Most blockages can be quickly cleaned out by your local plumber. The blockages caused by roots that grow into pipes are much more complicated. Even if a plumber is able to eel out the blockage, there will still be damage to the line.
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No more Blocked Drains?

Did you know……….

85% of all blocked sewer drains are caused by tree roots.

Simply put, there is a way to prevent blocked drains happening ever again.

It’s easy, it’s safe and it Works!

It’s called Vaporooter

Tree Root Photo-1

Why do I need a Sewer Service Diagram?

A Sewer Service Diagram, drainage diagram or” helio” (for plumbers over 30 years old) is a map that shows where the sewer pipes run throughout your home, or commercial property.

This sewer drainage diagram is available from Sydney Water, the Water authority in your capital city, a reputable plumber’s supplier or your local Council, depending on where you are in Australia!

In NSW a sewer drainage diagram is a normal inclusion in a “Contract of Sale” for your home.

The sewer diagram will show a line diagram  of your property including the boundaries of the property with the outline of the dwelling and associated buildings with all plumbing or sanitary fixtures shown.

Whenever the sanitary or sewer drainage on a property is either modified or added to by a licensed plumber or drainer, the local water authority is booked to inspect the work and modify any existing drainage plans and upgrade the sewer diagrams of each individual property.

The sewer diagram will show if your sewer pipeline runs through other properties, if it is connected to a common sewer with multiple properties on the line and where your sewer line joins the Water Board or Municipal or Council sewer mains.

Be aware, some inner city suburbs like Paddington and Balmain have rows of terraces with upto 20 homes and in some cases more, running through the one sewer line across the back or front of the properties.

Whenever you have a blockage in a joint or common service, it’s imperitive that all parties on the common line realise that the problem belongs to all parties on that common line.

That means the costs of any repairs or service  to this common line should be borne by all parties on the line!

A current drainage diagram will show who is connected to the common sewer line and who isn’t.

If you have a hint of a blocked drain and you need to stop tree roots in drains, have a sewer diagram within easy reach!
Costs of this diagram will vary, dependent on the source and may range between $16 and $60.00

Tree roots in your sewer pipes are like tree root cancer.

This is a shocking headline!

Tree roots in your sewer pipes are just like a tree root cancer.

It will sneak up on you and block your drains if you leave it unchecked.

Sure, you can have some emergency plumbing surgery, removing the affected section and rejoin your pipes.

By now you know, if left unchecked, the tree root cancer will find another place to invade your drainage and in its own time will do just what it has always done.

Block your pipes again!

Eventually, the tree roots will break your pipes and you will need major emergency plumbing surgery.

The only way to really stop tree roots in drains, is to have Vaporooter applied to your sewer pipes now and have it re-applied annually.

Here’s the thing – you have the choice…to stop tree roots in drains or continue to suffer with that silent tree root cancer threat.

Given the choice, which one would you prefer?

Deciding or NOT deciding are both decisions.

One will give you  peace of mind knowing that if you get a blocked drain caused by tree roots, you will have it cleared free of charge,

the other well…keep your emergency plumber and bank manager on speed dial.

Tree roots grow through pipe joints to block your sewer.

Todays post is very simple!

In 98% of blocked drains caused by tree roots, the roots grow through the pipe joints to get into your sewer line.

The rarely enter the pipeline through the pipes themselves.

Older sewers made of terracotta or earthenware pipes usually 600-900mm (2-3foot) long, have sand cement joints and it’s through these joints that the roots grow.

Imagine this, a 40 metre or 120 foot sewer line, with bends, junctions and fittings will have at least 40 joints.

Each pipe joint is a potential point of entry for tree roots.

Once they grow into the pipeline seeking moisture and all those nutrients, they just keep growing!

During repairs or renovations to sewers, where new PVC pipeline sections have been inserted into the old earthenware lines and joined by sand cement or rubber adaptors, its only a matter of time before the tree roots grow into these pipe joints and cause a new tree root blockage.

Symptoms of a blocked drain

As our summer rolls on and the easter break approaches and we get together with our family and friends, keep an eye out for some of those vital symptoms that indicate you have a slow or blocked drain.

Make it a holiday break  to remember for the right reasons,  rather than needing to call an emergency plumber to rescue you and your family from a sewer blockage.

Keep an eye out for;

The excessive rise or fall of the water level in your toilet. We call it syphoning, and it comes with a Glug Glug Glug

Slow draining water or ankle deep water in the shower or bath.

Swarms of small flies  or sewer flies around smelly drains

Your kitchen sink, waste disposal unit or dishwasher are slow to drain.

Toilet paper or dirty water around your sewer surcharge gully in the garden or yard.

Dirty water leaking from a retaining wall or garden bed that conceals sewer pipes.

These are signs of a blockage, and your pipes are trying to tell you, that all isn’t well.

When the extra guests arrive you will know because the additional load on your sewer pipes will bring any blockage to a head.

So have a look around you home for the symptoms of a blocked drain and please don’t ignore them.

If you are not sure, contact your friendly plumber for help and some drain maintenance advice.

 

Will this blocked drain go away?

If you have a blocked drain it is very very unlikely that the blockage will simply go away.

Blockages caused by tree roots act like a strainer within your sewer pipes. Water and liquids will pass through the strainer but the poo and toilet paper and any other foreign material you flush down your sewer will get caught in the strainer.

Most busy family homes appear to have a blockage during morning or evening peak hour or during the weekend or holidays when there are extra visitors in the house.

That’s when there are multiple users of the shower, bath and the toilet, dishwasher and washing machine. It’s at this time that all that waste water can’t get through the “strainer” and the blockage appears.

Some home owners will see the blockage and promise to call an emergency plumber “in the morning”.

But, when morning comes and they use their toilet and it flushes normally, many people believe that the blockage has miraculously fixed itself and they either ring their emergency plumber to call him off visiting or they just don’t ring a plumber at all.

What has happened is this!

During the night, whilst everyone is sleeping, the dirty waste water has seeped through the tree root “strainer” in the blocked sewer pipes giving the appearance that the blocked drain has fixed itself. The new morning peak hour will bring the blocked drain back again only this time it will be even uglier.

So get on the phone and contact your emergency plumber to clear your blockage promptly. Ask your plumber to do a drainoscopy on your sewer pipes. Its actually quite an interesting process and if its during the holidays all the family can see what is really going on in your blocked drains.

If the drainoscopy shows tree roots in pipes, ask your plumber about a drain maintenance program at the same time.

Remember, if you have a blocked drain caused by tree roots, The tide will go out overnight……but it will come back in the morning!

Peak hour