How can you prevent an annual call to the rooter guy?

Roots Block Sewer Pipe

TDS Reader Solutions

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Yearly Cleaning Doesn't Help

I have a constant problem with tree roots in the sewer line! I have it cleaned yearly but lately its getting worse. What can I do?

Copper Sulfate Kills the Roots

We had our drain field replaced 8 years ago due to tree roots. You don't want to go there, it's very expensive - $1500 back then. Removing the trees were not an option as the roots came from pine trees on the lot next door. We were told by the company that did the work to go to the local home improvement store (Home Depot, Loews or one like them) and purchase copper sulfate to flush down periodically. Just follow the directions on the container. This will kill the roots without harming the tree.

Check sale prices for Copper Sulfate on Amazon.

Rock Salt Solution

I have that problem where I live, but a tip that I received from a plumber helps reduce the problem. He recommended dissolving a box of ice cream salt (rock salt) in a bucket of hot water and slowing pouring it into the toilet bowl. Don't flush the toilet, but let the mixture remain in the bowl for several hours (overnight for example). This gives the salty water time to kill some of the roots causing the problem. I don't always remember to do this once a month as the plumber suggested, but it certainly does help reduce the number of time you have to pay a plumber!

Related: Preventing Blocked Sewers

PVC Replacements

We have had problems with roots since we bought our home in '98. Our house was built using the old clay pipes and they used to just lay them end to end. Roots eventually make their way in between the sections and what a fertile place to thrive! Today a local plumbing company is replacing our pipes with plastic and we will not ever have to worry about this again!

Weed Killer

The last time the plumber had to clean roots out of my pipes, he said to poor some Round Up (the plant killer) down the sewer clean-out once a month. So far, it has worked really well for me.

Coffee Grounds Working

My mother in law told me to dump used coffee grounds into the sink and wash them down the drain each morning. She said this prevents tree roots from growing into the sewer. After spending over $100 for a "rooter" to come, I tried this trick and have been doing it for years with great results. Perhaps it's a coincidence or a silly old remedy, but it appears to be working so I'm going to keep dumping the coffee down the drain rather than into the trash or compost!

Reviewed March 2018

Take the Next Step:

  • Have a strong odor coming from your pipes? Here's how to avoid a plumber's house call.
  • Home improvements can be costly. For many projects, we can help you save. Just visit the Home Improvement section of the Dollar Stretcher Library before you start that next project.
  • Once those home improvements are done, why not take some time to improve your finances? The TDS ebook How to Conquer Your Debt No Matter How Much You Have can provide you with the tools you need to demolish your debt and rebuild your finances.
  • Stop struggling to get ahead financially. Subscribe to our free weekly Surviving Tough Times newsletter aimed at helping you 'live better...for less'. Each issue features great ways to help you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist And What You Can Do About It for FREE!

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