Serving Albany, Schenectady, & Troy Since 1939

How to Effectively Prevent Drain Blockages

Springtime is here, and it’s only a matter of time before spring rainstorms are upon us. While the rain is great for our trees, plants, and grass, it’s not so great for our drains; excessive rainfall makes spring the most common time of the year to see a clog form in one of your drains. Clogs prevent water from flowing into your sewer, where it can be safely carried away. When storm runoff can’t be carried away safely, it builds up to the point where it can cause serious damage to your home or business.

Here are a few reasons why clogs form in drains during springtime, and some helpful advice you can take to proactively combat these clogs and prevent them from forming in the first place.

Rapid Growth of Tree Roots

When trees come out of hibernation at the start of spring, they look for additional sources of water to fuel their growth over the next several months. To do this, their roots will grow and spread, looking for more water in the soil. Unfortunately for home and business owners, the most convenient and concentrated source of both water and nutrients is found in your drain lines.

In a typical property, water runoff flows directly to your storm and perimeter drains, significantly increasing the volume of water flowing through these drains over the rainstorm season. This is only compounded by the fact that many properties in the Albany area have their storm and perimeter drains tied in with their sanitary drains, essentially meaning that every drain in your property flows through to the same main sewer line. Should a tree root intrude into this line, the influx of water will cause the tree root to grow rapidly, eventually filling the diameter of the pipe and blocking all of your drains.

Tree root intrusion is a serious problem, especially in older properties where this single main sewer line is a clay pipe. Clay is not a commonly-used material anymore, but many older or historic homes and businesses with original plumbing still rely on clay. Clay is one of the materials that’s the most prone to tree root intrusion, as over time they can form microscopic cracks and stress fractures which create pathways for tiny tree roots to sneak in. When these roots find the excessive rush of water during the heavy rains of spring, they grow, expand to the diameter of the pipe, and suddenly you’ve got a complete blockage.

How to Stop Tree Root Intrusion

The easiest way to stop tree root intrusion is to simply keep trees away from your main drain lines. While there’s not much you can do if a tree has already been planted and your main drain line has already been run, most modern construction and buildings will strategically keep trees away from drain lines for this very reason.

As experienced plumbers, we’ve seen what can happen with drain blockages, and we recommend being proactive about your drain maintenance with regular camera inspections to ensure your lines are clear and in good condition. If necessary, we will recommend snaking or jetting your pipes to keep them free and clear.

If you have clay lines, you may want to consider replacing them with more commonly used pipes made from plastic material. This type of drain line is extremely durable and can withstand decades of use without issue. Plastic pipes are also far less prone to the micro-fractures and small holes which tree roots can intrude into. Replacing a drain line can be an intrusive and costly endeavor, but trenchless pipe replacement could be an option for you, depending on your circumstances. Our plumbing experts can provide you with solutions and recommendations.

If your storm or perimeter drains clog up this spring, call the Albany plumbers at Crisafulli Bros Plumbing & Heating Contractors at (518) 868-0494 and let us get it fixed and flowing smoothly again.

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