Plants That Can Ruin Your Plumbing

A tree and some flowers in a backyard

Plants in yardJust when you thought you had seen the end of your plumbing problems, plant life adds a whole new obstacle to your maintenance regimen. When shooting for aesthetics, many homeowners overlook the repercussions certain trees and shrubs can have on plumbing fixtures.

While new plants may be beautiful, they could jeopardize your septic and plumbing systems. When enhancing your lawn’s appeal with shrubs and trees, it’s vital to know where and how different plants should be grown to avoid a plumbing emergency. 

Types of Trees That Can Affect Plumbing Fixtures

Trees add beauty, personality, and shade to your yard. Unfortunately, their roots present a significant threat to your plumbing fixtures. Depending on the type and direction of the root’s growth, you may experience blockage in your pipes. Here are the trees that most frequently grow into plumbing lines and fixtures:

  • Birch trees are favored by homeowners who appreciate graceful, slender trees. Birch roots usually grow a 4- to 8-inch-thick mat-like structure, but they still present a threat to nearby pipes. Birch trees need no less than twenty feet of space between plumbing fixtures and your home’s foundation to ensure no damage is done.
  • Citrus trees are a tasty source of lemons, oranges, and more. Although these trees yield wonderful fruits, they’re infamous for their damage to plumbing fixtures and are banned by many HOA’s for this reason. When planting a citrus tree, the placement must be at least 6-8 feet from the foundation of your home to avoid damage.
  • Oak trees are notorious for their longevity and strength, though they’re also infamous for damaging foundations and plumbing fixtures. Because oak trees grow slowly, they can penetrate pipes at a sneaky pace that takes a while to notice. Oak trees should be planted a minimum of 15-30 feet away from important fixtures on your property.

Preventive Growth Barriers

There are many methods you can use to protect yourself from expensive plumbing repairs, and one of the most cost-effective options is to have a preventive growth barrier installed.
A preventive growth barrier is an assemblage of walls implanted into the ground around a plant that’s main job is to redirect the growth of roots. A professional landscaper can help install a growth barrier to make it easier to plant a yard without root-related complications.

Experts In Plumbing Repair

Putting up with the complications of plant-related plumbing damages is no thrilling endeavor. If you’ve done your calculations and a plant’s roots still managed to come in contact with your pipes, it’s best to turn to the experts at D & F Plumbing. Here at D & F Plumbing, we make it our top priority to repair your plumbing and protect your plumbing fixtures from any additional damage. If you require immediate plumbing repair, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

How to Prevent Clogged Sewer Lines

Diagram showing the common causes of sewer line clogs - D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA

Diagram showing the common causes of sewer line clogs - D & F Plumbing serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA

If you’ve had a clogged sewer line before, you know it’s a smelly, unsanitary mess that needs to be taken care of immediately. It causes you to panic, ruins your lawn, and it just stinks!

Relax and don’t you worry! Because At D & F Plumbing, we’ve got you covered. So snap out of it and read about how you can prevent clogged sewer lines.

1. Don’t Plant Near the Sewer Line

Improving your curb appeal? Great! Just make sure to keep a minimum of 10 feet in between your trees and the sewer line to allow space for those roots to grow. Tree root intrusion is a common cause of sewer lines breaking since the roots naturally grow toward sources of water. In fact, our contractors have seen this many times while performing sewer camera inspections.

2. Maintain Your Drains

Your plumbing system is a workhorse, but it can still suffer a clog. Make sure not to put anything harmful down your drains or anything that may become lodged, including grease, diapers, flushable wipes, and fibrous foods. You can see a more exhaustive list on our Bathroom Drain Cleaning page.

3. Have Your Sewer Line Inspected and Serviced Regularly

Even if you’ve stayed vigilant about your drains and tree planting, your sewer line may still fall victim to roots, which if left unchecked, can lead to irreparable damage and costly replacements. You can keep your sewer line in check by contacting your local plumbing contractor for a sewer line cleaning once a year.

Experts in Sewer Lines

If your sewer line is clogged, you have no time to wait. At D & F Plumbing, we know that any plumbing issue can be overwhelming, especially a clogged sewer line. That’s why we offer emergency plumbing services. Day or night, rain or shine, our highly-experienced plumbing contractors will provide you with the help you need. Best of all, we offer affordable financing, so you can get your plumbing taken care of now before it becomes a costly project later.

What’s the Difference Between Main Line vs Drain Line?

Main line vs drain line infographic explained by D & F Plumbing in Vancouver WA and Portland OR.

 

Unless you’re a plumber, it’s easy to confuse main lines and drain lines. Plumbers get these questions all of the time so we thought we’d finally settle this. Keep reading to finally learn the difference of a main line and drain line, including the roles they play in your home.

Main line vs drain line infographic explained by D & F Plumbing in Vancouver WA and Portland OR.

What is a Main Line?

To put it simply, your main line is your sewer line. It’s a line located underground that carries all wastewater from your home to a municipal connection or septic tank, not just toilet water.

Here is some additional information about your main line.

  • In addition to drain line clogs, another big threat to your main line is tree roots. If you know where your main line is located, you can strategically plant trees in areas that won’t damage your main line.
  • You’ll want to know where your cleanout is located in case it suffers a clog.
  • If you’re experiencing drain clogs at the lowest point in your home, you likely have a main line clog.
  • If there’s sewage coming out, there’s most likely a main line clog.
  • If you hear gurgling noises in another part of the home when using water, you could have a main line issue.

What is a Drain Line?

Drain lines are lines located inside of your home that are connected to your plumbing fixtures such as your toilets, sinks, and showers. They don’t lead directly to your sewer system or septic tank, but they dump into the main line. When you’re having an issue with one drain line, you can generally still use the plumbing everywhere else in the home because they aren’t connected.

Understanding your Main Line and Your Drain Line

Knowing the difference between your main line and your drain line is important because they’re two entirely different things with different fixes and costs.Generally, a main line clog is going to require a professional plumber and involves more steps.

Sewer Line Cleaning Experts

Great, now you’re just a bit more educated on your plumbing terminology than you were before reading this article! Ever consider a plumbing career? 😉

Anyway, if you’re experiencing any issues with your drains or main line, let D & F Plumbing help. We have the experience and knowledge to fix your plumbing quickly and we’re available 24/7 for your plumbing emergencies!

 

How to Tell if Your Main Water Line is Leaking

Water main leak - D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to tell if your main water line is leaking.

Water main leak - D & F Plumbing, serving Portland OR & Vancouver WA talks about how to tell if your main water line is leaking.Spring has sprung! And after a cold winter some of your underground water pipes may have sprung a leak too!

Main water lines are the pipes that bring clean water to your home from your community water line. These pipes bring water for your plants, shower, drinking and anything else that needs water in your home.

Leaving a main water line leaking can cause health and financial problems. Here’s how to know if your main water line is leaking.

Rising Water Bill

A rising water bill is an indicator of a leak, especially when you haven’t used excess water recently. A substantial water main leak will be noticeable on your bill. An increase of several hundred dollars from the same time last year will be an obvious indicator. If you’re connected to city water, you can look at your water meter to give you another clue.

Even if you’ve been using extra water for gardening your beautiful spring flowers recently, it shouldn’t change your water bill too much.

Average household leaks cause up to 10,000 gallons of water waste per year. Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste more than 90 gallons per day. And even basic leaks from a faucet in your home could be the result of problems with your main line.

Don’t let your money go swooshing down the drain. Fix your leaks as soon as you notice them to save money. An experienced water leak detection plumber can test to determine if your leak is related to the main water line.

Low Water Pressure

Low water pressure can be caused by many different types of leaks, but a main water line leak is one of the most common.

How do you know if you have low water pressure? Here’s a little test to check and make sure your intuition is correct — turn on the water in your shower and then flush the toilet. If the shower stops running or slows to a trickle when you flush, then you have low water pressure.

Another way to check if you have low water pressure is by looking over your water meter. Inspect the meter before you begin a two hour period of using no water, and then survey it again after the two hours is up. If the meter changes at all then you probably have a leak.

Cracked Foundation

This one is a serious problem. If you have a leak, water can seep through the ground and get to your home’s foundation. This can cause cracks and eventually make your house unsafe.

If you are noticing wet spots, there might be a leak in your main water line. Don’t just leave them be or try to do a quick fix. Waiting to correct the problem could cost a lot more money later on…major structural cracks can cost anywhere from $10,000 or more to repair.

If you have any of these symptoms of a main water line leak, get it diagnosed as soon as possible.

Fixing it can be costly, but waiting and having to fix your foundation or other property damage will cost a lot more.

Call the plumbers in plaid, because we’ve got a main water line special for you.

 

Warning Signs You Need a Sewer Line Replacement

Broken sewer line. D & F Plumbing serving Vancouver WA and Portland OR talks about the warning signs you need a sewer line replacement.

Pooling water on lawn. D & F Plumbing serving Vancouver WA and Portland OR talks about the warning signs you need a sewer line replacement.Your sewer lines are buried underneath your property. They run from your home to the city sewer or septic tank. When these lines become damaged or clogged, they can burst and lead to sewage backups and pooling water in your lawn — which is not only a smelly nuisance but also a health hazard.

By learning to recognize the warning signs of sewer line issues, you can help prevent a damaged line from becoming a costly catastrophe.

Indoor Warning Signs

1. Sewage Backups

If you’re experiencing frequent sewage backups despite your attempts to clear your sewer line, you may have a more serious problem on your hands.

2. Unpleasant Odors

Sewage odors around your property are generally a sure-fire signs you have a ruptured sewer line or clog somewhere in your sewer line. A plumbing contractor can inspect your sewer lines with a video inspection camera to be sure. This doesn’t require digging.

3. Slow Draining

If one of your toilets or sinks is slowly draining, you likely have a clog somewhere. However, if you have several drains in your home that aren’t draining properly, it’s likely you have a problem with your drain line. All of your drains go into this mainline, so if you’re dealing with several plumbing problems all at once, you may need to have your sewer line inspected and/or replaced.

Attempting to resolve this issue yourself with chemical drain cleaners is not only ineffective for this type of problem, but you may potentially damage your pipes.

Outdoor Warning Signs

When a sewer line suffers a crack or ruptures, you may see evidence on your lawn. Pay attention if you notice any of the below signs.

4. Pools of Wastewater on Your Lawn

Sewage pooling on your property is often the most obvious sign you have a sewer line break. This can also be a sign of a clogged drainfield, if you use a septic system, or a mainline issue if you are connected to the municipal sewer.

2. Soggy Patches on Your Lawn

Do you have soggy patches on your lawn? This means there is a lot of water beneath. If you can’t account for the extra moistness in your lawn, it’s highly likely the pipes underground are damaged.

3. Lush Patches of Grass

When a sewer line breaks, wastewater is released in the soil on your property, fertilizing it. So if you have patches of grass that are more thick and green than the rest of your lawn, you may have a sewer line problem.

Experts in Sewer Line Line Replacement

A damaged sewer line can contaminate your groundwater and flood your property with wastewater, not only causing extensive damage but also putting your family’s health at risk.

Whether you want to learn the condition of your pipes or need your sewer line repaired or replaced, you can count on the plumbing contractors at D & F Plumbing. We’ve been getting the job done right since 1927!

Warnings There is a Problem With Your Main Sewer Line

D & F Plumbing provides sewer line repair services in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.

D & F Plumbing provides sewer line repair services in Portland OR and Vancouver WA.Unless you’ve had sewer problems before, chances are you’ve given little thought to your main sewer line lately. This line runs from your house to the city sewer, and carries all waste and used water away from your home. While the city is responsible for the sewer, you are responsible for the line from your home until it connects to the sewer.

Even the most solidly constructed main sewer line is susceptible to damage or clogging over time. Here are some warning signs that there is a problem with your main sewer line.

Warning Signs of a Sewer Line Problem

Any one of these signs is an indication that something is wrong with your plumbing, and most of them point to a sewer line problem. If one or more of these symptoms occur together, the likelihood of a sewer line clog or damage is high.

  • Persistent or recurring clogs in drains and toilets.
    • Do you have a clog that just won’t clear, or a slow drain that’s gotten worse over time? It could be a clog in the direct line below the drain, but it may also be an indication of a larger problem.
    • If the clogs come and go again, pay attention to the signs we mention below.
  • Issues with multiple drains.
    • Maybe it’s not just an issue with the shower drain, but your kitchen sink drain is also draining slowly. If multiple drains are affected, you most likely have a clog in your system that is located where multiple drains come together.
  • Gurgling or smelly drains.
    • If your drains smell like sewage or gurgles, there is definitely a clog somewhere it shouldn’t be. It could be in the main water drain, or it could be in your sewer line.
  • Water backup in other drains.
    • If you flush your toilet and the sink drain gets filled with water, sewage, or even just gurgles constantly, you have a clog in your system that is located where multiple drains come together.
  • Sewage backup in your basement.
    • This is an even more obvious sign that something is wrong with your plumbing, but it could be a main drain clog, or it could be a sewer line clog.
    • The only way to know for sure is to ask for a professional diagnosis.
  • Lawn changes.
    • Is your lawn unusually green, especially along your sewer line? Are there pools of water in odd places? Is there evidence of sewage?
    • If you answered yes to any of these questions, contact a professional immediately.

What Causes Sewer Line Issues?

You’ve answered yes to several of the points above, and you suspect you have a sewer line problem. But how did it happen?

Main sewer lines are subject to a lot of use. This pipe carries out all the waste from your household, and unless it’s brand new, has been doing that for years. There are a number of things that can cause sewer line issues, including:

  • Corrosion
  • Tree roots
  • Sagging sewer line
  • Broken sewer line
  • Debris flushed down the line
  • Grease poured down drains

Any one of these things can cause significant issues along your sewer line. When you have a professional plumber or drain cleaner diagnose the sewer line repair, they can also tell you the likely culprit. If it’s something the previous occupants did, or something your family is doing now, you may be able to avoid the same issue in the future.

Finding the Source of the Sewer Main Line Clog is Vital

If you suspect a sewer main line clog, we recommend calling a professional immediately. A sewer main line clog is probably not going to repair itself, and has the capacity to get a lot worse very quickly. It’s important to call a professional plumber because if the clog is within your sewer line, it’s almost completely inaccessible, and will need to be carefully diagnosed.

At D & F Plumbing, we use video inspection to diagnose sewer line issues. Video inspection is the easiest and least invasive way to find a problem without digging up your yard or guessing. This is also why you should call a professional who has experience with this technology; without video inspection, there will be a lot of guesswork, driving up the repair cost and time spent on the job.

After the source of the clog is found, whether it’s a cracked pipe or a tree root curled inside the pipe, the plumbing professional will be able to make an assessment of the damage, and estimate repair costs. Finding the source of the clog before repair begins ensures that costs stay as low as possible, and no unnecessary digging is done.