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Sewer Pros Reveal 10 Ways to
Remove Roots in Sewer Line
Part 3

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10 Steps to Remove Roots In Sewer Line - For The DIYer

For homeowners, local plumbing supply stores will sell or rent out a flexible auger known as a sewer snake (also called a plumber's snake, toilet jack or electric eel). A camera can also be rented there or at any standard rental supply house. DIYers can even make their own camera setup. When sewer pipe cleaning wear protective gloves and old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.  

Home Sewer Lateral DiagramDiagram of a home sewer lateral

1Use a sewer inspection camera to determine where and how severe the blockage is. The camera will give you a clear view of what's going on in the pipe and will also show you if there are any other problems before using the plumber's snake.

2 Find your sewer clean out plug ("House Clean-Out" on diagram) located where the main pipe exits your home. It is typically a PVC pipe coming from the sewage pipe with a cap on top.

3 Place a 5 gallon pail under the house clean out plug. Unscrew the plug but not completely. Slowly let water and material into the bucket and once the water is drained then remove the plug entirely.

Sewer SnakeDrum Auger

4 Using either an electric or manual snake, direct the end into the house clean out opening.

5 As you feed the auger through the pipe you may encounter resistance, indicating a possible blocked line that may be roots in the sewer line.

6 Rewind the snake and then push forward while rotating the cable head. This back and forth operation will cut, loosen and dislodge any blockage or roots in the sewer lines.

7 Rewind the auger cable with the tree roots that have been cut off and reinsert the cable until you're satisfied that you’ve removed all the roots in the sewer line. When removing the plumber's snake, inspect the debris for clues of any pipe damage.

8 Pour several hot buckets of water into the main drain and monitor the water flow and if it remains slow to drain, return the auger cable and continue to cut the roots.

9 Once the operation is finished apply Teflon tape to the house clean out plug threads to ensure that the next time you need to remove the plug it will be easier.

10 Ensure that the house clean out plug is tightly fastened to prevent any sewage water or gases to leak.

Other types of sewer drain cleaners.

An alternative to removing the roots is root control chemicals.

Root-X Action on Tree RootsRoot-X action on tree roots
Removing Roots in Sewer Line with Rootx

Root-X is a two-part chemical solution of non-systemic root killer and a delivery system. This means the nonsystemic root killer kills the roots without killing the tree. The second part is a foaming agent that delivers the root killer and coats the interior of the pipe with a foaming agent.

Colorful RootsNice roots!


Copper sulphate (CS) has been used to kill roots, however it does not attack the larger root mass. Copper sulfate also kills molds, fungus and bacteria that could help decay and remove the dead roots, but instead leaves roots behind to create another clog. Copper sulfate is mainly used to preserve wood such as fence posts and telephone poles, therefore the roots are treated and will remain longer in the sewer.



Usually this job is best left to the professionals. They have the proper equipment and can usually determine what the best course of action will be. Although doing it yourself may save you some money in the short term, the headaches and risk of damaging buried lines may not be worth the short term savings.

Roots in sewer line growth only worsens with time. Jetting, rodding and chemical applications are only temporary solutions to a longer-term problem. For a long term solution to preventing a roots in sewer line infestation, remove the offending tree or brush or replace the cracked sewage line that is letting in the roots.


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Roots in Sewer Line – Part 3

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