How To Remove Roots From Your Sewer Line

Posted on: 16 December 2016

You may not know this, but those beautiful trees growing in your yard could pose a big problem for your sewer line. The roots from trees can grow quite large and deep, constantly looking for some water to help them grow. Sometimes their water source is groundwater, but sometimes it can be your sewer line. Roots are very strong and can grow through the sewer line, causing blockages and clogs, leaving you with a big mess. See below for instructions on how to remove those roots from your sewer line and other helpful tips.

Tools For The Job:

  • Snake (or pipe rodding machine)
  • Towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective glasses
  • Old clothing 


  1. Before beginning, be sure to have on old clothing and shoes, as the job could get messy. Also be sure to wear rubber gloves and protective glasses while doing this job.
  2. Start at the toilet that is clogged, and insert the snake into the drain. Continue feeding the snake in the drain until you find the blockage.
  3. Turn the pipe rodding machine on to try and get rid of the clog. Pull the snake back to remove any obstructions on the snake. If you have problems getting through the blockage, try a different head on the snake to get through it. 
  4. Once you can no longer feel the clog, pull the snake all the way out and flush the toilet multiple times to be sure the drain is completely clear of clogs.

Pipe rodding machines can be found for rent at most tool rental stores. Using this type of equipment in your toilet can cause damage to your toilet. It's best to use this type of equipment in a clean out, usually located outside of your home. If you don't have a clean out, the toilet drain is your best bet, just be careful when using the machine. Once you have the clog removed, you may want to contact a professional plumber to have a clean out installed at your home.

Other Tips:

  • Only flush toilet paper down your drain. Anything else can get clogged. Even if it says "flushable", your sewer system may not be able to handle it.
  • Use root kill in your toilet drain once per month to help keep roots from invading your sewer pipes.
  • If you have a sensitive sewer system, use two-ply toilet paper or toilet paper for sensitive systems.

Call a professional plumbing services contractor for help with sewer lines clogged with roots and for other ways to help keep your drains clear.