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How Do You Clear Roots From Drain Pipes

Imagine the distance that it would take for your tree roots to access your underground drain pipes. Is this even a possibility? Absolutely, it is possible for tree roots to attack your drainage pipes. Once you have identified that tree roots are the clogging problem with your pipe drainage, you can ask yourself, How do I clear the roots from my drain pipes? The answer is copper sulfate, rock salt, auger, hydro-jetting, or reroute or repair.

Underground drain pipes.
Underground Drain Pipes

What Are Drain Pipes

Drain pipes are exactly what they sound like. They are responsible for carrying all of your waste from your home to the city sewer system. This includes all of your plumbing and any gutter system runoff that you may have had installed. Let’s take a deeper dive into how and why root systems can intrude upon your drain pipes.

Roots growing inside a drain pipe cause problems in a yard.
Cracked Drain Pipe Showing Roots Inside

How Tree Roots Enter Drain Pipes

Tree roots gravitate towards moisture and food for the tree and the drain lines happen to be a perfect food and moisture source. If your drain lines become damaged from soil erosion, movement, or older pipes, the roots are going to naturally grow into your sewer lines. In addition, this can dramatically increase the damage to your drainage pipes.

Signs Of Tree Roots In Your Pipes

Believe it or not, there are a couple of ways to determine if your drain pipes have roots in them. Below are a couple of areas to keep an eye out for, prior to calling in the professionals.

Very Green Patches in Your Yard

Roots that have made it into your drain pipes will be healthy and have more access to food. This food source allows the foliage to remain healthy and strong.

Odor Smells

Serious blockage can cause a build-up of waste in the pipes. This will produce a foul odor that needs attending to from a home inspector.

Sinkholes

A sinkhole occurs due to the pipes being cracked by the root system. This allows water to continue draining through the soil, leaving the area soft and vulnerable to movement and erosion.

Slow or Gurgling Drains

Slow draining pipes or clogs can also be a result of roots getting into your drain pipes. The only way to tell is to scope the drainpipe with a sewer scope camera designed to snake through the pipes.

Checking for an underground water leak is important. This can be done in five easy steps, starting with checking the water meter.

Cost to Clear Roots from Drain Pipes

The initial costs for you to clear or replace the drain pipes are determined by the professional team that you hire to service the pipes to check the lines for tree roots. This can range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. The drain pipes or sewer lines, the size of your home, and the location will determine the costs.

Clearing Roots from Drain Pipes

Believe it or not, there are a few good home remedies for helping keep roots out of your drain pipes. Let’s take a look at some of those options:

  • Copper Sulfate-this will kill any root system in your pipes with just half a cup of these blue crystals. Copper sulfate is a natural herbicide and can be purchased at most hardware stores.
  • Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride)-adding the salt into your toilet that is farthest from the road. You will add a handful to your toilet and flush it down with buckets of water. You will need to avoid flushing the toilets until the following afternoon. This will give the salt time to dry out the roots. This is a temporary solution, as roots will tend to grow back.
  • Hydro Jetting-this involves thrusting a high power amount of water at 4,000 psi through the pipes. The water pressure is so powerful that It destroys the roots.
  • Rooter or Auger-this item will be shoved through the piping system all the way to the obstruction. Once the obstruction is located, the auger will slice up the roots and allow the pipes to be flushed out. Any debris that is left is washed away into the sewer.
  • Reroute or Repair-a professional might locate the issue and cut the pipes in hopes of rerouting the pipe trail away from the root system. This could typically cost the most. Also, materials are not cheap and neither is the time it takes to dig and locate the repair or problem site.

Keep in mind, any of the above solutions might damage your sewer drain lines if they are weak. Therefore, you may have to replace the sewer lines instead.

Sewer Scope Inspection

Homebuyers will want to have a sewer scope inspection completed prior to doing anything. This will allow you to determine the condition of the sewer system throughout your home. In order to do this, you will need to hire an inspector who will snake a camera through your sewer lines and determine if any damage is present. Knowing that everything looks good will give you peace of mind to purchase the home. Waypoint Property Inspection East can help you with your sewer scope inspections in South Florida.

Other Preventative Maintenance Ideas

You should consider maintaining your vegetation in the yard and keeping it away from the house. Also, keeping trees and other plants away from your drainage pipes is key to success. The root systems are always looking for nutrients and water, and both can be found inside your drainage pipes. So, the further away you can keep the plants and trees from your pipes, the better off you will be.

In addition, making sure that the yard gradient slopes away from the home will allow for the water to flow faster through your pipes. You do not want the pipes to end as level or sloping backward. This will cause slower flushing of the items in your drainage pipes and could also cause a backup into your home.

Other Recommended Maintenance

While you are busy inspecting or repairing your drain pipes, you might want to consider inspecting your sprinkler system. There are a few ways to maintain your sprinkler system while you have your yard dug up for drain pipe repairs.

Problems with yard drainage can be due to roots in drain pipes or other issues.

If you have water developing in the yard, check to make sure it is indeed a broken or clogged drainpipe underground causing this. When in actuality, it could be a drainage issue and a drainage system may be a cheaper fix. A professional can help you figure out the culprit.

Be careful of allowing water to sit in your yard for too long as it will be a breeding ground for mosquitos. The good news is there are natural ways to get the mosquitos under control while fixing the issue in your yard.

When Should I Call A Professional

It is highly recommended that you reach out to a professional right away to clear roots from drain pipes. Attempting to determine a clog in your drain pipes can take a long time, and set you back a lot of money. In addition, if you don’t know what you are doing, it can cause a lot of headaches and additional costs. Lastly, the time that it will take you to rent the equipment and dig up the area is not worth the amount that you would pay a professional.

Conclusion

It is always difficult to determine if tree roots have intruded into your underground plumbing. Using rock salts or copper sulfate to help combat the problem is a great idea, however, it is a very temporary solution. Waypoint Property Inspection East can take a look at your underground pipes during a home inspection in the Boca Raton, FL, and surrounding areas.

6 Ways to Fix Cloudy Tap Water

Many households in the Rockies and Southwest drink water from their tap. They are lucky to have mountain spring water. However, in other areas like the deep south, the water does not taste good and many people use filters on their refrigerators or drink bottled water. No matter which you use, you will notice when running tap water in your kitchen sink if it is cloudy. How to fix cloudy tap water? There are 6 ways. Get rid of the bubbles, soften the water, test the water if you have a well, use a sediment filter, get rid of methane gas and turn off the water if there is a sewer smell.

Water is important for our survival as humans and we need to make sure we are drinking from a clean source. Taking a look at various signs can help do just that!

Let’s take a look at the 6 ways to fix cloudy tap water:

1. Get Rid of the Bubbles

Bubbles will show up in the water because of the air that is in the water lines. The built-up pressure will cause the tiny air bubbles to appear and the color of the water may be a milky shade. Sometimes this is because of high-temperature fluctuations so insulating the pipes might be your next step. You won’t be putting blankets on the pipes, but instead fiberglass or pipe sleeves. Not sure what to do? Contact a professional.

How to fix: Put water in a glass and set it on the counter for a few minutes. If the tiny air bubbles disappear, then it was likely to air in the lines and the water is safe to drink. Most likely, you just hvae to run the water enough to remove all the air bubbles. If it only happens in hot water, then there is an issue with the water heater. We will talk a little later about water heater maintenance.

2. Soften the Water to Fix Cloudy Tap Water

Sometimes the water will be cloudy if you have hard water. However, the first place you may notice this is staining on your dishes or clothes.

How to fix: Install water softeners under your sink. Be aware that they are high in sodium so if this is a problem, then boiling water can get rid of the hard water problem. If it is an issue in the whole house with hard water, then you will need a system that is made for the house.

well in a yard

3. Test the Water if You Have a Well

A well lasts about 30-50 years and needs maintenance at least once a year. Always make sure that the well cap is on tight as this will keep out insects and animals. Additionally, if you notice the water changes in taste or color, have it tested right away by a professional. This is because wells are not treated for contaminants like the municipal water systems so you have to be extra careful with well water.

You can have contaminated water if you have a well or city water so getting it tested is important.

How to fix: You may need to invest in a reverse osmosis unit. This filters water through a series of membranes and these systems catch up to 99 percent of contaminants. These contaminants include chemicals like pesticides and chlorine. Unfortunately, it is not cheap starting at $300 and goes up from there. Check out the video below about how this works.

4. Use a Sediment Filter to Fix Cloudy Tap Water

Sediment is seen in most tap water but in low concentrations. It is normal to see a few small rocks, soil, and stone. However, if the levels are higher, your water can be cloudy.

How to fix: If you have city water, you can fix this by adding a sediment filter to your faucet. This will fix the cloudy tap water and improve the taste.

5. Get Rid of Methane Gas If it is in Your Tap Water

Methane gas in your tap water is rare but does happen.

If you live in rural areas, it is possible for there to be methane gas in the water.  This is seen in rural systems or when the well is next to oil or gas lines. 

How do you find out if there is methane gas in the water?  First, take an empty gallon jug and fill it halfway. Then, put the top on it.  After an hour, remove the top and light a match at the top.  If a flame sparks, then there is methane in the water.  If it does not, you are clear. 

How to fix: A professional will need to install an aerator on the water line for you.  Additionally, this is a good thing as the methane is non-toxic but does need to be taken care of as it is a fire hazard.

6. Turn Off the Water if There is a Sewer Smell

A strong sewer smell can mean that there is bacteria growing in the drain.

How to fix this: pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of vinegar in the drain. This will get rid of the smell if this is the issue.

However, if the water tastes metallic or comes out smelling fishy, then turn off the water and drink bottled water. You will want to do this until you have the water tested.

sewer cap

Additional Areas to Check

1. If you are finding that the water is cloudy or murky after 24 hours, you may need to contact a professional to check for a water leak in the pipes or undergroundAdditionally, if you also notice low water pressure, leaks underneath the sink, or water forming in the yard, this will signal there is an issue. Are the pipes in your yard made of PVC? If yes, you can replace them!

2. Check your water bill.  If the water bill is higher than normal and your activities have not changed, there could be a water leak.  Lastly, locating and reading the water meter will be helpful to find out if there is a leak somewhere in the home or the yard.

3. Water heater maintenance – there are a few things to keep an eye on with the water heater. These will help you notice when there may be an issue. They are: flushing the water heater, adjusting the temperature and resetting the unit, and turning the gas water heater off and on to name a few.

When to Call a Professional

  1. Water is not clearing up
  2. Discoloring of water or it smells
  3. You suspect there is a leak
  4. Your water needs testing
  5. You are not sure what to do

Conclusion

It is very important to make sure that our tap water stays clean and safe to drink. Paying attention to what it looks like and smells like is important. The good thing is any issues can usually be fixed easily, but make It a priority. Waypoint East can take a look at the water in your faucets if you are having any problems!

Disadvantages of Pex Plumbing

PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material and is popular, along with copper, as a choice for piping in homes and for potable water. Problems with lead pipes and other materials led to many people choosing PEX over others. PEX has a lot of advantages such as 60% cheaper than copper for projects and it is flexible. Unfortunately, as with most things there are disadvantages.

What are the disadvantages of PEX plumbing? Since it is a plastic material, rodents seem to like to chew on it. Also, it can’t be used outdoors because it doesn’t like the UV rays or the cold weather, as well as it can’t be recycled (although you can paint the portions that are exposed to sunlight). Additionally, it cannot be connected directly to a water heater and must have a copper line to attach itself to.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know about these pipes, the advantages, the disadvantages, other options, maintenance, and when to call a professional.

Why Knowing About the Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing is Important

In life, we have a lot of choices to make. Some of them are related to our home, while others may be what we want to buy at the grocery store or what kind of car we want to drive. However, when it comes to piping inside the home, there are choices.

As mentioned earlier, the two most popular are copper and PEX. If you are looking for outdoor plumbing or worried about rodents getting a hold of your pipes, then PEX is not for you. We will discuss the advantages but also disadvantages of PEX plumbing and then you can decide for yourself what is best for you.

Advantages of PEX Plumbing

There are several advantages to PEX plumbing. Let’s take a look:

1. Adaptable and Easy to Use

It is a flexible material that can be used in long pipe runs, doesn’t require as many fittings as other pipes, and can make 90 degree turns without elbow fittings. It also has an advantage over rigid plumbing in that if there are freezing temperatures, then the pipes can expand and making it less likely to burst. Many new home construction and existing home contractors like this material to use. It can even be used in the exterior of a home that is cold if it has foam insulation wrapped around it.

2. PEX Connection is Easier

PEX can be connected easier than copper or PVC. While copper requires soldering and PVC requires glue, PEX uses a crimping tool.

Shut off valve on PEX

3. PEX Has a Shut Off Valve and More Resistant to Chemicals

Another advantage of PEX is the material is less likely to corrode from a humid environment. Unlike copper, which can corrode in salty environments and eventually leak.

4. Lead Free and Can Be Used in Hot and Cold Water

Not only is PEX lead-free, but it has the ability to be used in hot and cold water. Other materials don’t always perform well in both temperatures of water. Additionally, it can have an adapter attached to it to connect to the existing copper or PVC pipe.

Mouse in a pipe

Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing

As the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to talk about these.

1. The Material Does Not Work Outside in Freezing Temperature Climates

PEX plumbing is fine inside the walls of a home, no matter the temperatures as it can be covered with insulation. However, one of the disadvantages of PEX plumbing is it cannot be used outdoors in cold climates as there is no way to cover them and protect them from freezing temperatures.

2. Rodents Like the Plastic Pipes

Depending on where you live, your neighborhood may have a rule that says you can’t use PEX pipes. This is often seen in rural areas or in cities as trash around the city can lead to a large number of rodents.

The rodents then look for ways into a home and often chew through pipes like these. The good thing is you can call a professional to get rid of rodents before they cause too much damage. This is something to think about if there is a problem in your area.

3. Some Pex Types Have Had Issues

It is not entirely confirmed yet, but some professionals do not like Pex as it too closely resembles polybutylene. Ultimately, Pex is still relatively new so it has some time to officially prove itself as reputable piping.

Copper pipes

Other Options for Materials: Copper Pipes and CPVC

Copper and PEX are the two most popular materials for pipes, but ranking up there too is CPVC.

Here is a great video that compares Copper, PEX, and CPVC

Copper Pipes

Fifty to seventy years is a long time for pipes, but copper pipes can last that long, depending on the type of pipe. There are three types: Type K, L, M. Type L is used in residential homes and is more cost-effective than the other two. It has medium thickness and best for carrying drinking water. Also, it is highly recommended by plumbers and perfect for residential homes. Lastly, it also can last sometimes up to 100 years in ideal conditions.

There are two types of copper pipes:

Rigid Copper– this is a material that is used for the water supply in a house or building. It is cut into pieces and can be soldered together.

Flexible Copper Tubing – it is malleable, used in short runs, and is flexible.

Copper Versus PEX

Copper is different than PEX in that the pipe material can be recycled. However, the disadvantages are that it is expensive. This type of material costs about $285 for 100 feet of piping compared to PEX which is $30 per 100 feet. That is a big difference in price!

CPVC

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride also known as CPVC is a lot like PVC except that CPVC is chlorinated and allows it to be able to deal with the extreme hot and cold temperatures that PVC cannot.

CPVC has a long life, is easy to use, and cheaper than copper at $1.24 per foot. It can also tolerate up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for the temperature of the water. The only negative is it is not flexible like Pex.

water leak in ceiling

Maintenance Around the House

We all spend a lot of time in our kitchen so when you are in there, check to see if there is a leaking kitchen sink drain. Often we don’t know unless we hear water or we reach under the sink and there is a puddle or the cleaning supplies are wet.

Check around the home for water leaks in the wall. If you see wet spots or mold or mildew or hear water running, you may have a water leak and need to call a professional.

Take a look at your homeowner’s inspection report to see what type of pipes you have. If they are polybutylene, then you need to replace the pipes. These will wear out quickly and cause leaks or they will burst.

Consult your water bill and check your yard for any signs of leaky pipes. Signs would be your bill is higher than usual, also that there may be cracked pavement or sinkholes.

Go over to your water heater and flush it every six months to make sure it stays clean. You will also want to adjust the temperature and reset.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you have questions about the type of pipes to use, what kind you have in your home or any other issues. They know what will work well in the home. If you hire someone with experience and has the credentials, the pipes should be installed correctly.

Conclusion

Knowing about the piping in your home is important. You want to know what what you have or plan to get is appropriate for where you live. Talk to a professional for recommendations. Waypoint Property Inspection East will inspect your plumbing system during your home inspection in South Florida and Boca Raton, FL.

Cost to Build a Boat Dock : What You Need to Know

Houses by the water are amazing and the view is beautiful. If you are looking for a home by the water and there is a dock, you are lucky! If not, you may need to build one. What is the cost to build a boat dock? It depends on the material that is used and the difficulty to install. They range from $1000 to $75,000. Maybe the home has a boat dock already? If it does, that is great! However, you do want to have an inspection before purchase. If you find there are a lot of issues, you may need to build one again.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know the cost to build a boat dock, types of boat docks, building your own boat dock, an inspection of the boat dock, what is checked, cost of the inspection, what the environment does to the dock, maintenance, the seller of waterfront property, other areas to check, and when to call a professional.

Why You Need to Know the Cost to Build a Boat Dock

It is important to know the cost of a dock so you can see if it fits in your budget. There are various materials that can be used for docks and also companies in various parts of the U.S. will charge different rates. Also, before starting any project, check with zoning boards to see if the type of dock you want to install is allowed in your area. Take a look below at the various types of docks.

Floating dock
Floating Dock

Types of Boat Docks

There are several types of docks with various materials. Let’s take a look

Floating Docks

A floating dock is decking that is over airtight barrels or drums. They float in the water and best used in lakes or where the water is still and moves up and down. They are not good in places like rivers or the ocean because the water is continuously flowing. It is easier to maintain, costs about $25-35 per square foot.

piling dock

Piling Docks

These are built with wooden pilings and very sturdy. Unlike the floating dock, they stay in one place and held together with wooden beams. They are aesthetically pleasing to look at. Ranging from $20-40 per square foot, they can be even higher with features added on. More difficult to install than a floating dock, but they allow the owner to add electrical components to it for a boat lift or moorings.

Pipe Dock

This resembles the piling docks but uses plastic piping instead. It is best for shallow water and uses a prefabricated pipe. They range from $1000-2000 but that doesn’t include the installation which may add on another $1000. A pipe dock is better for those looking to have a fishing dock or a place to lounge. It is not ideal for a boat.

Crib Docks

This type of dock uses a large container with rocks and then has decking put on top of it. It is good to use in water less than 10 feet. The most expensive type of dock as it is depends on the size, boardwalk, decking, and installation. A wooden underwater frame holds it all together and it looks like a man-made island. In some environments, it can last many years and never need replacing.

Suspension Dock

A suspension dock is like a suspension bridge and hangs over the water. A professional or homeowner will find it to be complicated and take a long time as it needs plans drawn by an engineer. The positives of this dock are it has a low environmental impact and is aesthetically pleasing. The negatives are that they are expensive and difficult to build. They work well in areas with an underwater ecosystem that is fragile and also with lower water levels.

Now you know the type of dock that sounds good to you. However, think about the climate, the depth of water, if flooding is possible, and your budget. These factors may make your decision easier or more difficult.

Building Your Own Boat Dock

If you are thinking about building a dock on your own, here is a guide. However, we do recommend using a professional.

boat dock

Inspection of the Boat Dock

Why and what is a boat dock inspection? A dock is subject to the environment and weather makers and it is hard to tell what is going on with it structurally without an inspection. It is different than a home inspection and requires a different inspector. A dock inspection also involves looking at structural components, utility systems, and appurtenances. An underwater inspection is also needed. A home inspector can do a visual inspection but a more extensive one will need to be done by a marine inspector.

Why do you need the dock inspected? It needs inspecting in order to close out the permit and for safety issues. If you live in a home that already has a dock or looking to buy a home with a dock, an inspection is important.

What is Checked in a Boat Dock Inspection

A major dock inspection should be every five years and a visual inspection every year according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The areas that are checked as mentioned above are the structural components, utility systems, and appurtenances.

A home inspector will view the dock from the ground, instead of from the water. Here is a list of what the inspector will look for. It is worth your time to go to the inspection so you can find out what needs fixing or what to monitor. If it is found there may be more extensive damage, an inspector will recommend you find a marine inspector to take a look more thoroughly from the water.

Cost of a Boat Dock Inspection

A dock inspection can cost $50 -100 if combined with a home inspection. If it is separate, it can be a few hundred dollars. Later in the blog we talk about how to find a good home inspector and when you are looking for one, ask if they do dock inspections to save you some money.

What the Environment Does to the Boat Dock

The environment and mother nature can wreck havoc on a dock. Here are some examples:

  • Undermining caused by natural erosion
  • Hydrostatic Pressures
  • Poor Drainage
  • Soil pH Balance
  • Wood Boring Insects
  • Wear and Tear Suffered During Hurricane Season
  • Inadequate Original Installation
  • Corrosion from Water and Sand
  • Rot and General Deterioration

Maintenance of the Boat Dock

Yearly Maintenance

Yearly, take a look to see if the dock needs repainting. Doing this can help extend the life of the structure. Also, it helps with rot resistance as rot can wear down a deck or any structure faster.

Wood decking requires more maintenance than aluminum decking. It has oils and tannins to keep the insects and decay from moving in but also needs a good power washing every year. This is especially true if it has a lot of bird poop on it as well. Every three to four years it will be a good idea to stain the wood. In addition to rotting, unfortunately, this type of material can warp, decay, and twist if not taken care of.

Aluminum material seems to do well and requires very little maintenance.

Waterfront home

When You Are the Seller of Waterfront Property With a Dock

If you are the seller of waterfront property with a dock, you can do a pre-listing home inspection. As stated above, the home inspector can do a visual dock inspection, but you can also hire a marine inspector to inspect the dock more thoroughly. This will be a win-win for you as the seller and for the buyer.

What is the benefit of a pre-listing inspection? You find out the areas that need fixing as they will come up in the buyer’s home inspection report and you can decide if you want to fix them or not. Additionally, it often makes the process of selling a home go faster, and there are no negotiations. Lastly, you will also find out what needs fixing or to monitor on the dock from the marine inspector.

How to Choose a Home Inspector

Not sure how to choose a home inspector? Take a look here at what makes a good one!

If the home inspection report shows there are necessary repairs for the home or the dock, you can walk away.

sea wall

Other Areas to Check

If you have a seawall, you will need to check that to make sure it is intact and doesn’t need replacing. Also, many homes on the water also have a swimming pool. If you notice you are losing 1/4 inch of water or more per day, you need to perform the bucket test with the directions here. You may notice soggy grass or pooling water so it is important to check it before summer so you can fix any issues.

The soggy grass or pooling water or even sink holes in the yard can signal a water leak underground. Get this looked at immediately as there can be other issues lurking.

When to Contact a Professional

Contact a professional if you need a dock inspected, notice any issues around the dock, or want to build a dock. An inspector with experience will be beneficial to you.

Conclusion

If you are one of the lucky ones to have a dock with a home, you want to preserve it as long as possible. It is expensive to repair or replace so keeping an eye on it and maintenance is the way to go. We can inspect a dock while doing a home inspection in the Boca Raton and surrounding areas. Think you might need our services? Leave us a reply below!