Tree roots growing into sewer lines

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aristotelian
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by aristotelian » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:51 pm

I am probably the outlier here but we just get the roots snaked out when it back up. Use a local service rather than Roto Rooter which will charge twice as much. If it ever gets worse we will dig everything up but in 10 years of ownership we have had it happen maybe 3 times. Doesn't seem like a big enough deal to go digging up the whole yard.

drawpoker
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by drawpoker » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:09 pm

jucor wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:00 pm
.....the equally aged and leaky sewer connection..........
Then last year our city offered an insurance plan for $7/mo -- it will pay for line replacement up to $15k when needed....
We signed up right away --
Wow. What city is this? Beverly Hills Calif? Scarsdale NY? Old Greenwich? Only $7 a month, and up to $15K possible payout? It almost sounds too good to be true. :?

Most everywhere, the facts of life are that the city will take responsibility only for the length going from the main (running under the street) to where it meets up with the property owner's line. Anything beyond that is solely on the back of the property owner.

Sewer backup coverage on H.O. policies, as I understand it, pays for actual damages (carpet, hardwood floors, other furnishings) and reimburses cleanup costs incurred. But there is no payout for the cost of digging up a yard and actually replacing existing sewer lines with new. Have an elderly neighbor who was telling me a few months ago she had recently added sewer protection to her H.O. But, sadly, she thinks she bought additional insurance that will pay thousands if she she has to replace the line from her house to the main. I tried to gently explain it to her, but she was adamant, so I just dropped it.

If your city is offering this (not a 3rd party insurance co.) with no strings or exclusions - sure sounds like a fantastic deal at that price. Did you read the fine print closely before signing up? For ex, is it possible this insurance only covers normal aging, wear and tear type erosion to the pipe material, not damage from Tree Roots?

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ClevrChico
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:06 pm

I snaked a line myself and followed up with generic Root-X. I haven't had a problem since. The roots I removed were not very thick.

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abuss368
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by abuss368 » Sat Dec 07, 2019 8:07 pm

Flame thrower or napalm.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

momvesting
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by momvesting » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:02 pm

Have the pipes reamed but also replace the washing machine with a front loader, they do not do the "dump". I had a friend with a similar problem a few years ago and just replacing the washing machine was enough.

jucor
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by jucor » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:27 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:09 pm
jucor wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:00 pm
.....the equally aged and leaky sewer connection..........
Then last year our city offered an insurance plan for $7/mo -- it will pay for line replacement up to $15k when needed....
We signed up right away --
Wow. What city is this? Beverly Hills Calif? Scarsdale NY? Old Greenwich? Only $7 a month, and up to $15K possible payout? It almost sounds too good to be true. :?

Most everywhere, the facts of life are that the city will take responsibility only for the length going from the main (running under the street) to where it meets up with the property owner's line. Anything beyond that is solely on the back of the property owner.

Sewer backup coverage on H.O. policies, as I understand it, pays for actual damages (carpet, hardwood floors, other furnishings) and reimburses cleanup costs incurred. But there is no payout for the cost of digging up a yard and actually replacing existing sewer lines with new. Have an elderly neighbor who was telling me a few months ago she had recently added sewer protection to her H.O. But, sadly, she thinks she bought additional insurance that will pay thousands if she she has to replace the line from her house to the main. I tried to gently explain it to her, but she was adamant, so I just dropped it.

If your city is offering this (not a 3rd party insurance co.) with no strings or exclusions - sure sounds like a fantastic deal at that price. Did you read the fine print closely before signing up? For ex, is it possible this insurance only covers normal aging, wear and tear type erosion to the pipe material, not damage from Tree Roots?
Just a mid-sized LCOL city in "flyover country" Yep, I read the policy -- it's pretty good. It is underwritten by a 3rd party and paid through the city water/sewer bill. One key to its possible viability is that it was implemented as an opt-out plan, so every household is enrolled unless they specifically request to be dis-enrolled, which requires signing several documents. I'm guessing that the vast majority stayed/stay enrolled. In our city about 40-50% of the private housing stock is 40 years old or less -- so those folks will have comparatively fewer issues than those who, like me, live in century + old houses. :sharebeer

Every things free
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by Every things free » Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:21 pm

Sewer lines are failing every where....and will continue.
Band aids don't solve problems.
Replace the sewer line with schedule 40 pipe. Compact the dirt under the pipe to minimize future pipe sag. Install a clean out within 5' of your house.
You've corrected the problem for the next 3 generations of users.
What's money to a man like you?

Kim
You know when you are rich. You can buy anything you want but want nothing.

drawpoker
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Location: Delmarva

Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by drawpoker » Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:03 pm

jucor wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:27 pm
drawpoker wrote:
.... is it possible this insurance only covers normal aging, wear and tear type erosion to the pipe material, not damage from Tree Roots?
.....In our city about 40-50% of the private housing stock is 40 years old or less -- so those folks will have comparatively fewer issues than those who, like me, live in century + old houses. :sharebeer
[/quote]

Interesting. The way the city went about it. How long does that $7 a month fee last? Will it go up every year? By how much, any cap on that?

Getting back to the OP topic here, tree roots don't discriminate between younger and older houses. Tree root intrusion is also not likely to affect the entire sewer line, only certain spots. Does this policy specifically name tree roots damage as a covered risk?

As you can probably tell I am still somewhat skeptical. Have you, or any of your neighbors, checked out this insurance co. with your state insurance commissioner's office? Just to see what its record is.

Edit: Is this a company called American Water Resources? They mention on their website they have agreements with some cities to offer this. So I started poking into it. Just as I suspected, if you have tree root problem, you are out of luck.
Drilling into the fine print it says this:

AWR will dispatch an approved independent contractor to Your
Home for repairs covered under this Agreement. AWR’s
independent contractor will obtain any necessary permits
before work begins. AWR’s independent contractor will
first attempt to clear the clog or blockage. If it is cleared,
no other repairs will be made.


Since tree roots are customarily removed by the reaming out method with the thing that has the razor-like blades to cut them up, ergo, problem solved, line is now clear - looks like this is a loophole big enough to drive a truck thru.

drawpoker
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Location: Delmarva

Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by drawpoker » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:10 pm

Found another one offering this - American Family Insurance. Can't get a price quote without revealing personal info at their website. They do mention $500 deductible on sewer plans. Coverage limit says $10,000 (The first one I found, AWR, says coverage limit is $4,000, unless you buy their enhanced plan.

Also just discovered another big loophole with AWR. One of the exclusions listed is any repair or replacement to "devices to the sewer line including the clean-outs"
Seems the joint/connection for the clean-out is one of the prime places for the root intrusions. :shock:

i<3Investing
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by i<3Investing » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:22 pm

I did the inflatable epoxy liner last year. The city replaced a phone poll and i think 'bumped' my sewer line in the process which caused it to slip from the main. Good times all around. I was told that I would need permits to go into the street but we're a 2 lane street and closing off one side is really difficult to do.

Called in the plumber who ran the camera and found out the pipe had slipped. Showed me on the monitor which was really cool. He epoxied from the house to the street and was able to refit the pipe into the main. Basically it came to a setup fee. Then a cost per 20 foot of pipe. Total cost for me was around $7,000 and they went roughly 65 feet. A bit of a PITA since it wasn't something I was expecting but oh well. That's what emergency funds are for :)

jucor
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by jucor » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:24 pm

drawpoker wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 6:03 pm
jucor wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:27 pm
drawpoker wrote:
.... is it possible this insurance only covers normal aging, wear and tear type erosion to the pipe material, not damage from Tree Roots?
.....In our city about 40-50% of the private housing stock is 40 years old or less -- so those folks will have comparatively fewer issues than those who, like me, live in century + old houses. :sharebeer
Interesting. The way the city went about it. How long does that $7 a month fee last? Will it go up every year? By how much, any cap on that?

Getting back to the OP topic here, tree roots don't discriminate between younger and older houses. Tree root intrusion is also not likely to affect the entire sewer line, only certain spots. Does this policy specifically name tree roots damage as a covered risk?

As you can probably tell I am still somewhat skeptical. Have you, or any of your neighbors, checked out this insurance co. with your state insurance commissioner's office? Just to see what its record is.

Edit: Is this a company called American Water Resources? They mention on their website they have agreements with some cities to offer this. So I started poking into it. Just as I suspected, if you have tree root problem, you are out of luck.
Drilling into the fine print it says this:

AWR will dispatch an approved independent contractor to Your
Home for repairs covered under this Agreement. AWR’s
independent contractor will obtain any necessary permits
before work begins. AWR’s independent contractor will
first attempt to clear the clog or blockage. If it is cleared,
no other repairs will be made.


Since tree roots are customarily removed by the reaming out method with the thing that has the razor-like blades to cut them up, ergo, problem solved, line is now clear - looks like this is a loophole big enough to drive a truck thru.
[/quote]

No, AWR or Sunbelt is not the company. I've looked up our policy, which appears to be customized to our city, and is a contract between the city and the company, with enrollees as the beneficiaries. I believe that there is some amount of city-input into this (which of course comes in part from my property taxes), but I am not sure what that amount is.

I was off on coverage -- they cover up to $10k on sewer pipe replacement, and up to anther $1500 for landscape/sidewalk remediation.

They do not exclude roots. They do exclude Nuclear accidents (!), Terrorism (!), acts of war (!), or damage caused by me or a contractor hired by me in the course of doing work to my house or property.

Since the first three listed exclusions are pretty unlikely to impact my sewer line, and, if they occur, my sewer line will likely be low on my list of problems, I'm not too concerned about them. The last exclusion is not worrying me too much, either. :)

I know that there are a variety of these sorts of plans out there, and I'd imagine they vary widely.

In my case I'm more worried about collapse of the line due to age-related degradation of materials than I am about a clearable root issue -- it has happened to several houses on our block in the 15 years we've lived here -- none yet since this insurance came about, so...

downshiftme
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by downshiftme » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:43 pm

Had this same problem in the first year of owning a 100 year old house with 100 year old sewer pipes. Until we realized what the problem was we had several plumbers look at it and each suggested urgent big dollar fixes from digging up the pipes that afternoon to complicated relining of pipes in place.

Roto-rooter guy had a camera that went down the drain, saw the roots and suggested a good power snake could clear the roots, buying time to decide what long term (expensive!) solution we prefer. Or he suggested calling again for power snake annually to put off the decision indefinitely. We did the power snake, but forgot about the annually.

I guess it took about 100 years for the initial problem to develop, so we did nothing for the next 20 years and so far the problem has not returned. If it does, paying for a second application of the power snake is looking pretty appealing compared to $20k to dig up and replace pipes.

drawpoker
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Re: Tree roots growing into sewer lines

Post by drawpoker » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:21 pm

jucor wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:24 pm

No, AWR or Sunbelt is not the company.......
I looked up Sunbelt and found this first. It appears their coverage for sewer ($6.60 per month) is actually much more. This seems to say you have to buy 2 other forms ($1.05 and $4.84) to be eligible for the sewer policy. At $12.49 X 12 mo. --that's $150 a year. More than you are paying.

https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/g ... f139b.html

Maybe this is catching on more in the midwest???? Haven't heard a thing about it around our neck of the woods.

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