Get Clogged or Damaged Drains Cleaned or Repaired

Should you always hire a plumber when your drains are clogged? Determine when a plumber is necessary and how to hire one.

If you currently have or have ever had a clogged drain in your home, you know exactly how annoying a clogged drain is. Any clogged drain can slow you down. For example, a clogged drain in your bathroom sink can make it difficult to brush your teeth when getting ready for work. Meanwhile, a clogged shower or bathtub drain can make it impossible to prepare for work or unwind after a hard day. A clogged drain can also cause wastewater to back up into your home or leak into areas it ordinarily is not supposed to flow into. Therefore, you might have to deal with health hazards or expensive home damage.

When any type of drain in your home is clogged, you have two options. The first is to try to unclog the drain yourself. The second is to hire a plumber to unclog it for you. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were almost 470,000 individuals employed as plumbers, steamfitters, and pipefitters in the United States in 2020. If you are wondering when to hire one of those plumbing professionals, here is how to assess your clogged drain problem and determine the best course of action.

What is Clogging the Drain?

If you know exactly why your drain is clogged, that knowledge can help you determine if a plumber is needed. There are many materials that can potentially clog a drain. Among those materials are:

  • Dirt

  • Mineral Deposits

  • Hair

  • Soap Build Up

  • Toilet Paper

  • Food Waste

  • Fat, Cooking Oil, or Grease

Some of the issues above are easy to resolve. Liquid drain cleaning solutions and pipe snakes can often dissolve or loosen such materials. However, not all clog sources are as easy to clear. For instance, cat litter poured down a drain can create a solid mass that requires professional removal. Also, dropping a foreign object down your drain can cause a clog that a liquid clog eliminator or a simple pipe snake cannot easily fix. If the foreign object is important to you, you might also want to retrieve it, rather than try to flush it through the line. A professional plumber has the right tools to deal with that situation. 

Is the Clog Causing an Immediate Emergency?

A slowly draining sink or tub is an annoyance, but it is not necessarily an emergency. However, some clogs can create larger problems, such as cracked pipes or a back flow of water or sewage into your home. If the clog is causing a sewage backup  or a major leak, call a professional plumber immediately. Such issues are major health hazards. They can also cause extensive damage to your home. 

Is More Than One Drain Clogged or Are Multiple Pieces of Plumbing Malfunctioning?

A single clogged drain that is not causing a water or sewage backup or creating a leak is not necessarily an emergency. You may opt to spend some time trying to clear such a clog yourself. However, when a clogged drain affects more than one sink, tub, or toilet at a time it is time to call a professional. For instance, a slow draining bathtub accompanied by water backing up into the bathroom sink each time you shower is an indication you need professional assistance.

Is the Clog in a Major or Minor Location?

If only one plumbing fixture is clogged, the need for a plumber is often dictated by the need for that fixture. For instance, a clogged kitchen sink presents a major problem. You probably use your kitchen sink several times a day. Such a clog in a major plumbing fixture may negatively affect your daily life until it is fixed. On the other hand, a clogged sink in a guest bathroom may not matter as much when you are not expecting guests.

Additional Specific Reasons to Call a Plumber

The location and usage of the impacted plumbing are not the only considerations when determining whether a plumber is needed. Several other factors can help you determine when to call a local plumber. Some of them include:

  • The clog or leakage created by it is in an inaccessible area requiring special equipment or removal of certain pipes.

  • Your home has older pipes that are soft and potentially easily damaged by attempts at do-it-yourself maintenance.

  • The clog is being created by plants or tree roots growing into your pipes, rather than easily flushed materials built up in the pipes.

  • You have already unsuccessfully tried to clear the clog without assistance.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Plumber?

The cost to hire a plumber to clear a clogged drain varies. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost in 2021 for drain cleaning is $145 to $334. However, that price is to unclog a drain within your home. According to Fixr, unclogging a main line leading to the street from your home may cost up to $650. The specific amount you must pay depends on the hourly labor rate charged by the selected plumbing company, as well as the parts and equipment needed to complete the pipe repair. Also, you must typically pay a higher amount when a sewage backup is involved or when the blockage affects multiple plumbing fixtures. Fortunately, many plumbing companies offer deals and discounts on their services. Roto-Rooter, at the time of this writing, is offering $60 off on any plumbing or drain cleaning services. You can schedule online here.

How to Find a Qualified Local Plumber

When selecting a local plumber, the first consideration is specialization. Some plumbers specialize in on-call emergency services. Others specialize in regular maintenance or in new plumbing installation, such as during home remodeling. Make sure the plumber you select has the right credentials for the task at hand.

When you are starting your search, ask neighbors or loved ones who live in your local area for recommendations. You can also use online services like Angi to find a local plumber with a good reputation. Such services allow you to read reviews and compare rates for multiple plumbers quickly and easily. You can also search for plumbers according to specializations to make sure you find one that offers the clog removal service you need.

Find a Plumber Before You Have a Problem

The worst time to look for an emergency plumber to unclog your drains is when you are in the middle of an emergency. It is far better to find a local emergency plumber as soon as you move into a neighborhood. Once you find a plumber you trust, keep the phone number for the plumbing service hanging on your refrigerator, programmed into your cellphone, or otherwise handy. Then you can call to get your drain cleaned and unclogged as soon as the need arises. Roto-Rooter offers emergency plumbing services, 24/7. If you are in need of immediate, emergency plumbing services, you can get 24/7 same-day service through Roto-Rooter.