Do I Need To Hire a Plumber To Clear a Clogged Drain

Ashley Smith

Written by: Ashley Smith

Ashley is an accomplished writer with a B.A. in journalism from the University of NH. She reports on major developments across business, technology, and the professional cleaning industry.

Sinks, toilets and tubs clog every so often. Food particles back up the kitchen sink, hair clogs our bathtub drains and, well, certain things can clog our toilets, too.

Minor clogs can be tackled with do-it-yourself remedies such with drain cleaner or a snake. But more difficult and persistent clogs often require the experience of a professional. If the clog has made its way from your sink or tub to the main line, there’s no way around calling in a professional.

Cost to Fix a Clogged Drain

The cost to unclog a drain depends on the severity of the clog, the time it takes to unclog and the plumber’s rates. Most plumbers charge anywhere from $50-$100 per hour, and most have a minimum amount of at least $75-$100 for each service call. Even if the job takes 10 minutes, you’ll have to pay the minimum. You’re paying for the plumber’s time to travel to and from your home.

Here are some price ranges for common jobs:

  • Clearing a sink tends to cost $50-$75.
  • Clearing a blocked tub usually costs $75-$125.
  • Unclogging the main drain, which connects the home’s sewage system to the city’s underground system of drains, costs anywhere from $100-$500, depending on difficulty. However, most jobs fall in the $200-$300 range.

Keep in mind that the price ranges above are meant to be guidelines, not exact figures. Prices vary widely based on the plumber’s experience, the size of the plumbing company and from one region to the next. For the most accurate pricing, seek quotes from several plumbers in your area.

Average Drain Clearing Prices

Choosing a Plumber

Choosing a plumber can be tough. There are likely dozens in your area, but you certainly don’t want to choose at random. Here are some steps you should take to find the best plumber for the best price.

  • Stick with the pros - Only hire a licensed master plumber (or that plumber’s qualified apprentice). Ask for proof that the plumber has worker’s compensation insurance, which protects you if he or she is injured on the job, and liability insurance.
  • Do your homework - Even if you’re in a bind, don’t hire a plumber without doing a little background research. Do a quick Google search to read online reviews and check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask for referrals - In a pinch, ask friends and neighbors to refer a plumber they trust. You’ll probably fare better than if you choose a plumber at random.
  • Get multiple estimates - Unless you’re dealing with an emergency situation, contact several plumbers for estimates before choosing one. Keep in mind, however, that the actual price could be more if the job turns out to be more difficult than expected.

Ways to Save

Many people, when they have to call a plumber, assume they have no choice but to shell out a fortune. That doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some tips for keeping the bill as reasonable as possible.

  • Unless it’s an emergency, don’t call during off-hours. Most plumbers have much higher rates for night and weekend jobs. Unless there is water spewing all over your house, you’re better off waiting.
  • Try to establish a connection with a local plumber before you need one. A plumber you’re familiar with is more likely to respond to your call during off-hours (if that’s absolutely necessary), and they’re less likely to overcharge.
  • If you have multiple plumbing problems, have the plumber address them in one visit. This will save you considerably because the plumber does not have to charge for two trips. If you already have a plumber on the way to fix your clogged drain, why not address that leaky faucet, too? (By the way, a leaky faucet can waste gallons and gallons of water a day, skyrocketing your water bill.)
  • Consider the do-it-yourself approach. Some clogs are relatively minor and can be cleared with a drain cleaner or a drain snake. Give these remedies a try before you resort to calling a plumber.

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