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Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

Hello Fellow Posters,

First the questions:

1. How do I prevent slow draining and clogs in my kitchen sink? I've tried vinegar and baking soda, with minimul results. Many posts on this site suggest bleach with a hot water rinse an hour later. Is this procedure good only if a slow drain/blockage has started or can this be used to maintain the drains?

I wipe down the greasy or sauce laiden dishes and pots and pans thoroughly before washing them in the kitchen sink, to avoid grease build up and gunk, but aside from rinsing them with an outside hose in the backyard, is there another way to reduce the amount of grease or gunk that gets down the sink?:rolleyes:

Can the bleach method be used in bathroom sinks, or isn't bleach good on bathroom sinks?

2. How much should a plumber charge for using an electric snake and repairing/replacing approximately three pipes.

I recently had a stopped up kitchen sink and a drip in one drain, later progressing to another, in which plunging only helped for a short time. Since my home was built in 1957, and I knew that I could run into problems tackling such old plumbing myself, I decided to call a plumber associated with my church.

He snaked out the kitchen pipes for over a half hour with an electric snake. He then checked the drips. He said that the past plumber didn't accurately seal the drains to the pipes (PVC) and that both sides needed to be resealed. He also found a crack in the pipe connected to the flange, which he had to replace. Also, another pipe was wearing out slightly in one spot, so he replaced that one too. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I heard a thud. While he was tightening a pipe, the inside pipe connection (part PVC/part metal) that attaches to the wall/outside pipe had broken away. The metal portion was warn out, with barely one layer left on one side -- no layers of metal in other spots. He replaced that with more PVC and sealant.

All in all, he was here for approximately two hours and charged $235.

My sister's boyfriend said that I was ripped off. I'm pleased with the work the plumber did, but if I was indeed ripped off, I'd like to know so that I can find another plumber when other work needs to be done. I'm on a fixed monthly income and cannot afford to be ripped off.

By the way I live in Michigan, if that helps.

Any help will be appreciated.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

I can't answer your questions about bleach.
With regards to what you were charged, I believe it was not a rip off and in fact was quite reasonable. What you have to remember when dealing with trades people is that what they charge not only has to cover their time but also their supplies, fuel, taxes (fed., state, and locale), their retirement savings, health insurance, vehicle insurance, liability insurance, and advertising. It's not the same as working in a factory for an hourly wage where those cost are figured into production costs that the employee doesn't see.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

Thanks, JLMcDaniel for your response!

Even though I'm tight on money right now, I did think his price was reasonable. While I could have probably gotten a handyman or asked a friend to fix the leaks and clog, I wouldn't have the peace of mind that an actual plumber can give -- especially in an older home.

My sister's boyfriend, who said that I was ripped-off in the first place, offered to fix the clog and leaks -- but if I let him, I probably wouldn't have been able to use my sink for over a week while he tried to figure out how to fix the problems that occurred.:eek:

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

I gave the bleach advice in another post because I recently had the same kind of service call. The Auger company's "MacGuyver" employee told me that's what I should do, Bleach followed by gallons of hot water, almost boiling hot. Granted we haven't had to do this but twice in the 3 years we lived here and the 5 years since the previous owners lived here. I'm going to give it a shot.

As far as service call prices, I paid $157.50 for my service call. But I'm a lot further south than you are.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

Over here in Southern California, plumbers charge in the neighborhood of $ 65.oo per hour. They also charge for suplies.
They usually tell you when they come to look at the job. If you do not agree or think it is too expensive, then he does not have to do the job. As far as the bleaches or hot water or other chemicals, the best option is to run a electric snake and clean all the pipes. The chemicals help only for a short distance, but if the stoppage is farther away, then they do not help as well as the snake.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

Thanks, Debbie and Gabriel.:)

At least the water in the kitchen sink is draining better than it has before. (My mother owned the house before me -- and I don't recall ever hearing the water flow so quickly during that time.)

Hopefully, I'm set for a while and won't need to call a plumber -- any other repairman -- for a while.

By the way, my aunt said she uses salt, instead of bleach, and gallons of water to eliminate a clog. Has anyone heard of using salt? I've looked on the internet, but haven't been able to find anything.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

I have heard of using salt to kill roots in the lines. I do this when I remember to pick up the extra salt on my grocery trips but I have never put it down my kitchen drain followed by hot water. I've always flushed it down the toilet so that it was "right there" near the roots for the night. I would be more likely to do baking soda and vinegar in the kitchen until I heard about bleach.

I have been thinking about my post and I have come to a conclusion about my own troubles I thought I would share.

in instances where I've had the 2" line snaked it has always come within a few months of having the 4" line snaked from the other end. So I may be creating my own problem by not getting them to work both ends on the same visit. I have a roots in my line and we've had to have that taken care of 3 times since we've lived here. After each visit I have a co-responding bill for snaking my 2" line within a few months. geesh, that's $600 bucks not to mention when I paid to have the septic pumped in 2005

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions


Sounds like you're throwing good money after bad. Seems that the money you've already spent would go a long way toward just biting the bullet and replacing the old root-infested line with some root-impervious PVC.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

Being a master tradesmen I cringe when I here handy man. But I am not a plumber. I hear the saying in my mind "jack of all trades and master of none.” They typically can fix some things like replacing things like lights, switches, and faucets. But when it becomes more involved tasks they get in over their head. When that happens they tend to mask the problem with a patch. This in time can cause you more money when the problem re-appears. In my opinion anything in plumbing, Heating, AC, Major Carpentry, and Electrical work should be left to the professionals when you hire someone. That doesn't mean if it is your own house you shouldn't repair it.If you want to repair by all means do it. But when you hire a person to fix your home. Hire a licensed and insured contractor who has the proper trade license for that trade. My opinion:eek:

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

This month's "Bottom Line," has a receipe from Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen for unclogging kitchen drains: one cup of baking soda followed by one cup of table salt and one-half cup of distilled white vinegar. After 15 minutes pour two quarts of boiled tap water.

It works for me all the time.

Re: Kitchen sink clog/plumber costs questions

I am glad to see a forum that isn't about nickel-diming the tradesman, but, also about giving a good quality product-service to the customer. Process of elimination. Good luck.

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