Drain Cleaner or Plumber: Knowing who to call and why.

When I was a young single lady living in Vancouver, either with roommates or alone, and the bathtub or sinks would slow or plug up, I did what most people do; bought a chemical drain cleaner like Drano and then called a plumber.

The experience was always horrible.  From the stench and burning eyes of using the chemical cleaner, just have it not work, to dealing with the usually unpleasant Plumber, who was grossly over my tiny budget and didn’t seem to have the right equipment.  I learnt to deal with the pooling of water at my feet in the shower just to avoid the whole experience.

It wasn’t until I met Blair that I even knew there were specialized drain cleaners.  Fast forward to today and we still have many friends that say the same.

What’s the difference?

Plumbers specialize in the installation and maintenance of plumbing systems.  They are who you call if you are building a new structure requiring plumbing or if your existing plumbing system is leaking and in need of structural repair.

A Drain Cleaner uses an auger to snake through the plumbing system to remove the buildup of dirt, debris and/ or roots that have been slowing or clogging your plumbing system.  They are who you call if your sink, bathtub, toilet, sewer or exterior drains aren’t draining properly.

The Advantages of Calling a Drain Cleaner.

Plumbing lines in a home or apartment building are long and a Drain Cleaner is equipped with the right length of cables to reach the problem.  Some Plumbers only have a short hand crank auger but a Drain Cleaner has machines that can spin up to 700 mph making them powerful enough to get the job done right, the first time.

The most important advantage is saving your time and money.  A Plumber doesn’t make the bulk of their income cleaning drains, and it may be something they only do once every 3 months.  A Drain Cleaner spends every day, all day, doing just that.  That experience is key.  An example of when that expertise comes in handy was when a new client called and indicating their Plumber had been working for many hours to clear a difficult clog unsuccessfully.  Blair went right away and spent 15 minutes at it with complete success.  Not only is that time valuable but most Plumbers charge a higher hourly rate than a Drain Cleaner because their required investments in education are passed down to the customer.

In the end, when you have an issue with your plumbing, ask yourself 3 questions.  1, does the piping itself need replacement or is it just full of stuff? 2, if the plumbing is just draining slowly, do you have the time to let a Plumber who may not be as experienced with augering pipes give it a try? And 3, if that Plumber takes 2 hours to do a 30 minute job, can you afford to let them try?  Maybe not, it might just be time to call an experienced Drain Cleaner.

This post was written by Katherine (Kat) MacIsaac 
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