Who to Call First

Plumber, Rooter Service, Handyman, or Utility Company?

Which household drain problems can be handled without calling a pro?

Every plumber, drain service, rooter business, and handyman will be happy to come to homes to clear clogs in toilets, sinks, showers, or floor drains. Depending on the day and hour, and who is called in, up to several hundred dollars could be spent for the service.

That is why every homeowner and renter should have at least a plunger available for handling the everyday minor clogs that can arise. Compared to the hundreds of dollars a single visit from a plumber may cost, active families or households can save the cost of a new drain snake or closet auger with their first use.

Drain servicing specialists--such as plumbers and sewer rooters--will be able to handle the more difficult tasks and maintenance.  Stubborn, inaccessible, or recurrent clogs can often only be addressed using specialized equipment and education. Professionals will be able to diagnose the symptoms, and can aid in helping find the cause of mysterious clogs, blockages, and slowing of flow.

Sewer Backup

In the case of slow drains and drainage affecting the entire house, or blockages causing symptoms in all the lowest drains on the line, there is a smart procedure. First, call a neighbor. If a neighbor is also showing any troublesome signs whatsoever, your water & sewer utility provider should be your next call. Also call the number on your utility bill if you have any reason to suspect that the problem is not between your house and the main line, but at or near the main line.

Wastewater Treatment Utility

Your utility company works hard to maintain their lines, and they want to hear from you if you have any suspicions. Most have operators or phone support personnel ready to help you figure out if they can help you. It is possible they may send a team to check on the situation, in which case at the very lest you will learn much more about your problem, and may even have it taken care of without cost.

Drain Maintenance

Because utility companies work around the clock to maintain all their lines in top working order, it is more common for lines near the home to fall into disrepair. When this is the case, your utility company is not responsible for any costs or damages, and a professional from the private sector should be consulted about your specific problem.


The rule is to call a plumber or contractor for any work that would involve removal, replacement, or addition of pipes to the plumbing system. These situations require conforming to very strict codes and in many places can only be legally performed by qualified professionals. Replacing certain fixtures, such as a bathroom sink or toilet, can be done by a knowledgeable homeowner, but most other tasks, including new or replacement showers, tubs, & kitchen sinks should more often be left to a pro.

Drain Cleaning

A contractor or fully qualified plumber may not be required for drain cleaning or clog clearing services. You will find other qualified professionals in your phone book or from an online search for drain cleaners and drain cleaning specialists. A great way to find local businesses is to include your zip code in a search query—most search engines will show you anyone in the area with a web presence.