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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.
Have you ever had to hire a plumber? It’s not a lot of fun to pay that bill. It’s also not a lot of fun to need a plumber. Typically, when you need a plumber, you’ve had a very bad day. Poop water or a bad leak has ruined part of your home, and now you’re left trying to play Mr. Logistics with work schedules, school schedules, money, and plumber appointments.
It’s a pain in the butt.
You can save yourself money if you know what to do here, though. There’s no need to flush it away. There are a number of easy fixes that will help you to keep your plumbing working properly so that you not only don’t have a very bad day caused by plumbing in the future, but you won’t have to pay a plumber to fix anything either.
Here are some of my thoughts…
Use a Drain Weasel
Have a drain that’s taking forever to drain? The very first thing I do when this happens is I go to the hardware store and buy a Drain Weasel. Buy the actual name-brand version of Drain Weasel as they work the best. If you try to save $2 buying the solid plastic barbed stick, you’re going to have a much harder time pushing the stick down the drain.
A Drain Weasel, in contrast, is easy to slip down the drain and easy to slip out. They grab a LOT of gunk as well. Stick this down the drain, twirl the handle, and pull it out. This will get all of the hair and slime down within range of the Weasel that is down there.
Keep your mouth shut when you pull the Drain Weasel out (trust me on that). This can often be the only thing that you have going wrong with your drain. Regularly sweeping out the sludge and hair that’s in a drain is not only better for your pipes in general, but you’ll end up with a much happier tub or sink as well.
Use septic tank “happy juice” routinely
If you have a septic tank, this is something you are going to want to consider pouring down your drain twice a year or so. It’s basically a juice filled with little teeny creatures that eat up the sludge that’s in your septic tank.
Have you ever had your septic tank backup? It’s a nightmare. Not only do you end up with crap all in your house (which in turn can ruin carpets, drywall, furniture, and whatever else is on the ground), but it will also cost you to hire a plumber to come out to fix the solution.
In my experience, this only happens when you have friends over for a party. And nobody likes a party pooper.
Regularly using septic tank happy juice causes all of that crap in the septic tank to break down before it can cause a problem.
Clogged toilet? Have you considered a toilet drain auger?
This is a gigantic version of a Drain Weasel specifically designed for toilets. You’re not really going to need this unless your toilet has been having problems draining of late. They normally run around $50, but if you suspect that there’s a clog in your toilet pipes that you want to try to get out yourself before you pay $150 for a plumber, it may be worth a shot.
Do not pour your bacon grease down your sink.
You would think this would be common sense, but it’s not. What happens when you leave bacon grease sitting out at room temperature? It turns into a nasty, greasy sludge. If you pour your bacon grease down your sink, what do you think it’s going to do once it gets into your pipes and once more returns to room temperature?
It’s going to turn into sludge – in your pipes. You don’t want that to happen. To avoid this, do not pour your bacon grease down the sink. Personally, what I do is pour it into a designated coffee mug. Once it’s cooled, I then scoop it out and throw it in the trashcan. I don’t pour it directly into the trash can because it’ll melt through the plastic of the trash bag.
Use a TubShroom
I recently discovered these, and I think they’re great. It’s a little mushroom that you put in the drain that catches all the hair. All you have to do is take out the current metal drain in your shower and replace it with the TubShroom. When the tub starts to slow down with its draining again, all you have to do is take out the TubShroom, pull off the goopy mess, and throw it in the trash before you reinstall the TubShroom.
These little guys cost about $13 apiece and can save you a good amount of money on Drain Weasels and caustic chemicals over the years.
If you have to hire a plumber, do not ask to watch.
If you have a cranky enough plumber, he will add a “teacher’s fee” to your bill. It won’t be itemized or listed. He won’t even tell you that he’s done it. But he’ll do it all the same. Will every plumber out there do this?
No, there are plenty of them out there that won’t. But I am telling you that there are guys out there who do this to people, and you won’t know until it’s too late. Nobody likes somebody looking over their shoulder as they work, and your plumber is no different.
What are your tips for keeping your plumbing working well?
I’m not a plumber. It’s typically an aspect of DIY home stuff that I like to avoid (I have family that’s much better at it than I). But the point is that even a plumbing idiot like me can do these above steps. If I can do it, you can do it.
What other things do you do to save money on future plumber bills, though? Are there other tips you know of that we didn’t list here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has three published books, The Faithful Prepper, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.
1 thought on “How to Save Money on Plumbers”
I really hate to say it but if you don’t have a sewer clean out, have one installed if at all possible. It’s an easy access to your sewer line and if you have trees growing on your property can save you a bundle in roto-rooter type services over the long term. You can shop around and have a local plumber install it for less than the big guys, in most cases. Make sure you get a few estimates before the job is begun and don’t take estimates from any plumbers who charge to come out. Plenty will give you an estimate for free.
Example: If my rooter type service has to go up on my roof and through the vent to clean my drain, they charge around $500. I could have it done for around $100 per visit with a clean-out. It might cost a couple grand (depending on depth of line and area) to have it installed but if you have root problems it’s worth it.
There are some DIY drain cleaning things you can do, such as using boiling water, or vinegar and baking soda, if you have a stuck drain. Check online and heed safety warnings. Also be advised that some plumbers will charge you more if you call them in after using caustic substances in your pipes, it’s due to the hazard of possibly getting Lye or Drano splashed on their skin. It’s well worth shopping around and finding a good local plumber. Get to know them and treat them well and you won’t be sorry.