Saint Paul, MN -- March 6, 2012 --
As spring draws near, many homeowners begin the process of spring cleaning, which often includes getting their drains cleaned. Drain cleaning rids your home of unwanted odors, and helps avoid clogged sinks, overflowing toilets, and laundry room floods. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) advises consumers to prepare themselves and do preliminary research before hiring someone to clean their drains this spring. Consumers should be aware that not all drain cleaners are licensed plumbers. However, many plumbers do perform drain cleaning services.
Drain clogs have many different causes, with the most common causes involving weather, remnants of materials that are flushed down toilets or sinks, or tree roots growing through breaks in the pipes. Homeowners are responsible for the section of pipe running from the home to its connection with the city pipe, which is usually found under the street. Your local water and sewer department can tell you what your responsibility is and consumers should check with them before having any work performed.
Because regular home maintenance may not take care of drain issues completely, many homeowners look to professional drain cleaning and plumbing businesses to solve these problems.
"It's important for consumers to know what questions to ask their prospective drain cleaners so they can avoid misunderstandings and potential complications," says Dana Badgerow, President and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.
The BBB recommends following these tips to help ensure a painless drain-cleaning experience:
Get references from friends and relatives and contact the Better Business Bureau to obtain free Business Reviews on any companies you consider hiring. Visit www.bbb.org or call 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.
Explore a variety of options. Shop around and get more than one estimate. Homeowners can expect different companies to suggest different options for solving problems, which also means varying price points. Some of the different options may include taking a video of the line, which helps to determine the best course of treatment to solve the drain back-up issues, as well as any possible collapse of the pipe. It's also a good idea to ask companies what they charge for this service upfront.
Call before you dig. Homeowners should also have 'call before you dig' services out before any digging is started. Many drain cleaning companies will include this call as part of their service package, but ask ahead of time. Let the drain cleaner know if any other utility work has been performed in the past few years.
Beware of additional fees. Ask about trip fees and other additional fees. Understand that most companies cannot give a true and accurate price quote without seeing the extent of the problem in your home.
Keep the company informed. Before the drain cleaners begin any work, inform them if you (or someone else) have recently tried a chemical or other treatment to clean your drains. Several chemical treatments do work but may need additional time to take full effect. In addition, some of the chemicals a homeowner may use might have harmful effects on the people working to clear the drain or may react badly with treatments performed by the drain cleaning company.
Make sure you understand the process. Get information from the company about what kind of techniques they'll use to clean your drains. If they use chemicals, make sure to verify that they will not cause problems for the pipes you have and that they are compatible with other drain cleaning products you might buy and use in the future. Oftentimes, drain cleaners will offer to sell you some of the same product they use so you can maintain your drains after their work is completed.
Ask about the company's warranty. Make sure to find out all the details about follow-up and potential issues that could arise in the future. Some companies will offer a one year warranty, while others offer a six month warranty.
Do your research. Find out what caused the problem and how often it may occur in the future. Consider main line repairs, which can be expensive, but will often resolve the problems for many years to come.
For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org/us/bbb-news.