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How Much Does Roto Rooter Cost?

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Question: How Much Does Roto Rooter Cost?
How much does Roto Rooter cost to unclog a sewer main line and unclog a branch drain?
Answer: I have three occasions when I called Roto Rooter. The cost, at least in the Seattle (WA) area, is as follows:
  • Unclog Sewer Main Line: $350 base price.
  • Unclog Branch Line: $350 base price. They included their enzyme-based Roto-Rooter® Pipe Shield® product (not a clog opener, but a conditioner that, according to their site, "prevents organic materials such as fats, grease, soaps, and detergents from building up...")
  • Sewer Video Inspection: $250.

Was the Cost Worth It?

Cost aside, my experiences with Roto Rooter services are positive. Technicians are courteous and careful. Once, when I didn't receive my DVD of a video-scope within a couple of weeks, I called the main office. To my surprise, I received a call back from the manager with apologies, and the video came in the mail the next day.

But cost is an issue: you pay for the convenience. Thankfully, I don't have a lot of other emergency plumbing to compare with this. Unclogging the sewer main felt about right, given the amount of time spent on the job. But unclogging the branch drain seemed quite high. The plumber spent about 45 minutes at the house, 30 minutes of which were spent on the work itself. So, that's a $700 per hour plumber. I was definitely complicit in all this--I agreed to it, didn't I? It's a case of caveat emptor--be aware of what you're buying. In my case, I was desperate to get this drain moving.

One tip to help guard against this kind of impulse buy is to schedule two other plumbers before Roto-Rooter visits. That way, you'll have the obligation to see through this three-estimate process. Granted, this is only a mental obligation--you can always back out of the other two estimates--but it can be enough of a brake to hold you back from overspending.

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