By Gene and Katie Hamilton
About three-fourths of all drain problems occur in the sink, tub and shower lines. And you can be assured of one thing: if there's going to be a clogged drain at your house, it will happen before an important event or when you're in a hurry. That's why everyone should know how to unclog a drain so you're prepared to handle it. It'll cost you about $38 for a plunger, chemical drain opener and a hand auger. You also need a pot of hot water, a screwdriver, some wire and a pair of pliers.
Try any and all of these tactics. If there's a grate over the drain opening or a plunger that closes the drain inside it, remove them. Make a hook at the end of some wire and poke it to dislodge the clog. Try pouring hot water down the drain, followed by using a plunger. If the plunger you’re using won’t stick to the tub, wipe petroleum jelly all around its rim. Sometimes that helps to stick it to the tub surface so you can create a tight seal and pump it. Or use a chemical drain opener according to the directions. For a tub, you may have to remove the drain assembly by unscrewing the coverplate and screwing the cable of an auger into the drain to remove a clog.
Still no luck? Call a plumber or drain cleaning service who will charge about $148 to do the job.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to unclog a tub drain with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2019
The cost and time data is generated by averaging labor and material data from annually updated cost books used by contractors and refined by the authors'
experience remodeling 13 houses. They are authors of 20 home improvement books and Do It Yourself or Not, a weekly column syndicated by Tribune Content
Agency. The national cost can be adjusted by ZIP Code.