My basement drain was backing up. I called plumber #1 . Plumber #1 spent most of the morning trying to unsuccessfully clear the clog but most of that was waiting for equipment to arrive. One piece of equipment was a camera snake. I was told the camera service was $350 but if I agreed to have them do the work of clearing the clog, the charge for the camera would be taken off my bill. I agreed but the camera was basically useless. It is supposed to have a locator that would locate where the snake stopped. Either it was not working or the plumber did not know how to use the tool.
Plumber #1 guessed that the clog was either right inside the house. Or just outside the house. Estimates were from $2,000 - $4,500+ to dig up the pipes and repair.
Plumber #1 leaves and at the advice of a friend that knows just about everything there is to know about houses, advised that I get a second opinion and that plumber #1 did not know how to use his tools.
So I called plumber #2 . Within a half hour plumber #2 was able to snake 30 feet into my yard clearing a clog. Within that same time he stuck the camera in at no additional charge and was able to pinpoint the exact source of a second clog. Because the snake cleared the water, he was also able to identify the exact cause a tree root. He informed me that is the cause of the problem but there might be more beyond that first root. He said he should be able to repair the damage and should not need to dig up the whole drain pipe outside.
The way I figure it is that plumber #1 almost cost me needless thousands of dollars, trying to repair something that was not broken. In addition plumber #1 never found the trap clean out that plumber #1 found immediately (it was under my dryer and I long had forgotten that it was there). I figure I owe plumber #1 something. I owe for the service call and the snake service but I should not have to pay for the useless camera.
What do you think?