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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone by chance know where I might find the licensing requirements for drain cleaning in states?

This is especially important since as far as I know, licensing does not transfer in most cases....especially if you are moving to a larger metro area(no idea why population size matters here)

I know in OK, licensing is not required for drain cleaning, same with Nebraska here. Not sure about other places.

Of course - that varies by city as well as state I know.
 

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Tounces said:
....I know in OK, licensing is not required for drain cleaning...
As long as you never have to remove a p-trap, pull a toilet, or knock a hole in a building sewer with no C.O. :whistling2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm, from what I've known, that's covered in at least those states.

Not sure how strict others are.

No idea why any state would require a license to remove a P-trap...any homeowner with the slightest bit of common sense can do that.
 

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In out city plumbing and drain cleaning are pretty much two separate trades. It wasn't until I started posting on here that I even realized there was people who did both. A few plumbers around here carry a small 3/8" machine just incase but for the most part call us or someone else to do anything as far as a mainline or camera or Jetter work. We are in Illinois and there is no license required to clean a sewer however after some of the **** ups I have seen it would defiantly support requiring one.

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Tounces said:
Hmm, from what I've known, that's covered in at least those states.

Not sure how strict others are.

No idea why any state would require a license to remove a P-trap...any homeowner with the slightest bit of common sense can do that.
It is not a matter of whether or not someone can take apart a p-trap. Assembling pvc, pex, and gastite doesn't take a lot of skill either. Licensing is not to confirm how to do something. It is to confirm that we know WHY to do (or not do) something.
 

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It is not a matter of whether or not someone can take apart a p-trap. Assembling pvc, pex, and gastite doesn't take a lot of skill either. Licensing is not to confirm how to do something. It is to confirm that we know WHY to do (or not do) something.
I know not to take the ptrap off because it will spill water on me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is not a matter of whether or not someone can take apart a p-trap. Assembling pvc, pex, and gastite doesn't take a lot of skill either. Licensing is not to confirm how to do something. It is to confirm that we know WHY to do (or not do) something.
Yeah, for the purpose of drain-cleaning, it's pretty irrelevant though. Especially because it's not like under-sink P-traps in one city/state are dramatically different than another city/state.

Frankly anything where you can buy the parts at Wal-mart, should not require a license.

Of course as I said - it's covered here in Nebraska - they are bright enough to realize that you cannot clean a kitchen sink drain without taking off a trap 90% of the time.
 

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In out city plumbing and drain cleaning are pretty much two separate trades. It wasn't until I started posting on here that I even realized there was people who did both. A few plumbers around here carry a small 3/8" machine just incase but for the most part call us or someone else to do anything as far as a mainline or camera or Jetter work. We are in Illinois and there is no license required to clean a sewer however after some of the **** ups I have seen it would defiantly support requiring one.

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I don't know of a single service/repair plumbing shop down here that does not do drain cleaning. Almost every new construction shop has a service plumber that does stoppages, also.

And, licenses are required here for any shop to operate. It is part of the plumbing trade.
 

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Tounces said:
...Frankly anything where you can buy the parts at Wal-mart, should not require a license....
You mean like angle stops, solder, and copper tubing?

I couldn't care less if they were giving the parts away free on every street corner.

Proper plumbing maintenance requires knowledge of how to protect potable water, how to properly handle sanitary drainage, and why it must be done. Licensing laws in our trade are already much too weak and in most states there is embarrassingly little enforcement.

No one has any business touching a plumbing system without knowing the implications of their actions. The only method we have for that (as flawed as it may be) is licensing. The more restrictive, the better.

Unlicensed drain cleaners are some of the worst violators of licensing laws. They are forever on the slippery slope of "while you are here...". They also have money making repair opportunities laid at there feet because they often discover a problem with the plumbing system in the course of maintaining drains.

So when a drain cleaning company cables a line only to find a broken riser, do you think they are really going to ignore the profit opportunity?
Will they not offer to replace the leaking water heater that initially looked like a backed up condensate drain?
Will they not offer to repair the broken closet flange?.
Will they not try to charge for replacing the lead tub drain that now has a hole from the cable?
Will they not charge to replace broken connection from a lav p-trap to the santee in the wall?

While there are some states that allow drain maintenance without specific training, testing, or credentials, that does not make it right. And of course there are countless people maintaining drains without credentials that are VERY PROFESSIONAL at what they do. But would it not be better to have verifiable expertise for those professionals rather than it be luck-o-the-draw?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You mean like angle stops, solder, and copper tubing?
No, was thinking more like P-traps, pop up assemblies, really low-end stuff, etc.

Never saw angle stops and copper tubing sold at Wal-mart before. What kinda plumber shops at Wal-mart for supplies that they would carry these things?

Yeah, they sell solder....but that's because solder is used for a ton of different things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Anyway - I fail to see where you can lead this to.

You're saying that, because there are other aspects of plumbing BESIDES drain cleaning, that it should be impossible for drain cleaners to do their job of actually cleaning drains. Since you're suggestion eliminates at least SOME methods of entering a drain - that makes it impossible for a strictly drain cleaning business to exist.

If drain cleaning businesses are doing something other than plumbing - that is irrelevant. Making more laws will not make people who are breaking the law less likely to do it.

You're pretty much setting it up so that the only possibly way someone can even clean drains, is to enter in through a plumbing apprenticeship - which isn't the easiest thing to get into in most areas.

You're also proposing to install a system that will DRASTICALLY raise the cost of drain cleaning for consumers. The moment you place an extreme number of restrictions on who can do it, prices will rise. Especially considering most people who go through apprenticeships tend to detest drain cleaning, further narrowing the field.

There is nothing inherent to specifically drain-cleaning that justifies requiring a license, assuming you follow the EXISTING laws. It does not take much plumbing knowledge to remove and replace a P-trap. It takes 2 hands and an IQ over 50. You don't have to know that it prevents gas from coming back up the line in order to do this, any more than changing a light bulb requires you to be an electrician.

The whole "License debate" is really just about reducing competition for those already licensed in the area they live in who have no plans to move. It's greed, pure and simple.

You cannot convince me that you're just so concerned for the well being of customers, that you want to protect them from rare plumbing issues that arise from drain cleaning, by skyrocketing the prices they are paying for it.

And if you're going to expect them to require a journeyman license for drain cleaning - then it's only fair that you have to call a journeyman electrician every time you need a light bulb changed, or a HVAC Tech every time you need to change the filter on your window AC unit.


As far as knowing the "why" of plumbing being important to drain cleaning - please give me at least one example where this is true. And this is assuming that existing laws are already being followed, otherwise it will be meaningless.
 

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Why would requiring a license sky rocket prices?

You would be the one raising prices, not your competition.

Knowing how plumbing is roughed in underground is an integral part of drain cleaning. Understanding simple concepts of double combinations and stacked crosses in the ground will help you avoid pulling back to back toilets and rodding past the San cross drop, getting into the back side toilet and breaking it with a cable head, for one example.

Being able to look at the lay out of a house or building design and picture how the underground is most likely put in will cut time and labor lugging machines back and forth between clean outs trying to clear stoppages.

Drain cleaners don't want to be required to hold a license so they can get their foot in the door with lower drain cleaning prices and when they find other plumbing issues that do require a license they throw that in with the bill..

I've seen it time and time again, hacked up install after hacked up install from handy man drain cleaner that offers a complete drain cleaning and throws in a water heater that my 5 year old could solder better on.

Most of us, I will venture to say all either served a 5 year apprenticeship or 5 years in the trade before testing with our respective states. We put in the leg work from the bottom to the top with school and studying code to pass, to be in completion with hacks who throw a machine in their truck as a drain cleaners and bypass that 5 years and set out with a bag of tools and a pipe wrench to save the plumbing world...

Licensing systems have nothing to do with greed, being a drain cleaner and throwing plumbing work in on top of said drain cleaning is...

Tounces said:
Frankly anything where you can buy the parts at Wal-mart, should not require a license.

.
Home Depot and Lowes are the Walmart of home improvement and complete plumbing systems are sold there, for cheap.

So any handy man or drain cleaner can go into those stores and buy whatever they want and charge sub par wages further driving down legitimate business's who operate inside their requirements.
 

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Anyway - You're pretty much setting it up so that the only possibly way someone can even clean drains, is to enter in through a plumbing apprenticeship - which isn't the easiest thing to get into in most areas.

Exactly.
 

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You are two years in as an apprentice. After 10 or more years and a whole lot of drain cleaning you will definitely understand why what you're saying is out of line and naive.

Drain cleaning isn't always straight forward and isn't always just a matter of needing 2 hands and an IQ of 50. It also isn't just a matter of removing a p-trap. What if the trap isn't the right one for the application? Would just any person know that? What will the unlicensed handyman do when that kitchen line that he's cleaning breaks inside the wall? Probably rig it up and hopefully make it down the street before it begins leaking and the customer notices. What if it is a lead drain in the wall with a chrome p-trap soldered onto it? Would the person with an IQ of 50 be able to notice that and properly deal with it?

An expert in a particular field usually makes their job look very easy to one who isn't an expert because they have the necessary experience and have worked under a j-man or master who showed them what to expect and how to deal with the unexpected. And that, Tounces, is why removing a p-trap and cleaning a drain properly typically requires a little more than 2 hands and an IQ of 50. If we lived in a perfect world and everything was made and installed perfectly than us service plumbers wouldn't really be needed, but we both know that's not the case.

Keep at it and one day you will see that though licensing isn't perfect it is one of our only ways of maintaining some consistency in procedures and it gives some peace of mind to the customer that this person is qualified, according to the state, to work on this and deal with the unexpected. This also applies to the seemingly simple job of drain cleaning. If that licensed person screws up, in Texas, at least, you can take action with the Licensing Board.
 

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If we use the reasoning that Tounces champions, we need to eliminate all licenses of any kind from driver's licenses to the licenses that doctors, attorneys, and all other professions.

After all. someone with one hand & an IQ of 50 can drive a vehicle & buy medicine.

Licenses are third party verification that you meet at least BASIC knowledge & competency to do a particular task or group of tasks and maintain the proper insurances in case something goes wrong & causes harm to another.
 

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Tounces, you're not going to win this debate here as I (strictly a drain & sewer cleaner) once was an active member (learning and contributing) but stopped posting because of the "your just a unlicensed scumbag/hack drain cleaner" treatment.

However, this forum is CLEARLY badged "plumbing professionals only" on top of every page.

Most members here frown on unlicensed drain cleaners and truthfully I can't say that I blame them. If I were to possess the proper license (which I do not) I would probably hold the same grudge.

There are other forums out there that are more forgiving on us drain cleaners, do a Google search maybe we'll see you there :)
 

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AT,
It is unfortunate that happened. If you are operating within your AHJ's guidelines then anyone that doesn't like it needs to get over it.

I certainly do not mean disrespect to you or other drain pros for not posessing a license if that is the law of your land.

I do disrespect the notion that training, testing, and licensing are not needed or that an IQ of 50 gets it done.
 

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Implying that drain cleaners are going to install a water heater or fix a faucet given the opportunity seems like you think we don't have much to do.

We clean approx 50-70 drain lines a week and constantly refer customers out to plumbing companies we know would do a good job.

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Implying that drain cleaners are going to install a water heater or fix a faucet given the opportunity seems like you think we don't have much to do.

We clean approx 50-70 drain lines a week and constantly refer customers out to plumbing companies we know would do a good job.

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I am not saying that every DC does it. But there are DC's around here that do. Not everybody has earned the workload or referral base that you have.

All too often unlicensed individuals view the regulation as irrelevant if they can get away witb it and/or if they believe they are qualified.

-OR-

As with Mr. Tounce, they believe getting licensed should be ignored if it is hard.

Just because you are a top notch pro does not mean everyone operates at that level.
 
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