A clogged drain is a problem that nobody wants to have and often happens at the worst possible time. The average price for unclogging a drain is $225; however, you could pay as little as $90 or as much as $600.
Many contributing factors determine how much you will pay. Some factors include how severe the clog is and the cost of material and labor in your area. Plus, emergency service calls are more than a regular call. Drain line replacement could add hundreds to the average price, and a new septic tank could add thousands.
You might be able to clear some clogs yourself with a plunger, or by clearing the trap, using green or chemical cleaners, or a snake. You can often purchase a small snake or chemical drain cleaners for around $20.
When a plunger or drain cleaner aren’t enough to solve the problem, it’s time to consider hiring a professional.
Service Call Fees
The price you will pay for a service call depends on the time of the request. Emergency calls after hours can cost double or triple what a regular service call would be. However, waiting could cost much more if the spill overflows onto carpeting or damages walls.
Clogs to plumbing on the second floor of a split-level home could require ceiling and wall repairs as well. Learn more about the cost of drywall repair.
Regular Service Call
Since flooding can cause several thousands of dollars in damage rather quickly, a “regular” service call might not be the right word. However, when the clog happens during regular work hours, it is typically much less expensive than one that occurs in the middle of the night or on a national holiday.
You can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a regular service call when the clog can get cleared within an hour. Additional time or work will add an hourly charge of $50 – $200, depending on the going rate of labor in your area.
Read more about the cost of hiring a plumber and see more average hourly rates.
Emergency Service Call
When you are asked to work past 40 hours in a week or on holidays, the employer must pay time and a half. The same is true for plumbers. When you have ankle-deep water in the bathroom or kitchen because of a clogged drain, waiting until 9 am the next day might be unreasonable because water damage can add up rapidly.
Therefore, you might need to pay for an emergency service call, which average $300 for the visit. Emergency calls can also result in an added fee for their employee’s time and a half, resulting in more upcharges.
Depending on what the service call reveals, the plumber might need to clear the clog with a pressurized water jet or a snake.
Drain Snake Rental
When you intend to DIY your clog instead of calling a plumber, you might need to a snake. If a professional the snakes your drain, they typically charge $175 – $200. However, to rent a snake from a hardware store, it will cost between $35 and $50 per day.
When you estimate your project will take more than a day or two, you could rent one by the week or month. These rentals run $125 a week and $250 or more per month.
When you have the option of a handheld device or a motorized snake, choose the motorized snake for bigger jobs. Although these machine augers cost $50 or $100 per day, you can usually finish quicker. Ask the clerk or watch a video online to improve the technique and avoid damaging pipes.
Mainline Sewer Clogs
Usually, when there is more than one clog, it is a sign of a clogged main line. Often, tree roots grow through the pipe leading to the septic tank or public sewer. Plumbers can use several techniques to clear these clogs: snakes, which we already discussed, video line inspections, hydro-jets, and motorized drain snakes.
Video Line Inspection
A plumber might choose to use a video to find the exact location of the clog. The video will cost about $400 and could lead to pipe replacements, a hydro-jet, or a drain snake service.
Motorized Drain Snake
Motorized drain snake services usually do not employ a video inspection, and the average cost is $150 to $400 just to clear the clog
Hydro-jet services average $300 but could cost as much as $500. Due to the expense, hydro-jetting should get used as a last resort. The hydro-jet service uses a high-pressurized water stream to remove the blockage.
Generally, a small obstruction could get cleared with a plunger, snake, or auger. However, when the clog is not clear with one of those methods, a hydro-jet cleaning might solve the issue.
Hiring a Drain Specialist
Several companies specialize in drain service, and many plumbers can help as well. Use our contractor locator to get several no-obligation, free estimates from plumbing and drain professionals in your area.
Drain Clog Prevention
To save headaches and cash, homeowners should take these steps to minimize or eliminate drain clogs.
First, never pour grease, oils, or fat into the drain. Many assume if they pour the hot grease in the drain and rinse it with hot water, it will go down without problems. However, the fat will probably not make it to the septic tank or cesspool before it congeals.
The condensed fat will stick to the pipes. That fat will start to collect every solid that comes down the drain such as hair, soap scum, etc., Eventually, you will have to use a snake to clear the pipe.
Second, leave the water running in the disposal for a while (30 seconds is good) after use.
Third, make sure all drains have a screen to catch hair and other debris and clean the screen after each use.
Finally, periodically pour a mixture of ½ cup of baking soda and boiling water down the drain to dissolve grease, especially in the kitchen. Let the mixture set in the pipes for ten minutes and then rinse it down with hot tap water.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.