The cost to hire a plumber will vary, depending on what needs to get fixed. However, the longer you put it off, the more it will cost. Water damage can cost a lot to clean up, but waiting could lead to a mold infestation. Mold cleanup will cost even more.
The national average for a plumber’s service call is $300. In areas where the labor rate is less, expect to pay between $150 – $200. Whereas large cities will cost around $400. Plumbers usually charge $50 – $150 per hour.
If the service call is an emergency and requires an off-hours trip, expect to pay a $50 to $100 per hour premium over the normal hourly rate.
Clogged Drains & Stopped Up Toilets
These are the most common reasons to hire a plumber. In some cases, a little perseverance with a plunger could clear the clog. Yes, you can use a plunger in the sink. There are multiple eco-friendly or “green” drain cleaners sold at many of the big box stores.
First, you might try a home remedy consisting of two cups of baking soda, four cups of boiling water, and one cup of white vinegar. Remove standing water, pour one cup of baking soda in the drain, then two cups of hot water, repeat, and then, add the vinegar.
Another option is to rent a “snake.” You could also buy a drain snake at a hardware store for $5 – $10. Slide the snake down the drain and rotate it to loosen the blockage or debris. Then, slowly pull it back out, so you get most of the debris on the snake’s bristles.
When a plunger, home remedy, or snake does not relieve the clog, it’s time to call a plumber. Expect to pay the full price of a service charge, and then, whatever is needed to clear the clog. The average charge for a plumber or drain expert to unclog a drain is $225.
Sometimes, a clogged toilet could be a sign the septic tank needs to get emptied or replaced.
Leaks & Burst Pipes
Usually, when a pipe bursts, it is because it froze. The most significant expense for a burst pipe is cleaning up the water damage. A burst pipe is normally apparent, but finding and fixing the leak usually costs around $300.
Then, you will need to repair the drywall or other water damage, and you might also need to add insulation. Check our drywall repair cost guide, but the average cost for a 4′ x 8′ or smaller job is $50 – $100 for a repair.
Much like using a plunger to solve a clog, toilets are often fixed by removing the lid and looking for the problem. Quite often, the chain fell off the stopper. Typically, when you push down on the handle to flush, the chain attached to the handle arm lifts the stopper, which keeps water in the tank.
Occasionally, the “S” hook comes off the chain. Just hook it back up and flush. When the “S” hook is broken on either end, you can replace it with a paperclip. There are some other DIY fixes in the tank, you just have to open it and look. Plus, you can buy a DIY kit to repair the inside components at the hardware store.
When you have done everything you can, and it’s still not working, then it is time to call a plumber. The cost for toilet repair is typically between $150 and $300. Some plumbers will break out the price they paid for parts and a separate charge for labor; others will charge a flat rate for a service call.
Water or Gas Main Repairs
Everyone in the family old enough to turn a knob should know where the shutoff for these two are. When water is squirting everywhere is no time to look for it. If you can smell gas, get out. Any little spark could set it off.
A new valve for the water main shutoff is $150 – $300 to replace. Replacing the gas valve is usually up to the gas company.
Water Heater Replacement or Repair
Water heater repairs are typically less than $500. However, new high-efficiency water heaters are $1,000 – $1,500, and the tankless variety run $1,200 – $1,800, depending on the brand.
Septic & Sewer
Repairs to sewer lines can cost upwards of $2,000 – $2,500, and replacing a sewer or septic line, around $3,000. There can be additional costs to this repair, such as repairing lawn, landscaping, and in rare cases public roads.
Cleaning or pumping out a septic system is about $300 – $400. Repairs to the septic tank are about $1,500 – $2,000; while an entire septic system replacement will cost $5,000 – $7,000.
The average cost to fix a sump pump is $300 – $500; while installing a new one is about $750 – $1,500, depending on the model.
Shower, Bath, & Surround Replacements
The installation of a new bathtub will cost $1,000 – $3,000, depending on the tub, hardware, and surround you choose. You might pay a little more for a shower and enclosure, $1,500 – $4,000, depending once again on the material, hardware, and enclosure.
Pipe Leaks Within a Concrete Slab
When a leak occurs under a concrete slab, it might be necessary to jackhammer the concrete slab. These leaks also occur within the floor where radiant heat pipes run. Either way, the first thing the plumber will need to do is find the leak.
These leaks can get expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000. This project will require finding the leak, repairing it, and then, repairing everything that got torn up in the process.
Get as many estimates as possible and check their references. Check our concrete slab removal and repair guide to get an idea of the different charges that are possible.
How to Find a Plumber
If you have the time, we suggest asking friends and family for references for plumbers they have worked with in the past. We can also help you get free estimates from licensed professional plumbers in your area.
Before starting any new or remodeling building project, check with your local building inspector. It might be necessary to get a building permit. These are usually $20 – $100 for smaller projects. Your plumber will also be able to let you know if you’ll need a permit for the work and will advise you on the costs.
Before you hire a plumber, check our other plumbing, heating, and cooling resources.
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.