Nationwide, the average cost to clean a clogged drain is $150 to $200. This covers both the cost to find the clog and clear the drain. Most plumbing companies will charge a flat rate of $50 - $150 to come out, which also covers the first hour of work.
While many plumbers will charge an hourly rate to fix a drain that's clogged, some have fixed rates for common jobs like drain cleaning services. How much you pay will depend on the type of plumbing fixture that's clogged and how hard it is to access it.
No homeowner wants to get stuck with a toilet that won't flush or unknown blockage in the kitchen sink. Before you call a local plumber to unclog your drain, get an estimate on how much this common plumbing problem will cost.
What's in this cost guide?
- Drain cleaning cost factors
- How do I hire a professional to unclog a drain?
How much you pay for drain cleaning services depends on the location of the clog, the cleaning technique the plumber uses to clear it, and whether or not you need other plumbing repairs at the same time.
The location of your clog will impact the price to have a professional plumber clear it. In general, problems with pipes inside your house, like your kitchen sink or toilet, will cost less than repairing clogs in outdoor pipes connecting to the sewer or your main line.
Below are the national average costs to clear a clog based on where in your house it is:
|Location of clog||Average price range|
|Kitchen sink||$100 to $225|
|Bathroom sink, shower, or tub||$150 to $225|
|Laundry drain||$150 to $215|
|Toilet||$110 to $275|
|Main sewer line||$100 to $800|
One of the biggest factors that affects what you pay a plumber to unclog a drain is the technique they use to unclog it. There are two basic drain cleaning methods, snaking and hydro jetting.
Below is the national average cost for these two common drain cleaning methods:
- Snaking: $195
- Hydro jetting: $350 - $600
Snaking is the most common way to fix a slow-running drain or remove occasional clogs—like the Legos your toddler flushed down the toilet. A plumber pushes a long, coiled metal auger called a plumbing snake into a drain to dislodge a clog. The auger is thin and flexible, and can be pushed through the P-trap, the curvy pipe under your sink and toilets that's the number one location of clogs in the plumbing system.
An auger is also called a toilet jack or a rooter. Depending on the location and severity of the clog, a plumber may use a hand snake or a motorized one. Snaking tends to be less expensive than hydro jetting. For example, a Thumbtack pro and professional plumber in Denver charges $195 to snake a kitchen sink.
Hydro jetting, also known as water jetting, is an alternative to snaking. The price for hydro jetting ranges between $350 and $600, with complex work running as high as $1,000. This technique involves the plumber putting a high-pressure hose into a clogged drain and shooting a powerful jet of water into the pipes to blast away grease buildup and other goo.
It's a more powerful drain cleaning tool than a plumbing snake and does a more thorough drain clearing job. Since the plumber is using high-pressure water to clear the drain, this is also a non-chemical, eco-friendly way to unclog a drain.
However, older pipes may not be able to handle the high pressure. If you have old pipes, most plumbers recommend a video inspection before using hydro-jet drain cleaning to be certain the high-pressure water blast won't damage the pipes.
If the plumber isn't sure what's clogged your drain or toilet, they can do a video inspection on a pipe. This involves sending a hi-res video camera into your sewer line or pipes to look for the drain problem. The camera is mounted on a flexible metal rod that the plumber pushes through the plumbing and transmits images in real time, so they can see exactly where the problem is.
A video inspection can help a plumber see into underground pipes and those in your home's foundation without digging up the yard or ripping up floors.
The average cost for a video inspections is around $395 nationwide, but can range from $290 to $640. You'll be charged separately for drain cleaning and plumbing repairs. However, some plumbers may include a free video inspection with a standard drain cleaning service.
Sometimes a clogged drain is caused by bigger problems, like damaged pipes. If a plumber has to remove and replace old pipes with new ones, it can cost as little as $200 and up to several thousand dollars. The national average cost to replace old pipes is $2 per linear foot, depending on the type of pipe you use and where it's located.
If more than one drain or other plumbing fixture is backed up, you may have a blockage in the main sewer line that serves your entire house. A sewer line stoppage can be caused by broken pipes, tree roots growing into a pipe, or debris like toilet paper catching on the interior of the pipes.
Clearing a main line stoppage requires snaking (also known as rodding) or hydro-jetting the line through a sewer cleanout or an exterior drain vent. Costs range from $100 to $600, depending on the clog severity and tools used for sewer line cleaning.
Snaking a sewer line is cheapest, costing $100 to $250, while hydro-jetting costs $350 to $600. If your sewer line is damaged and needs repairs, expect to pay $1,800 to $3,700 for labor only.
Sewer line replacement—which involves pulling out old pipes and installing new ones—costs $50 to $450 per linear foot including materials, with the national average total cost running $3,900.
If you have plumbing issues on a weekend, after hours, or on a holiday and need the fixed immediately, you may be billed double or triple the usual rates for an emergency call, or about $135 to $190 per hour.
General plumbers are the best choice for basic repairs like a clogged toilet or sewer line blockage. Before you hire a local plumber, be sure to:
Make sure the plumber is licensed and insured and ask how long they've been in business. Your best bet is to hire a master plumber with at least five years of plumbing experience. Every state licenses plumbers, so be sure the one you hire has his credentials in order. A handyman with a plumbing snake and no formal plumbing training could damage pipes and create a bigger problem than a clogged drain.
Ask for a detailed estimate. Get a written estimate that breaks down exactly what's included in the total cost, including the hourly labor rate and any surcharges for travel, difficulty accessing the drain, or fees for emergency plumbing visits.
Ask if video inspection is included in your plumbing costs. Avoid getting hit with an additional line item on your bill and ask your plumber if inspections are included or not before they get started.
Prevent clogs by not allowing materials that cause them to get washed down the your bathroom and kitchen sink drains—hair and grease, in particular. In the kitchen, do not overload the garbage disposal.
Don't suffer through a sink, toilet, or shower that won't drain. Find a local plumber near you on Thumbtack to return your home to a clog-free zone.