There are several major factors that can impact the cost of drain clearing, including:
- The location of the clog
- How difficult the clog is to reach
- The severity of the problem causing the clog
- The use of a video camera for inspection
- The plumber you hire
You’ll need a plumber to give you an exact quote, but to help you prepare and budget, we’ll explain how each factor impacts your overall drain cleaning cost.
Cost Factor #1: The location of the clog
If the clog is in your main sewer line, it will be more expensive to clear.
To understand why, let’s take a look at the two types of drain lines in your home:
1.) Main sewer line
Your main sewer line is what carries wastewater directly to the city sewer (or your home’s septic tank). It’s usually located beneath your yard and can be difficult to access.
A tell-tale sign of a main sewer line clog is when multiple drains in your home are clogged all at once. Example: You flush the toilet and your shower backs up with sewage.
In this case, your plumber will probably do a camera inspection to pinpoint the exact location of the clog. If the clog is located further down the line, they’ll need specialized machinery to access it. This will probably increase your cost, as more time and equipment are necessary.
2.) Secondary sewer lines
Secondary sewer lines carry wastewater from secondary sources, such as your bathroom sink, toilet, shower, washing machine etc., which then funnel into the main sewer line.
For secondary lines, when it’s just a single fixture that’s clogged (your kitchen sink for example) your plumber can probably clear it using simple tools in a matter of hours.
Cost Factor #2: How difficult the clog is to reach
The more difficult the clog is to access, the more expensive it will be to clear.
To clear main sewer line clogs, your plumber will need to access the “cleanout.” This could be located outside (somewhere between your house and the street), in your basement (set into the foundation) or even in one of your bathrooms or utility closets.
Usually identified by a 3-4 inch plastic cap, the cleanout is where your home’s plumbing system connects to the main sewer or septic. Once opened, your plumber can begin working to clear the clog.
If the cleanout takes more time and labor to reach, your cost will increase. For example, if you have an exterior cleanout covered by several feet of landscape, your plumber could spend quite a bit of time digging to access it.
Note: If the clog isn’t located in either the main sewer or secondary lines, you might have an issue with your sewer vent pipe. Located on the roof, it ventilates sewage gas while regulating air pressure. When clogged with leaves and other debris, it can stop your sewer line from draining correctly.
Because it’s more difficult to reach, sewer vent clean outs are more expensive to fix.
Cost Factor #3: The severity of the problem causing the clog
If the clog is severe, expect to pay more for both time and specialized machinery.
Two common methods of drain clearing include:
1.) Drain cleaning cable machines (less expensive)
Examples of drain cleaning cable machines include handheld tools, like drain snakes and motorized “augers” that spin to break up clogs. These work well for minor clogs caused by:
- Food waste
- Toilet paper and wipes
- Hygiene products
- Leaves and yard debris
- Small tree roots
2.) Sewer jetter machines (more expensive)
Sewer jetter machines spray high pressurized water to cut right through major clogs. These work well for main sewer line clogs caused by:
- Large tree roots
- Long-term sewage sludge
- Stubborn grease, fat and oil
Although more expensive, sewer jetter machines are highly effective for stubborn clogs, or when a manual tool could possibly damage your drain.
Cost Factor #4: A video camera inspection
If your plumber can’t visibly see where the cause of the clog is, a camera inspection may be necessary.
Using industry-grade waterproof technology, your plumber will insert a sewer camera cable down your drain in order to see what’s clogging it.
The cost depends on how easily your cleanout can be accessed, as well as the length of your pipes.
However, by identifying the source of the problem and where it’s located, your plumber can plan the fastest (and least expensive) way to fix it. Saving you money in the long-run!
Cost Factor #5: The plumber you hire
A quality plumber will usually charge more money for their services.
When searching for a trustworthy professional, make sure to look for one that has:
- Proof of license and insurance
- 10+ years of experience
- 5 star reviews from customers in your area
- Transparent and up-front cost estimates
- A clear guarantee of work to be completed
There’s nothing more important than the safety of your home. To avoid any long term damage to your drains, it’s best to go with the slightly more expensive professional who’s guaranteed to deliver.
Get a quote from a plumber you can trust. Call Michael & Son today.
We offer 24/7 emergency support, ando ur NATE-certified plumbers can clear most drains the same day. Schedule an estimate now and see why customers have trusted us for more than 40 years.
This blog was written on Feb 22, 2021. Any pricing information is subject to change.