Sewer lines are found in every home, but they are not usually paid much attention to until something goes wrong. Most people only think about the sewers when there is a serious clog or blockage. We even tend to delay routine maintenance without realizing the expensive damage it can cause. When done regularly, sewer line cleaning can save the hassle and a small fortune on repair costs. Professionals should be called immediately when there is a foul smell, backed-up drains, or clogged sewer lines.
The national average rate for sewer cleaning prices ranges between $200 and $600, with most people paying around $250 for a main sewer line cleaning with minimal-to-no excavation to access the cleanout. This project’s low cost is $150 for light-duty professional sewer cleaning with a snake. The high cost is $1,000 for hydro-jetting the main sewer line to resolve a full blockage.
|Cost to Unclog a Sewer Line|
|National average cost||$250|
Sewer lines 1 can develop many issues, from unpleasant odors to backed-up drains. Cleaning your sewer line can help eliminate these issues by allowing water and waste to pass unimpeded. Cleaning your sewer line can help solve and prevent these issues. By cleaning your line regularly, you can avoid odors and backed-up sewage. The cost to clean the line can be directly related to the issue because each may need a different solution. Below is a table of the most common problems and how much each costs to resolve.
|Problem||Cost to Repair|
|Sewer Line Smell||$100 - $200|
|Backed-Up Drain||$150 - $300|
|Clogged Sewer Line||$250 - $800|
The cost to clean your sewer line to remove an unpleasant odor is $100 to $200. Many things could cause your drains or sewer lines to emit a foul odor. It may smell rotten or like sewage in a worst-case scenario. Even if there are no other signs of a blockage or more serious problem, if you can smell your sewer lines at all, they probably need a good cleaning. While you can purchase drain cleaners from home improvement stores and other retailers, it is often best to leave the cleaning to professionals because you never know how safe or effective those dangerous chemicals are.
The cost to clean a backed-up drain averages $150 to $300, depending on where the drain is located and how difficult it is to clean. A backed-up drain could have several causes, including improper maintenance, putting things down the drain that should not be, or a grease or hair blockage. If it is a main drain or outside line, tree roots could be in the way, or there could be other dirt and debris from breakdown and age.
Clearing a clogged sewer line costs $250 to $800, depending on where the clog is located, what causes it, and the necessary cleaning. A clogged sewer line is typically an indication of a much larger problem. The main sewer line is much larger and can typically handle more volume than the average drain in your home. If the sewer line is clogged, it could be from tree roots, dirt or sewage, or crumbling pipes that have aged and need to be replaced. Cameras may be needed to clear the clog if it is hard to find, increasing costs.
Just as several problems occur with a sewer line, there are also several potential methods for dealing with the issue. Depending on what is clogging the line or what build it may have, your plumber may recommend several methods for solving the issue. This may include chemical cleaners, snaking or rodding the line to break the clog, hydro-jetting the line, or replacing sections if they are badly damaged by tree roots. Each method may also have a range of associated costs based on where the clog is located, the cause, and how difficult it is to reach. The table below lists the most common methods and their costs.
|Chemical Cleaner||$20 - $300|
|Snake||$150 - $375|
|Hydro-Jetting||$250 - $1,000|
|Section Replacement||$1,000 - $20,000|
Chemically cleaning your sewer lines costs $20 to $300. Chemical cleaning usually involves pouring a caustic substance into the line to dissolve the clog. Depending on the cause, a chemical cleaner can remove organic clogs like hair and grease. Some can also tackle slow draining lines by removing buildup on the sides of the pipes. Your plumber decides if this is the correct treatment for your drain because caustic chemicals should not be used in every situation. This method is usually avoided if there is standing water in the drain.
The cost to rod a sewer line is $150 to $375. Rodding or snaking feeds a long flexible auger 2 into the affected line. The auger is extended until it reaches the clog and breaks it up. Sometimes, it may push the clog through. Other times, it may fish the material out. The cost depends on how far down the line the clog is and the clog’s cause. Line snakes come in many sizes and lengths, and some may use an attached camera.
Hydro-jetting a sewer line ranges from $250 to $1,000. Hydro-jetting is like snaking the sewer line with water instead of a physical wire or hose. It can be more costly than standard snake services because of the equipment but gentler on the drains and removes certain clogs and full blockages better. Like standard snaking, the cost varies on the clog type and distance. The more severe the clog, the higher your total costs.
A sewer line replacement costs $1,000 to $20,000, depending on the location of the damaged area, its length, and materials. Sometimes, sewer lines become clogged due to incursions with tree roots. The pipe may also break down or corrode, leading to more frequent clogs. The existing pipe must be replaced in these cases to solve the problem permanently. There can be a wide range of costs because this may require trenching and reaching difficult-to-access areas.
Sewer line cleaning can be done through various means, and the work is generally performed by a licensed plumber. Plumbers typically charge $75 to $150 per hour for work outside of specific jobs like those discussed above. Cleaning a sewer line can be accomplished through hydro-jetting, snaking/rodding, or chemical drain cleaners. In extreme cases, full or partial replacement of the drain lines may be required, exponentially increasing the cost.
The job is typically charged at a project or flat rate in the mid-range project mentioned above, where the average main sewer line cleaning cost is $250 without a video inspection. However, if it were charged hourly, most clogs require about 1 to 2 hours of work, so expect to spend $75 to $300 on labor for a basic main line clog or cleaning. Replacing the drain line can take several hours or several days, depending on the location, and may require more than one worker, with labor costs of between $800 and $18,000.
The sewer line “cleanout” refers to a specific system part, not the cleaning process discussed above. The cleanout is typically found near the base of the main stack in the home, and there is also a cleanout located in the yard, usually between the house and street, for access to the in-ground lines outside. However, the only access may be via a roof vent in some properties.
This part may break and need replacement, or it may be determined that it would behoove your home to install a more accessible cleanout in your existing system for future needs. In either case, replacing the cleanout typically costs between $1,000 and $3,500, depending on the line location and replacement difficulty. Jobs that require extensive retrofitting or excavation cost significantly more, while simple cleanout replacement or installation is fairly in expensive.
Sometimes, it is important to do a video inspection before beginning sewer line cleaning or repairs. This can help the plumber better understand what is going on and which repairs may be required. Technology has made these inspections simple, thanks to advanced cameras small enough to be more accommodating than the average drain snake 2. However, these inspections also include a price. Expect to spend $300 to $600 to clean or repair your sewer lines when a video inspection is required.
Several issues can cause a sewer back-up in the home or lines. The biggest issue is a broken, clogged, or collapsed drain or sewer line. This is a very common occurrence in older homes or homes with materials like clay or iron. This causes severe deterioration and corrosion, leading to breakdown and eventual failure. Because this is happening underground, many people do not notice until it is too late and much more expensive than anticipated.
Sewage back-up can occur in all homes for several reasons. It may be related to the improper installation of a cleanout, lack of access to proper drainage, or improper drain flow driving the waste back into the home. This is a very dangerous situation and must be resolved immediately. Not only does it smell terrible and risk ruining your home, but it is dangerous for your health to breathe raw sewage. Call the professionals immediately and stay out of your home until the problem is resolved for your safety.
The average timing for cleaning a sewer line to prevent problems is every 18 to 22 months. Your exact timing depends on the number of occupants and bathrooms in your home. If you have a high-occupancy home, you may need to clean it closer to every 18 months, while smaller homes with 1 bathroom can go 22 months or more. This timetable is for general maintenance. If you think your line may be clogged or there are other issues, you should not wait to clean it. In these cases, have it cleaned even if it is ahead of schedule to prevent backed lines and other issues.
When a clog or blockage is severe, it is usually obvious. However, there may be small early signs of a sewer line clog that could be overlooked if you are unsure what to watch for. Keep an eye out for gurgling that may come from the sink or drains, such as gurgling in the toilet when you turn on the sink or vice versa when you flush the toilet. You may also see water backing up in the bathtub, shower, or sink. Sometimes, the washing machine causes sinks and toilets to overflow if there is a clog in the sewer line.
Watch for several warnings, but the most important is to know what normal sewer line operation looks like. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, call a plumber. The sooner you can address a clog, the less expensive it is. Do not attempt major unclogging efforts on your own because you may cause more damage and cost yourself more than necessary. Always call a professional whenever you suspect a sewer line clog.
Storm drains should be cleaned every 18 to 22 months, even if they are not clogged or backing up. They take in debris and generally have more build-up than people realize. Fortunately, storm drain cleaning is a service that can be done with sewer line cleaning by the same technician. It typically incurs a small additional charge if you already have work done. The average person spends $200 to $600 on this service, depending on if it is preventative or performed to remove a clog or blockage.
Sewage back-up occurs when a serious blockage has built up or the main drainage system has broken or collapsed, leaving the sewage nowhere to go. Depending on the severity, there could be a lot of cleanup. Replacing or repairing the pipes and sewer lines typically costs $1,000 to $5,000. You may also need damage restoration cleanup services, typically charging $7 per sq.ft. of area needing to be cleaned. Because this is hazardous waste, you should never attempt the job yourself.
If the main drain is clogged with other drains, expect to spend $350 to $650 to clear that drain. If the clog is more difficult or the main drain is hard to access, the cost could go into the thousands due to excavation, labor, and other expenses. A video inspection could also increase the sewer drain cleaning cost if it is required to identify the clog before clearing.
Professional drain snaking 2 costs $150 to $375, but it may cost more or less depending on the clog location and type.
The average costs range from $200 to $600, depending on the clog and level of work.
It may be possible if the clog is small and close to the drain. However, you need professional help if it is the main sewer line.
The most common cause is methane gas sitting too close to the ground after it rains due to atmospheric pressure. It is most common for homes with septic tanks, but a storm drain near your home can also be the source.