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Unclog Kitchen Sink Cost

Unclog Kitchen Sink Cost

National average
$300
(close-proximity, unclog common household clog using snake or auger)
Low: $50

(close-proximity, common household clog using plunger or chemicals)

High: $1,000

(long-distance, unclogging clog in main drain using camera and auger, standing water removal)

Cost to unclog a kitchen sink varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from plumbers in your city.

The average cost to unclog a kitchen sink is $300.

In this guide

Cost factors
Causes
Location of the clog
Professional unclogging methods
Garbage disposals
Labor
How to prevent future clogs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to unclog a kitchen sink?

Clogged kitchen sinks are among the most common reasons for calls to plumbers, and the causes may vary dramatically. It is imperative to address clogged drains promptly, as this could be a sign of a much bigger, more hazardous plumbing issue.

While the underlying cause dictates the cost you will pay to resolve the situation, on average it will cost $300 to unclog the kitchen sink when a plumbing contractor comes for a common, household clog related to food or grease near your main drain.

Cost factors

Expect there to be some distinct factors that affect the cost of unclogging your kitchen sink:

  • The severity of the clog dictates the best method to unclog it; whether your plumber uses chemicals, a snake, or an auger 1 impacts the cost that you will pay.
  • If the kitchen sink needs to be removed to reach the clog, it will increase the time and subsequent labor costs associated with calling a plumber. Don’t forget about the time and money to put your sink and kitchen back together, too. During normal business hours, plumbers typically charge $45-$65 per hour for labor.
  • Accessibility to the plumbing also influences the cost to unclog a kitchen sink. If your kitchen has a funky configuration or layout, it could impact access to the clog.
  • The time of year also plays a part in how much you pay to unclog your kitchen sink. Rates and pricing can fluctuate from one season to the next; this may be due to workflow and high demand during specific times of the year.
  • If your clog is a result of numerous issues, you could have a bigger issue on your hands that will drive up the cost to unclog your kitchen sink due to increased labor and material costs.

Causes

Usually the underlying cause of a kitchen sink clog is human error; that is, disposing of food, grease, eggshells, or coffee grounds in your sink or garbage disposal. These typically can become a lot less frequent with some simple steps toward clog prevention, such as using traps on all your sinks and drains. There are more serious problems that can manifest as a clogged sink, such as a broken or damaged sewer line 2. These types of situations are usually diagnosed after other attempts to unclog the sink have proven unsuccessful and require more labor and materials than simple clogs.

Location of the clog

The first goal of your plumber should be to find the location of the clog. Whether it is near the kitchen sink branch line or in the main sewer line dictates how severe your plumbing situation is. The closer a clog is to your branch line, the easier it is to resolve; when you are looking at clogs in the main sewer line, you could have an extensive project on your hands. Make sure to call a professional plumber to address these stubborn situations.

The professional may also check the vent pipes on the roof of your home; these are prone to clogs due to birds or wildlife that nest nearby. You will need to remove whatever is clogging this vent to resolve the clog in your sink. Expect to pay around $400-$500 to have a contractor unclog your vent pipe and remove debris and wildlife.

Professional unclogging methods

So how will the professional plumber unclog your sink? There are a few tactics typically used; generally, they will start with the most non-invasive, like a snake or auger, and proceed depending on whether or not it does the trick.

MethodProsCons

Sewer snake

($150)

Cheap

Good for small to midsize clogs

Fast

Effective

Doesn’t resolve tough or large clogs

Doesn’t address corrosion or build-up on pipes

Doesn’t always identify source of clog

Electric power auger

($300)

Faster

Flushes away clogs and debris

Can be harsh and damaging to older or compromised pipes

Hydro-jetting

($400)

Flushes pipe with high-powered spray

Cleans pipes at same time

Good for bigger clogs

Can be damaging to older systems

May cause leaks or breakage

Opening/cleaning pipe

($600)

Opens up pipe to manually remove blockage

Effective

Messier

More complicated

Takes more time

Sewer line replacement

($3,000)

Resolves major plumbing issues effectively

Can conserve resources and utilities costs

Major plumbing project

Very expensive

Time-consuming


Garbage disposals

Whether or not your clogged sink has a garbage disposal is an important consideration when unclogging your kitchen sink. A garbage disposal makes the task more complex, as there are numerous causes for a disposal to fail and cause standing water. Also, the disposal requires a professional to safely disassemble the system to dislodge whatever is causing the clog. Frequently, cutlery or small items can become jammed inside the disposal. Know that when it comes to your garbage disposal clogs and malfunctions, it is always safest to rely on a professional plumber for resolution.

Labor

You run the risk of damaging delicate plumbing lines and pipes when trying to unclog a stubborn kitchen sink drain; hire plumbing professionals instead at an average rate of $45-$65 per hour. In other instances, you will be charged a flat rate to unclog a sink or address a plumbing issue; these rates are typically offered when you call to inquire about service and are guaranteed (with some limitations of course) regardless of how long it takes to complete the job. Plumbing contractors are best suited for unclogging your kitchen sink and typically can successfully tackle even the most stubborn clogs within a couple of hours.

Consumers living in urban areas and large cities will likely pay more than those living in rural regions and small towns. The time of day the clog occurs also affects labor costs. For instance, in an emergency plumbing scenario, expect to pay $300 to unclog a conventional sink with a common cause, but during non-business hours you will pay an additional call out fee between $50 and $100, and a premium of $50 to $75 per hour added to the regular hourly rate. Therefore, if their normal hourly rate is $50 per hour, you could be charged $100 to $125 per hour for emergency plumbing services in the evenings, or on weekends or holidays.

How to prevent future clogs

Perhaps your efforts are better spent in preventing clogs in the first place with practices like pouring boiling water down the kitchen drain periodically to melt away any residues that could eventually clog the sink. You could also use a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar poured down the sink when you notice a slower-than-usual drain.

Watch what you are washing down the drains in your home. Set aside a coffee can or metal receptacle to collect grease, fat, or oils that can congeal and clog your drain. These can be upcycled into homemade soap later or simply discarded in the trash. Scrape plates well into the kitchen trash before rinsing in the sink to prevent food particles from collecting in your drains; always secure your home’s drains with traps to ensure items and objects don’t get lodged in your pipes accidentally.

Also, schedule sewer line cleaning to ensure your sewer line doesn’t cause clogs in the home; the cost to clean a sewer main line is around $300, which is a lot cheaper than replacing the sewer line which can cost over $3,000. You should also plan to have your main line inspected during this visit; the plumber uses a camera that identifies any issues before they become crises. They usually charge a one-time service or inspection fee of around $100, unless they are also opening the line to remove blockages, which will raise the cost to around $600 for the entire visit.

Additional considerations and costs

Keep the following additional considerations and subsequent costs in mind when unclogging your kitchen sink:

  • Permits. While you don’t need a permit to unclog your kitchen sink, you will if you need to dig up a sewer or plumbing line on public property. Make sure that you consult with municipal authorities at the area zoning or public works department before you mess with these lines.
  • DIY. There are home remedies that you can use when your sink is clogged and that have varied success rates. You can attempt to resolve clogs by renting a plumbing snake 1, but there is a knack to knowing how to effectively use these devices. Drain cleaning chemicals can be harsh and toxic, with fumes that are hazardous.
  • Cameras. Many plumbing contractors use a camera affixed to an auger to find the clog. Not all contractors have this technology, but larger franchises and businesses typically do. It costs around $600 on average to use the camera and auger to locate clogs.
  • Time. The longer you wait, the worse your plumbing issue can become. Small clogs and stubborn drains can become bigger and more challenging if you ignore them and as more debris becomes trapped.
  • Sewer line replacement. Perhaps the worst-case scenario is that you will need to replace your home’s sewer line. On average, a new sewer line can cost between $3,000 and $12,000, depending on a lot of different variables.
  • Damaged pipes. Sometimes a slow-draining or clogged sink can be due to corrosion inside the pipes. The damaged segments of pipe will need to be taken out and replaced, costing around $750, depending on the number and length of pipes compromised by the damage, which includes the time and labor for removing damaged pipes and installing new segments.
  • Water valve. It doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with where the water valve shut-off is located in case your clog is a symptom of a broken pipe or main. While this is the worst case scenario and not common, when a broken pipe sends water rushing in your home, saving a few seconds can prevent thousands in water damage later.

FAQ

  • How much does a plumber charge to unclog a kitchen sink?

A plumbing contractor typically charges from $45-$65 per hour and the average cost to unclog a kitchen sink is approximately $300, depending on where you live.

  • How much does it cost to unclog a main drain?

There are a lot of factors that can be involved in unclogging a main drain, and many will cause the cost to fluctuate. This often involves access through the largest opening in a plumbing system, which is your toilet. The cost can be anywhere from $300 to over $1,000.

  • What happens if your plumbing vent is clogged?

You can tell that your plumbing vent is clogged when your toilet gurgles and doesn’t flush quite right. You will also notice a slow drain and possibly a strong, gas-like smell. Your plumbing vent will need to be cleared and unclogged via a plumbing auger fed into the vent opening by a plumbing professional, typically costing between $400 and $500 for the visit.

  • How do you unclog a sink with standing water?

You can avoid a lot of mess by bailing out standing water from your clogged sink, but this may not be feasible given your plumbing dilemma. In these instances, do plunge and try to get the clog to move and, hopefully, wash away, but never add chemicals to these clogged sinks. You will likely get splashed or wet, and if you have added drain remover, it can be dangerous for a plumber coming in later.

  • Can you pour Drano down the kitchen sink?

Yes, you can pour small amounts of Drano or other lye-based drain cleaners down your sink and pipes, but use gingerly. These chemicals are harsh on your pipes and may be toxic for you. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the product label before using.

  • What is a natural way to unclog a sink?

To unclog your kitchen sink without chemicals or a carbon footprint, try a pot of boiling water first. Pour slowly and carefully down the clogged drain. Wait a few minutes and try again. This may help to melt and move whatever is causing the issue.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Auger: (Also known as Plumbing snake) A thin, pliable tool used to clear difficult clogs in plumbing systems
glossary term picture Sewer Line 2 Sewer line: Principal pipe in a sewage system

Cost to unclog a kitchen sink varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Professional snaking a pipe to unclog the kitchen sink

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Allston, MA
+36%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Berkeley, CA
+39%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Butler, PA
-6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Clarksville, TN
-13%
Concord, NC
-15%
Corona, CA
+19%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Dayton, KY
+6%
Denver, CO
+1%
Fayetteville, NC
-20%
Fishers, IN
+9%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Mill, SC
-13%
Gatesville, TX
-31%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Greenwood, IN
-20%
Hillsboro, OR
+15%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indio, CA
-6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Katy, TX
+63%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Little Rock, AR
0%
Los Alamos, NM
-5%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Los Banos, CA
-25%
Manchester, PA
+1%
Mckinney, TX
+23%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Nashville, TN
+21%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Peoria, AZ
-2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Richmond, TX
+63%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources