How much does it cost to unclog a toilet?
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Unclog a Toilet Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
Considering the average person makes around 2,500 trips to the toilet each year, things are expected to go wrong. The more people using the same toilet, the more likely issues are to occur. While toilets are meant to last for decades with little maintenance or fuss, that does not mean they do not have an occasional clog that needs to be resolved. If you have frequent clogs or an incidental backup, it might be time to hire a professional to resolve the problem before it creates a plumbing nightmare.
The national average cost to unclog a toilet is $200 to $700, with most people spending about $350 for a plumber to use an electric auger to clear the toilet drain clog and test the system. This project’s low cost is $100 for a simple drain snaking or professional chemical treatment by a plumber. The high cost is $1,000 for hydro jetting serious clogs that have been left unattended and caused sewer backup or pipes that need repair of the toilet drain.
Cost to Unclog Toilet
|Unclog Toilet Cost|
|National average cost||$350|
Cost to Unclog a Toilet by Method
The average cost to unclog a toilet is $50 to $1,500, depending on the type of materials or unclogging method and the labor, time, and equipment. There are several methods for unclogging a toilet. The one your plumber uses depends on clog type and how severe it is. Below are the average costs of each method of unclogging a toilet, what each method entails, and why it might be used.
|Unclogging Method||Average Cost|
|Replacement||$50 - $1,500|
|Snake||$100 - $250|
|Rodding||$150 - $400|
|Removing Toilet||$200 - $550|
|Hydro Jetting Pipes||$250 - $800|
|Electric Snake||$300 - $400|
|Open Pipe Cleaning||$600 - $700|
Sometimes, the best way to unclog a toilet is by replacing a specific part. If the clog is impossible to remove or there is other damage to a specific component, replacing it might be the plumber’s recommendation. The price to replace toilet components ranges from $50 to $1,500, depending on the part and amount of labor needed. Some of the most common items replaced are listed below, along with their associated costs.
Expect to spend $700 to $1,500 to replace the toilet drain pipe. Replacing a sewage line due to roots or clogs is more expensive at $700 to $1,000. If small parts like the float rod and ball or chain need to be replaced, the cost ranges between $50 and $250. Valve replacement also may be needed and is usually a single service that replaces the handle, flush valve, tank bolds, and flapper for $250 to $300. Tank replacement or bowl replacement can also be done for $250 to $500.
Snake a Toilet
The average cost to snake a toilet with a standard snake is about $100 to $250. If a clog is minor, a hand-operated snake can remove the small or medium-sized blockage. A small auger is attached to the end of the snake used to help clear the debris. However, this is not a permanent solution because it does not remove the debris on the sides of the pipes. However, it can be a short-term solution or provide a one-time fix for an incidental clog.
Rodding Clogged Toilet
The price to rod a toilet ranges from $150 to $400 and is most commonly used with larger clogs. It can also be used on pipes of all sizes and has enough strength to handle tree roots. With rodding, several flexible rods of varying sizes are pushed through the pipe to break and move clogs so that the water can move how it should. For large pipes, rodding is recommended because it clears more area in a short time with large rods. While the rods are flexible, they are also strong and durable, making them ideal for breaking roots.
Removing a Toilet to Unclog
Taking a toilet apart takes time. Most plumbing professionals charge about $200 to $550 for this job. Anything that takes more time to complete the project raises costs. Like accessing the pipe, there may be instances where a clog requires removing the toilet. The professional removes the entire toilet, clears the clog, and replaces the toilet. This often happens when there is a foreign object at the toilet base or where it flows into the drain. These clogs can often be removed by hand, or a snake or auger can be used. This type of clog removal costs more because of removing the toilet, but it may be the best option in some cases.
Hydro Jetting Pipes
For those with a more serious cleaning need, the average hydro jetting pipes cost is $250 to $800. Hydro jetting allows you to remove leftover sewage, hair, grease, soap, and other things that build up in the drains. This solution involves high-pressure water, so it might not be ideal for all clogs or older pipes that could crumble under stress. Special nozzles are used to push buildup from the pipe to remove the clog. Nozzles come in different styles, including chain flail, penetrators, and spinning rotary. The plumber can decide if this is an effective solution for your clog.
Electric Snake Clogged Toilet
The average cost to use an electric snake to unclog a toilet is $300 to $400, depending on the type and size of snake needed for the job and how long it takes. It may be used for severe clogs that cannot be resolved with a simpler snaking solution or treatment option. This is a service best handled by professionals who understand how to use the tool because the wrong size electric snake can cause damage or be unable to handle the clog.
Open Pipe Cleaning
In some cases, opening the pipe to clear a complete blockage may be required, costing about $600 to $700. Clearing a blocked toilet waste pipe may involve using a camera to identify the blockage, removing foreign objects or buildup, or another removal. The pipe is usually opened at the seam closest to the clog. It is messier and requires more effort, but it might be the only choice in some cases. Talk to your plumber and get an accurate diagnosis so that you do not do more work than necessary.
Average Cost to Unclog a Toilet by Clog Location
The average cost to unclog a toilet based on the clog’s location is between $100 and $700. This price varies depending on the clog location because of accessibility and the parts or tools required to perform clog removals. Plumbers can better advise once they see what is going on, but this information gives you a general idea of what to expect. The table and subsections below discuss the most common clog locations, how much it costs to fix each, and what they entail.
|Clog Location||Cost to Unclog|
|Shut-Off Valve||$100 - $200|
|Tank||$100 - $250|
|Trap||$100 - $250|
|Bowl||$100 - $300|
|Air Vents||$100 - $300|
|Drain||$100 - $400|
|Toilet and Sink||$200 - $500|
|Drain Line||$200 - $700|
|Main Sewer Line||$350 - $650|
Toilet Shut-Off Valve Clogged
If the toilet shut-off valve is clogged, dealing with the issue costs between $100 and $200. While this is a less common issue, minerals and debris may get in the valve. The primary way to handle this issue is removing the valve, cleaning it using a snake or auger, and reinstalling it to the toilet. However, a new one can be installed more quickly in many cases. If you have an issue with a clogged shut-off valve, it most often leads to a toilet filled with water but much more slowly than usual.
Clogged Toilet Tank
A plumber can fix a clogged toilet tank for $100 to $250. A clog may prevent the toilet tank from filling with water. This may make it impossible to flush because water cannot be transferred to the toilet bowl. In most cases, removing the clog can be done using a simple snake (with or without a camera) or an auger. Sometimes, the tank must be removed and replaced if the problem is severe.
Clogged Toilet Trap
If you have a blocked toilet trap, expect to spend $100 to $250 to remove the clog without removing the toilet. The trap is the curved section between the tank and toilet bowl. It can often become clogged with debris and other buildups because of its curved shape. If this trap gets clogged, the gasses and water cannot move like they should, causing the toilet to malfunction or risk releasing dangerous sewer gasses. A snake or auger can remove the clog.
Unclog a Toilet Bowl
The average cost to unclog a toilet bowl is about $100 to $300, provided the clog is contained in the bowl and does not require additional drain clearing. In some cases, the toilet bowl becomes clogged with feces, toilet paper, or foreign objects that fall or are dropped in the toilet. The flushing mechanism can malfunction and lead to clogs or backups because the toilet cannot flush properly. Resolving the issue means removing the clog with a plumbing snake and ensuring proper flushing and filling of the bowl once the clog has been removed.
Toilet Air Vents
If the clog is related to a backup in the plumbing vents, you could spend about $100 to $300 to clear the toilet air vents in your bathroom. The vent stacks can become filled with debris or even snow that builds up due to damaged flashing . When the vents are damaged or clogged, they can prevent proper flushing and drainage of the toilet and other plumbing systems. Plus, they may also cause the backup of dangerous gasses, which can be harmful to the air quality in your home. Ensure your vents are in good shape at all times. A plumber’s snake or auger can clear the air vents.
Unclog a Toilet Drain
A clogged toilet drain, which costs an average of $100 to $400, is seen often and is a fairly easy repair. Several basic clogs can happen, including this one, and clearing is usually best done with a basic snake or auger. Some plumbers use a hydro jet machine for more serious clogs, but minor issues are usually handled with a snake. The clog severity determines its cost. This is different from the toilet drain line, which is the main drain line feeding into the sewer main lower down in the plumbing.
Toilet and Sink Clogged
When the toilet and sink are clogged, expect to pay $200 to $500 to remove the clog(s). This situation can occur when there is a serious clog in the main drain line where the sink and toilet lead. It may also result from shared drain lines between the two that could lead to issues. This often happens in older houses with plumbing that is not to code. When the toilet and sink are clogged, the plumber addresses them separately and ensures the entire system works together. Drains and augers are the most common ways to handle this issue.
Unclog Toilet Drain Line
The average cost to unclog a toilet drain line, the major drain line running from the toilet to the main sewer line, is $200 to $700. This service is often needed when the clog is farther down in the drain due to a blockage or backup rather than a foreign object. However, smaller objects may also get trapped and require a more serious removal. Unblocking the drain line is usually best done with hydro jetting, but snaking can be an option for some jobs. The type of clearing method and the clog severity determine the cost.
Unclog Main Sewer Line
If severe issues have persisted and made their way into the main sewer line, expect to spend an average of $350 to $650 for a camera inspection and full clearing of the main sewer line when a severe clog is present. Plumbers may need to locate the clog and remove the pipes to fix them when they are damaged. In some cases, houses have old clay tiles in the sewer main, meaning a full replacement could be costly. Serious jobs and full-line replacements could cost several thousand dollars more if left unresolved.
Plumber Cost to Unclog a Toilet
The average labor cost for unclogging a toilet is $75 to $150 per hour for a professional plumber to do the work. Other factors impacting the price are your location, the plumber, their experience, and whether they are a private contractor or corporate plumbing franchise. For the average situation, this costs $100 to $275. Plumbers are trained to handle all types of issues. They have the correct tools for the job so that you know things are done correctly. In most cases, unclogging a toilet costs a flat fee. However, some plumbers have an hourly cost, especially for more challenging clogs. If more than one service is needed, a per-project cost may be chosen but is rarer.
If the plumber decides the toilet must be replaced to prevent clogs, expect to pay about $425 to $900 for the toilet and installation costs. Costs to unclog or replace a toilet vary based on the clog severity and the problem causing the clog. To figure out how much you spend on labor, you can assume the average toilet repair for a small-to-average clog takes two to three hours to complete. Larger jobs could take days and the assistance of additional professionals, each having labor costs to consider.
Camera Inspection of a Toilet
In some cases, the plumber might use a camera snake to look in the drain and locate or identify the clog before they do the work. The average cost to inspect your toilet with a toilet inspection camera ranges from $250 to $450, depending on how much of the toilet and drain needs to be inspected and what camera is used. If the entire sewer line system needs to be inspected, the cost could be as much as $750 to $1,500.
These cameras provide high-resolution images of what is inside the drain to determine the appropriate solution. The service is usually included with snaking and clearing the drain when performed but has its own charge. Cameras are used when a plumber needs a better idea of the root cause of the clog to determine the best method to move forward with.
Inspecting a pipe or sewer line indicates where the clog is located and what is causing it. For example, if there are tree roots in a line, the pipe may need to be removed so that the roots can be dug up before a new pipe is installed. Identifying and handling the issue could take as little as an hour or several days if the issue is serious, such as digging up a sewer line.
Roto-Rooter Cost to Unclog Toilet
Roto-Rooter is one of the biggest franchise companies. They charge an average of $200 to $450 to unclog a toilet or branch line in the plumbing system, with flat rates instead of hourly labor rates. This company is on the higher end of the price range for most jobs, but they have a professional reputation that many people appreciate. Get a detailed estimate for your exact clog issues before agreeing to work because a cheaper service may be available.
Roto-Rooter also has a machine that is a popular method used to unclog toilets. The Roto-Rooter is a large machine made to cut through roots. It can be used on various pipes but is most common on sewer pipes. It is moved as close as possible to the pipe before the sewer trap is opened by a professional, and an auger is inserted. Its rotating head is pushed into the line, and the cutting mechanism breaks through anything in the way, including small and medium-sized tree roots. The cost for hydro jetting a drain with a Roto-Rooter ranges from $500 to $900 for a sewer main pipe. Prices depend on the clog severity and location.
Average Cost of an Emergency Toilet Unclog
In some cases, a toilet unclog could be considered an emergency. An emergency toilet unclog is where you call and have someone come out immediately rather than waiting for an opening in the plumber’s schedule. If you have a single toilet and it is clogged and overflows, an emergency plumber can help. The same applies if you cannot turn off the water main because more water could drain on the floor and cause damage. It may be okay for those with multiple toilets to wait to get service the following day. However, make sure you clean the overflowed water from the toilet because it could damage the bathroom. If the toilet is clogged but not overflowing, using another toilet and calling the plumber the next day is also reasonable.
In many cases, evening and weekend work is also considered an emergency. The rate per hour for an emergency is often higher, at $150 to $200, and a flat fee of $200 to $300 may also be required. A transportation fee is sometimes added, ranging from $50 to $200. This can lead to a total price of $400 to $700 for emergency visits.
What Causes a Toilet to Clog?
Toilet clogs can be caused by something simple like using too much of the wrong toilet paper or something more serious like your main sewer line becoming damaged or infiltrated. In most cases, the reason your toilet is clogged is the result of someone flushing something they should not. Small children are infamous for flushing toys and other materials down the toilet. However, they are not the only ones in the house to blame. Adults sometimes flush things they should not, such as feminine hygiene products, tissues, and wrappers. There are also things like toothpaste caps, hair accessories, and cotton swabs that accidentally fall into the toilet and get flushed. Even too much toilet paper or fecal matter can clog a toilet. An inefficient low-flow toilet is also more likely to have clogs.
Hard water can be the cause of some toilet backups. It is full of minerals like calcium, which get deposited into the drainpipe, clogging it. Too much chlorine can also be a problem. Chlorine is added to public waterworks to kill bacteria but can damage the plastic or rubber parts in the toilet. This can keep it from flushing properly, preventing a complete flush-out of debris. A blocked S-pipe, obstructed plumbing vents, or damaged sewer mains can also cause clogging. This ultimately causes leftover debris to become clogged. Whether you have a toy flushed down toilet drains or a buildup of hard water residue, you need to resolve the clog to prevent additional damage.
Signs of a Clogged Toilet
Several signs may indicate you have a clogged toilet. Be aware of these signs because plumbing issues need to be rectified quickly. One sign that your toilet is clogged is the presence or sound of bubbling. Another sign is water from the toilet backing up into another item, such as a shower, sink, or bathtub.
You can sometimes see water coming out from under the toilet base. Water draining slowly from the toilet can be another sign of an issue. You may notice a bad odor when you use the toilet or puddles or water in the bathroom. These issues should be inspected by a professional to determine if the toilet needs to be unclogged.
When to Call a Plumber for a Clogged Toilet
When there is a clogged toilet issue, call a professional as quickly as possible. The longer you wait to solve the problem, the worse it is likely to get because small clogs trap more debris, causing bigger clogs. If a sewer line break is causing the problem, not dealing with it promptly can stop water flow, cause gross backups, and allow bacteria into your home. If you try DIY methods to unclog the toilet and they do not work, call a plumber to help.
Toilet Clog Prevention
A clogged toilet can be a real hassle. The best way to prevent dealing with this messy situation is to learn what can and cannot be flushed. The only two safe things to flush are human waste and toilet paper. Even too much of these can cause a problem. Use only enough toilet paper to get the job done. Avoid large wads of paper. While the outer amount disintegrates in the water, the hard-packed wad can sit in your drain, eventually clogging it.
Never flush anything else down the toilet because it can block the pipes. Remove shelving placed above the toilet. It is common for items to fall off and into the toilet where they are accidentally flushed, causing blockages. Keep children away from toilets when unattended to reduce the risk of accidental items being flushed.
One of the best ways to prevent future clogs is to watch for slow drains. This is the first sign something is keeping the water from flowing properly. Attack those slow-draining toilets immediately and avoid a clogged line or serious sewer backup. After all, what starts as a small clog or slow drain can easily become a full blockage requiring hydro jetting or clearing the main sewer line. This can be expensive, so it is important to address slow drains as soon as possible.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Replace a Toilet
The average cost to replace a toilet is $425 to $900. While most clogs can be resolved without replacing equipment, some cases exist when a toilet needs replacing. Some clogs damage the integrity of the porcelain or other bowl material, making the toilet more likely to leak. It may be required to remove the toilet to access and resolve the clog, indicating the toilet needs replacement. Regardless of why the toilet needs to be replaced, it is best to do it sooner than later to protect your plumbing’s integrity.
Repair a Toilet
The average cost to repair a toilet is $60 to $200, depending on the repair and how much work it entails. For example, the toilet leak repair cost is much lower than the toilet tank replacement cost if your entire tank needs to be replaced. You may need to replace the flush handle or fill system, or you might even need to repair the lines going into the drains from the toilet due to a clog or buildup. You could spend less on small repairs or spend thousands on serious replacements and repairs, depending on how quickly you address them.
Sewer Line Cleaning
The average sewer line cleaning cost is $150 to $600. When performing an inspection and clog removal, the plumber may realize the main sewer line needs to be cleaned with the clog removal process. This should be done regularly to ensure you do not have clogs, but it might be a way to resolve your issue. Discuss the situation with your plumber to determine the best course of action, including if a major sewer line cleaning is needed.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits. Some municipalities require service providers to obtain a working permit in their city. Other than that, no other permit or license is usually necessary for indoor work. However, a building permit may be needed if your clog originates from the main sewer line, and you must dig it up to handle the repair. Check with your local zoning office before starting this work.
- DIY. While small clogs can be handled on your own, it is advisable to call in a plumber in most cases. Certain chemicals attack the clog but are corrosive and can burn the skin or cause breathing issues. If used improperly, home remedies for clogged toilets can damage your toilet and pipes. Before trying a snake to unclog the drain yourself, be sure you know how to use the device or you may crack the pipe.
- Precautions. If the toilet is overflowing, it is usually a good idea to shut off the water at the back of the tank. However, if you notice clogs forming throughout the house or sewage seeping into sinks or tubs, shut off the main water supply until the plumber arrives. A simple clog may seem like no big deal, but it does not take much for a small plumbing issue to become serious.
- Landscaping. If sewer pipes cause a problem that requires digging up the yard, you may also need to enlist the assistance of a landscaper to fix the yard after the work is complete. This could include re-seeding the grass, planting shrubs, and other work. Landscapers typically charge around $50 to $100 per hour for labor and materials.
- Estimates. Get at least three estimates for your toilet unclogging needs. This allows you to ensure you are getting the correct service and not overpaying for it. Different plumbers may have different rates and offer different answers or solutions. It is also helpful to get a visual estimate or consultation because an accurate price is not offered until the plumber sees the job.
- Location. Your location affects the cost of toilet unclogging services. Plumbers have different rates in different areas. There may be different requirements or issues involving plumbing that have to be considered. You may also pay more for these services if you live farther from a provider like those in rural settings.
- Rental options. Many products used to unclog toilets can be rented from major home improvement stores and other locations. Some of the items a homeowner can rent include drain snakes, toilet augers, and drain cleaners. In some cases, toilet cameras can also be found for rent. This may be a good option for DIY toilet unclogging.
- Can a plumber unblock a toilet?
Yes, plumbers have the knowledge and experience to unblock toilets. A plumber can handle everything from a small clog to a major blockage that a homeowner cannot handle.
- How much does it cost to get a plumber to unclog a toilet?
The average charge to unclog a toilet is $200 to $700 and depends on several factors. The clog location, severity, and method used to unclog the toilet affect what you pay for this service.
- How much does it cost for a plumber to snake a drain?
At a flat rate, drain snaking costs about $100 to $250 per service.
- Will a toilet eventually unclog itself?
Very small clogs caused by excess fecal matter or toilet paper may eventually resolve themselves, but this is rare. Most blockages require some professional assistance.
- How much does it cost to unclog a main sewer line?
The average cost to unclog a main sewer line is $350 to $650, depending on where the clog is located and how much of the sewer line is difficult to access. This involves using a camera to identify the clog and then a snake or other tools to remove the clog from the line.
- Can vinegar unclog a toilet?
Yes, you can use vinegar mixed with baking soda to break up small clogs in the toilet. This method is typically more effective for hard water buildup than other clogs.
- How do you unclog a toilet without a plunger?
When the water in your toilet rises and you need a quick solution, you can try basic DIY methods while waiting for the plumber. Some DIY methods include pouring hot water and slippery soap or baking soda and vinegar into the toilet. You can also unravel a metal clothes wire and gently lower it down into the drain to push the clog out.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.
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