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How Much Does It Cost to Clean Out a Sewer Line?

Open sewer with cleaning equipment

A clogged sewer line can be an expensive problem if you’re not careful. You’ll want to clear it out as soon as possible, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to do so. Not all clog removal methods are the same, and some cost much less to remove than others. Knowing your options can help you save time and money, helping you get your home life back to normal for an affordable price.

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Do I Need a Main Sewer Line Cleaning?

Most plumbing professionals think it advisable to have your main sewer line routinely cleaned and serviced either on an as-needed basis, or at least every couple of years. Whether you are a seasoned or brand-new homeowner, identifying when and if you need to have the main sewer line cleaned isn’t rocket science. Here are a few clues that can indicate you might have a clogged line.

  • Drains have gurgling sounds coming up through the opening
  • Water backs up and pools around drains and at the base of the toilet
  • You can smell the sulphur, rotten egg-like stench coming from the drains

How Much Does it Cost to Clean Out a Sewer Line?

Cleaning out a sewer line doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive. According to a .net plumbing job estimator, the national average charge for a professional to service your sewer line is $196-$289. The lower end for a straight-forward drain cleaning is $55, with the maximum around $1300. It all depends on the procedure needed to complete the job as to what the price quote could be. Here are a few common procedures to discuss with your plumbing professional.

Snaking or Rodding

One of the most basic procedures plumbers do to remove a clogged line is to snake or rod it. This involves using a long line with an industrial drain auger situated on the end of the line that will be inserted into the sewer. The line is a long cable that is fed or ‘snaked’ down a drain hole, forcing the clog to go through the blockage and into the main sewer system. The cost for this procedure averages about $100-$200.

Hydro Jetting

If snaking a cable down a drain isn’t successful in breaking up a clog, then the next step is to try a hydro jetting the line using a pressure hose. The force of the water is usually enough to not only break up a clog but flush out all lingering waste products. If tree roots have infiltrated and clogged the sewer line, then a cutting blade may also be used. The cost for this service runs between $350 and $600.

Chemical Cleaning

Chemicals are not a preferred method by plumbers to clean your sewer lines. However, there are times when they will recommend a maintenance chemical you can use between plumber visits to save money. These are name-brand chemicals which have been deemed environmentally safe. The cost for this procedure runs between $5 and $300.

How Often Should a Sewer Line Be Cleaned?

There are several factors to consider as to how often you should have your sewer line cleaned. A standard rule among plumbers to have a sewer line cleaned is about 22 months. But this rule applies to homes newer than 40 years old. Homes older than 40 years have an accumulation of grease, hair, potential roots and other sediments that build up and cause the older sewer lines to be higher risk for blockages.

If your sewer line has any of the following problems, it is recommended for you to have the lines cleaned at least once a year:

  • A history of clogging
  • Fluids are frequently slow to drain
  • Drains have become infiltrated by tree root systems

Cleaning out a sewer line does not have to become a difficult task. Before it becomes an emergency, schedule a routine cleaning with a professional plumber. They can save you thousands of dollars’ worth of damage caused by a neglected, and clogged sewer line.

Steven Davisson About Steven Davisson

Steven D, owner of Plumbing Kings, has been a full-time service repair plumber since January 1999. He holds a California C-36 plumbing license as well as a Nevada C-1d plumbing license. Steven D splits his workload between commercial and residential. His specialties include water filtration, leak and odor detection, hydro-jet drain cleaning, from sectional repairs to full re-pipe of water and gas.

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