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Drain Line Breakage Repair Costs

Most homeowners spend between $285 to $542 nationally.
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A broken drain line can be a homeowner's worst nightmare. Unlike a sewer line, a drain line carries excess water to seas, reservoirs or other appropriate areas. If the drain line breaks or collapses, you may experience a flood or awful smells around the home.

See the average drain pipe repair cost below and as always, if you need help with your plumbing, ImproveNet can connect you with up to four drain line contractors.

National Repair a Drain Line Breakage Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $559
Minimum Cost $55
Maximum Cost $2,500
Average Range $285 to $542
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 1146 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents 

  1. Drain Pipe Repair Cost
  2. Drain Pipe Repair Cost Factors
  3. Drain Line Vs. Sewer Line
  4. Signs Drain Line Is Broken
  5. Common Drain Line Issues
  6. Common Drain Pipe Solutions
  7. Drain Line Maintenance
  8. Who Pays For Repairs?
  9. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  10. Find A Plumber

Drain Pipe Repair Cost

The home's drain line, sewer connections and plumbing system are as old as the home itself. In some homes, this could mean that the pipes are 50 to 100 years old. Constant exposure to water, freeze and thaw cycles, and other forces of nature cause these pipes to rust and wear out over time. As such, repairs to all three systems do come up every so often.

The average drain pipe repair cost is $549 with most homeowners spending between $500 and $1,150. The cost to repair your drain pipe will depend on a few factors.

Drain Pipe Repair Cost Factors

Drain Pipe Repair Cost Factors

Unlike an individual tile, it’s hard to find the source a drain issue. After all, your drain line runs from your home all the way to the nearest waste source. Furthermore, the drain line is not in plain sight, making it even more difficult to diagnose the issue. But besides locating the issue, there are a few other factors that can increase or decrease your drain line repair cost:


Your plumber will have to first locate where the break occurred. If the drain line break is outside of the home, repairing the breakage will require excavation of the soil above the pipe. This can be a time-consuming and costly process as drain lines can extend the full length of the property and are often buried under several feet of soil. Trees, driveways and sidewalks can hamper the excavation process. If the breakage occurred within the home, no excavation is needed, but there may be flood damage to the floors, walls, ceilings and other structural components. Therefore, you may incur a few cleanup costs as well.

Cause of Break

The cause of the break also factors into the cost of repair. Three common causes of drain repairs are tree roots, a clog or rust. Of all three, tree roots is the one you don’t want to hear. Sadly, you can not move the drain line, so the only way to fix the drain line is to remove the tree. Tree removal costs average $630, but that does not include plumber costs, land excavation costs or landscape replacement costs.

Other common causes include a clog or rust. Debris and other rubble can get into your drain line and cause a major clog. If your plumber can not clear the clog or get rid of the rust, he or she will have to replace the pipe.

Cleanup Costs

After the drain line is fixed, most homeowners have to deal with property damage costs as well. While it doesn’t directly goes towards your drain line, cleanup costs should be considered to get the most accurate project price.

If your home flooded, chances are, you’ll have to replace some carpeting, drywall or rotted wood. Along the same lines, if wood furniture was exposed, chances are, you’ll have to throw it away or pay to repair it. Finally, if tree roots were involved, you’ll most likely have to pay for new cement or asphalt. Repair costs for all cleanup issues mentioned range from $200 to $2,000.

Common Drain Line Issues

Drain Line Vs. Sewer Line

While they serve similar functions, many homeowners confuse a drain line from a sewer line. Put simply, a drain line carries excess water away from your home and a sewer line carries waste water and solids away from your home. Your sewage system is a part of your drainage system.

Furthermore, all sewer lines are manmade while some drain systems are naturally made. Also, the federal government or private companies maintain sewage systems. Local or state governments manage the drainage system.

In terms of repair or replacement prices, the cost to repair a sewer line starts at $2,200.

Signs Drain Line Is Broken Or Clogged

Determining whether your drain line or sewer line is clogged or broken can be difficult, but luckily, there are a few telltale signs that your drain line or sewer system needs some TLC.

  1. Repetitive clogged drains
  2. Higher water and sewer bills
  3. Rotting smells from toilets, sinks or around the house
  4. Small flooding in yard
  5. Bubbling sounds from toilet
  6. Toilet flushing slowly

If you’re seeing any of these signs, it may be time to contact a local plumber.

Common Drain Pipe Solutions

Common Drain Line Issues

You just got a glimpse of some of the issues that come with clogged or broken drain pipes. Nonetheless, some are harder to recognize than others. Therefore, if you’re still not sure whether or not your drains need a professional eye, consider the following scenarios:

  1. Repetitive Clogs: Nasty stuff goes down our drains. Food, hair, sewage and other items we don’t care to think about go down our drains and out via our sewage system. When most homeowners see a clog, they try to clear it themselves. Once in awhile is not a big deal, but if you find yourself clearing clogs once a week, the issue is bigger than you think. Sadly, there is other sewage further down the drain you can’t see.
  2. Slow Drains: If you’ve lived in your home for awhile, you know how fast your toilet flushes or how fast water flows down your kitchen or bathroom sink. Slow drains don’t only indicate a clog, but they can also indicate damaged or narrowed pipes from grease or oil. The latter type of issue is serious and you will save money if you fix it sooner rather than later.
  3. Multiple Clogs: If you never experienced a clog and then, your bathroom toilet and kitchen sink clog at the same time, you have an issue with your drain line. Sadly, this issue must be fixed by a pro.
  4. Flooding: The biggest potential problem that can occur from a clogged drain is flooding. If you own a basement, backed up drain or sewer lines can easily cause flooding in your basement and around your home. Sadly, repairing basement drainage brings about a whole new set of costs with it.

Common Drain Pipe Solutions

Professional plumbers will try a few different tactics to clear or repair your drainage. Besides replacing all pipes, homeowners can try a few DIY solutions before calling in the pros:

Clean the Trap

This is the piping right below your sink. Usually, it bends and can cause a clog or two. Place a bucket below the bend. There should be a cleanup plug. Remove it and use a coat hanger to clear the clog. If no plug, you can turn off all water lines and try unscrewing the pipe below the sink. Then, clear the clog.

Drain Snakes

Make sure you clear the area and wear gloves. After buying or renting a drain snake, feed the auger into the drain and constantly turn it, moving slowly throughout the drain. Once it hits debris, hair, food or other sewage, it will be harder to turn. When you get to a breaking point, pull the auger out of the drain and clear the clog (it will be messy!). Rinse the drain with water and thoroughly clean the drain snake with bleach after each use.

Drain Line Maintenance

Drain Line Maintenance

Every homeowner deals with his or her fair share of clogs over the home’s lifetime. It’s a matter of when, not if. But, smart homeowners avoid frequent clogs or drain pipe repairs by following a few simple clog prevention tips:

  1. If there’s any chance the material or waste will cause a clog, don’t put it down the drain.
  2. Do not pour grease, oil or other thick liquids down your kitchen sink.
  3. Try to dispose of hair in the garbage versus the sink or the shower drain.
  4. Install a hair catcher in the bathroom.
  5. If you do not have a garbage disposal, consider installing a strainer.
  6. Invest in a Drain Strain (Shark Tank!)
  7. Clean your kitchen sink and disposal.
  8. Apply clog cleaner as soon as you see the clog.

Who Pays For Repairs?

Believe it or not, you’re not always responsible for your drain or sewer line repairs. However, the blame depends on the location of the breakage or clog. If the breakage is in your pipes or on your property, chances are, you’ll have to pay for all repairs. If the breakage or clog falls within the city’s main lines, they will have to pay. As such, it pays to hire a contractor and determine the exact location of the breakage.

Nevertheless, no matter where the issue started, you have to pay for all personal property damages. Below are some additional projects that typically come up with major drain line repairs.

Find A Plumber

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

Any DIY beginner can fix a simple clog. However, more complicated repairs or clogs usually require professional assistance. In fact, as you just read, if your plumber finds the break in the city’s line, you could save $549. With the cost of a plumber being much less, their services already paid for themselves.

Nonetheless, all homeowners should at least try to fix the clog on their own before calling a pro. Consider the following solutions and read more about each at How To Unclog A Drain:

  • The Baking Soda & Vinegar Method
  • The Soda Method
  • Plungers

Find A Plumber

Clogs and drain repairs happen. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. Now that you know all the costs associated with drain line breakages, you can better prepare yourself for when it happens.

As always, if you’re experiencing a bad clog, slow drains or a flood, ImproveNet makes it easy to connect with plumbers near you!

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Last updated on Jul 27, 2018

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