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How Much Does A Sewer Cleanout Cost?

Most homeowners spend between $196 to $289 nationally.
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Your property's main sewer line carries all of the waste water from your home to the sewer system. Occasionally, everyday use, damage or misuse results in a blockage that prevents waste from moving freely. Knowing how to identify a fault as it occurs ensures you get help from a plumber before the problem becomes more serious.

ImproveNet's online search function makes it easy to find a plumbing contractor, but before shopping for quotes, spend some time learning more about the potential costs involved.

National Clear Sewer Main Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $299
Minimum Cost $55
Maximum Cost $1,300
Average Range $196 to $289
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 813 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Sewer Line Cleaning Cost
  2. Sewer Cleaning Cost Factors
  3. Causes Of Sewer Line Clog
  4. Dangers Of Not Clearing A Clogged Sewer Line
  5. How The Pros Clean Sewer Lines
  6. Preventing Sewer Main Clogs
  7. DIY Or Hire A Pro?
  8. Find A Pro

Sewer Line Cleaning Cost

Many factors affect the cost of clearing a sewer line; but, the price to hire a plumber to complete the work ranges from $155 to $427, with an average of $290. Simple jobs cost as little as $99, while a more complex repair costs up to $900. These prices include the cost of all labor and materials.

If you want to save on plumbing costs, it's possible to clear a main line as a DIY project. To clean the line, you need to rent an industrial-quality sewer snake, but your only other expense is your time and effort. Despite the potential savings, many homeowners prefer to employ a professional; clearing a blocked line is unpleasant work and it's important to do the job right to prevent a reoccurrence.

Sewer Cleaning Cost Factors

Cleaning Cost Factors

Several factors affect the cost of cleaning a sewer line. Consider these factors as you shop for quotes from plumbers:

  • Hourly Rate: Cleaning a sewer line does not usually require many materials, so the bulk of the cost is the plumber's wages, including call-out charges and hourly rates ranging from $45 to $150.
  • Severity of the Blockage: Severe blockage takes longer to resolve and therefore, incur higher costs. In some cases, a plumber may decide to use hydro jetting — using a high-pressure hose to clear the line. Costs range from $350 to $600.
  • Damaged Pipes: If the blockage results from damaged pipes or the intrusion of tree roots, it may be necessary to replace or repair the sewer main. This is a major job with costs ranging from $1,365 to $2,685.
  • Additional Work: Your contractor may need to resolve related issues, such as replacing or repairing the main line or replacing fittings throughout your home.
  • DIY: Completing the work yourself requires specialist equipment. Renting a snake ranges from $29 to $70, while a sewer jet attachment costs $20 to $150. You also need to factor in the cost of your own time and the associated disruption.

Causes Of Sewer Line Clog

The sewer line carries all of the waste from your home to the sewer, so it may occasionally clog up through everyday use. Other causes include flushing inappropriate products, such as non-biodegradable paper or solid objects; grease buildup from the sinks and dishwasher; improper use of a garbage disposal unit or a damaged pipe that has partially collapsed or become overgrown by tree roots.

Dangers Of Not Clearing A Clogged Sewer Line

Dangers Of Not Clearing A Clogged Sewer Line

A blocked sink or toilet pipe is a minor inconvenience and relatively easy to resolve with some household drain-cleaning products or a small drain snake. A clogged sewer line is a much bigger problem that affects every plumbing fixture in the home. Regardless of whether you’re running the faucet in the kitchen, flushing the upstairs toilet or operating the garbage disposal, all the waste goes into the same waste pipe where it starts to back up and poses a serious risk of flooding into the property. Household waste bubbling out of drains and toilets is unpleasant and has serious health and safety implications. Furthermore, installing a new main line or replacing a damaged one is much more expensive than clearing a clog. Clearly, it pays to act early.

How The Pros Clean Sewer Lines

Professional sewer line cleaning involves several steps:

  1. Initial Survey: The plumber asks questions and tries to determine the cause of the blockage. The survey may reveal additional problems in sinks and drains, and the plumber may need to install new drainage.
  2. Cleanout Removal: The cleanout is a Y-shaped pipe with an access cap on the grounds of your property, along the lateral sewer line that connects your home to the public sewer system. By removing the cleanout, the plumber gains access to the main lines to begin tackling the clog.
  3. Snaking the Sewer Line: A common method for removing a clog is snaking the line with an industrial drain auger. This is a long cable that comes in sections to vary the length as necessary. Feeding the cable through the line pushes through the blockage, driving clogs into the main sewer system.
  4. Hydro Jetting: If snaking is insufficient, the plumber uses a pressure hose. The hose is more effective, as it clears the blockage and also cleans away residual waste on the inside of the pipe. A cutting blade may be necessary to remove tree roots.
  5. Replacing the Cleanout: After clearing the line, the plumber reinstalls the cleanout and tests the water flow. Tests may identify other faults, in which case the plumber has to do other remedial work, such as repairing a broken line.
  6. Chemical Cleaning: Plumbers don't usually make use of chemical cleaners, but they may flush copper sulfate or other root-killing chemicals down the toilet to control roots that are preventing the free movement of waste through the system.

How The Pros Clean Sewer Lines

Preventing Sewer Main Clogs

All of your waste water ends up in the main line, so the first step in preventing a blockage is preventing debris from entering the system through toilets and drains. You should avoid putting too much food into the waste disposal, and where possible, fit mesh covers in sink and shower drains to catch hair and soap scum. Never flush non-biodegradable items, such as hygiene products and baby wipes; they don't dissolve in the system and are more likely to catch in the pipes. Never pour cooking grease directly into the drain because it coats the insides of the pipes and increases the risk of subsequent clogs.

In addition to minimizing the debris going into the pipes, make sure you regularly clean all of your drains with a non-corrosive chemical cleaner. Take care while cleaning drains, especially when handling chemicals. Always wear protective gloves and glasses to reduce the risk of an injury.

DIY Or Hire A Pro?

While it's possible to clean a sewer line as a DIY project, it requires special equipment. By the time you have purchased or rented a sewer snake or sewer jet and taken the time to learn how to operate it, you may find it's more cost-effective to hire a professional. Additionally, cleaning a sewer is an unpleasant task that you need to do to a high standard to reduce the risk of further problems. Professionals are better able to identify other issues, such as the need to replace pipes or repair a septic tank, so you get the peace of mind that comes from a job well done.

Preventing Sewer Main Clogs

Find A Pro

A blockage in your main sewer line is a serious problem. If you don't resolve the issue quickly, you may find your drains and toilets backing up, causing bad smells and flooding throughout your home.

ImproveNet's online search makes it easy to find professionals in your area that have the skills and tools to quickly identify and rectify the problem with minimal disruption.

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