How much does it cost to unclog or snake a drain?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to unclog or snake a drain?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to unclog or snake a drain?

$100 – $275Average Plumber Cost
$225 – $500Average Roto-Rooter Cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$100 – $275 Average Plumber Cost

$225 – $500 Average Roto-Rooter Cost

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tom Grupa
Written by
Tom Grupa
Fact-checked by
Paul Mazzola

Cost To Snake A Drain

The average plumber cost to snake a drain is $100 to $275 for a toilet, sink, tub, shower, or laundry drain. The average cost to snake a main line is $150 to $500. Roto-Rooter prices are $225 to $500 on average to snake a drain. Drain snake rental costs $30 to $80 per day.

Cost to snake a drain - chart
Cost to snake a drain - chart
Cost To Snake A Drain
Type Average Cost
Simple Clog In Tub, Shower, Toilet, Sink, or Vent $100 – $275
Complex Clog / Main Line / Multiple Fixtures $150 – $500
Severe Clog Requiring Hydro Jetting $250 – $800

*Prices depend on the severity of the clog. Some plumbers charge a $50 to $200 minimum service fee.

  • Signs of a clogged drain include gurgling sounds, water backing up or pooling, water draining slowly, toilet not flushing, or bad odors.

  • Plumbers take about 5 minutes to snake a drain for clogs near the tub, toilet, or sink.

  • Main sewer line clogs impact all the drains and fixtures at once.

Get free estimates from drain cleaning services near you.

Plumber Cost To Unclog Drain

Plumbers cost $75 to $550 to unclog a drain, depending on the hourly rates, accessibility, severity, and cause of blockage. Unclogging severe blockage is $45 to $150 per hour plus parts. Most plumbers offer flat rates on basic drain cleaning.

Plumber Cost To Unclog a Drain - Chart
Plumber Cost To Unclog a Drain - Chart
Plumber Cost To Unclog Drain
National Average Cost $216
Minimum Cost $75
Maximum Cost $550
Average Range $100 to $275

Drain Rodding Cost Factors

  • Labor Plumbing estimates vary depending on the job size, travel distance, region, and season.

  • Trip Charge – Some plumbers' offer free estimates, while others charge a $50 to $200 call-out fee, which typically covers the first hour of work.

  • Accessibility – Main line clogs are harder to access than tub or sink basin blockages. Some jobs require accessing multiple connection points or temporarily removing the toilet.

  • Severity – Most blockages take 5 minutes to snake. Multiple clogged pipes or a severe main line clog takes hours to unblock and may require a video camera inspection.

  • Blockage Cause – Hair, food waste, dirt, and soap scum are easier to unblock than tree roots, broken pipes, or grease.

  • Unforeseen Damage – Plumbers may need to replace plumbing pipes, toilet parts, or the garbage disposal.

Roto-Rooter Cost

Roto-Rooter Prices List - Chart
Roto-Rooter Prices List - Chart
Roto-Rooter Prices List
Service Average Cost
Service Call / Trip Charge $70 – $200
Snake Pipes / Drain Cleaning $225 – $500
Hydro Jetting $500 – $900
Camera Inspection $295 – $350

Roto-Rooter is a national franchise, and each franchisee has a flat rate price list. Typically, a plumber assesses the costs after an in-person service call.

Some Roto-Rooter franchises charge a $70 to $200 trip charge, which may be deducted if you have the work done.

How Much Is A Plumbing Snake?

A handheld or drill-activated plumbing snake costs $15 to $100 and reaches up to 25 feet for minor clogs near the sink basin or toilet. A machine-powered plumbing snake costs $250 to $1,000 on average and reaches 50' to 75' for residential blockages.

Plumbing Snake Cost - Chart
Plumbing Snake Cost - Chart
Plumbing Snake Cost
Size Average Cost
Handheld / Drill (3' – 25') $15 – $100
Machine Auger (50' – 75') $250 – $1,000
Heavy-Duty Sewer Machine $1,000 – $3,500

Drain snake prices depend on the type, cable length, and cable diameter. The types of plumbing snakes include mini-rooters, toilet augers, top snakes, and snakes for large drains.

What Size Drain Snake Do I Need?

Drain snakes range from 25' to 100'. A 25' snake unclogs showers, tubs, and bathroom sinks. A 50' to 75' plumbing snake clears washing machines, bathroom and kitchen sinks, and roof vents. A 75' to 100' snake unblocks drains 3" or larger.

Get free estimates from drain cleaning services near you.
Plumbing Snake Sizes
Size Used To Unclog
25' Showers, tubs, bathroom sinks
50' – 75' Washing machines, bathroom or kitchen sinks, roof vents
75' – 100' For drains 3 inches or larger, cleanouts to the street
Toilet Auger Snake specifically made for toilets

*Using the wrong type or size plumbing snake can damage the pipes.

Drain Snake Rental Cost

Drain snake rental costs $30 to $80 per day$125 and $300 per week, or $300 to $1,000 per month, depending on the machine auger size. Handheld plumbing snake rental costs $10 to $15 per day. Plumbing snakes are available for rent at Home Depot and Lowe's.

Drain Snake Rental Cost - Chart
Drain Snake Rental Cost - Chart
Drain Snake Rental Cost
Size Day Week Month
Toilet Auger $10 – $15 $25 – $50 $75 – $150
Small (25') $25 – $50 $100 – $150 $200 – $450
Medium (50' – 75') $40 – $80 $130 – $300 $350 – $800
Large (100') $60 – $100 $200 – $400 $500 – $1,000
Drain Camera $100 – $200 $300 – $800 $1,000 – $2,200

*Renting a machine augers typically requires a $100 to $150 deposit.

Machine augers are hard to manage and can damage pipes or pose a risk of injury if misused.

  • A drain snake used with too much force can cause the end to flop around, scratching the pipe. Scratches damage the coating, which leads to cracks or rusting in the pipes.

  • A drain snake's coil wire can recoil at high speeds, which can cause serious injury.

  • If you are unsure how to use a snake, hire a skilled plumber.

Drain Cleaning Cost By Service

Drain cleaning costs $100 to $275 on average for a toilet, sink, tub, or shower drain. Cleaning multiple fixtures at once or complex clogs in the main line costs $200 to $800. The most cost-effective solution is cleaning the blockage right away to prevent the problem from worsening.

Drain Cleaning Cost By Service
Location Average Cost
Toilet $100 – $275
Kitchen Sink $100 – $220
Bathroom Sink / Tub / Shower $100 – $250
Laundry Drain $150 – $250
Main Line $200 – $800

Plumber Cost To Unclog a Toilet

The average cost for a plumber to unclog a toilet is $100 to $275, depending on if a toilet snake can unblock the clog or if the toilet needs removing. A toilet snake costs $10 to $30 for DIY jobs.

  • If a bad odor persists after snaking the toilet, toilet repair costs $10 to $25 to replace a cracked flange or wax ring. For DIY, a new toilet wax ring costs $2 to $10.

  • If backflow is also coming out of other drains, the main sewer line likely needs to be cleared of tree roots and debris, increasing the total cost.

Cost To Unclog Kitchen Sink & Garbage Disposal

The average cost to unclog a kitchen sink is $100 to $220. When unblocking a sink with a garbage disposal, the plumber first confirms the unit is not the problem. Then, the drain trap fitting and drain arm are removed to snake the pipes.

If the sink is still clogged after snaking, garbage disposal replacement costs $200 to $550 on average.

Plumber using handheld drain snake to unclog bathroom sink
Plumber using handheld drain snake to unclog bathroom sink

Cost To Clear Blocked Drain in Tub or Shower

The average cost to snake a tub drain is $100 to $250. Bathtubs and showers fill with hair, dirt, and soap scum and need regular cleaning. Clearing a blocked shower or tub drain requires removing the drain assembly and cover plate and using a drain auger to remove the clog.

Plumber Unclogging Tub Drain with Electric Drain Snake
Plumber Unclogging Tub Drain with Electric Drain Snake

Main Line Drain Clearing Cost

Main sewer line cleaning costs $150 to $800, depending on the method (snaking or hydro jetting), severity of the clog, accessibility, and labor. The main line is likely clogged when pipes have bad odors or make gurgling sounds, multiple fixtures are draining slowly, or sewage backs up.

A professional plumber should always clear main line clogs. Broken, cracked, or collapsed sewer lines may need replacement. Sewer line repair costs $150 to $3,800, depending on the pipe's length and accessibility.

Get free estimates from drain cleaning services near you.

Plumbing Vent Cleaning Cost

Plumbing vent cleaning costs $100 to $200 on average. Signs stacks aren't venting include bad odors, slow drainage, gurgling noises, or when someone flushes a sink and another sink makes a noise. Using an open cover or screen at the end of the vent pipe prevents debris from clogging.

Signs of A Clogged Drain

  • The toilet is bubbling, making a gurgling sound, or doesn't flush

  • Water backs up to or is pooling near the sink, tub, shower, toilet, or laundry area

  • Water drains slowly from the sink, tub, commode, or shower

  • Several plumbing fixtures are clogged at once

  • Bad odors are coming from drains

  • Water is coming out of a cleanout plug

Common Causes of Clogged Drains

  • Bathroom Sink / Tub – Hair, dirt, soap scum, and toothpaste buildup

  • Kitchen Sink – Grease, fat, soap scum, and food waste from disposal buildup

  • Toilet – Wipes, pads, paper towels, toilet paper, cat litter, and feminine products buildup

  • AC Drain – Mold, mildew, algae, fungi, lime, plants, and mineral buildup

  • Main Line – Tree roots, broken pipes, and debris

When to Call a Plumber for a Clogged Drain

Minor blockages in a single pipe may be resolved with a plunger or plumbing snake. Otherwise, call a plumber to fix a clog when:

  • Water leaks are spreading, such as sewage backup, flooding, or standing water.

  • The blockage affects multiple plumbing fixtures or every drain in the house. Then, there's likely a main sewer line clog.

  • The clog is disabling a critical area such as the kitchen sink or the main bathroom.

  • Using a plunger or drain snake fails to remove the clog.

DIY Costs To Unblock A Drain

DIY drain cleaning is possible on individual drains with minor blockages. Try these methods before calling a plumber:

DIY Costs To Unblock A Drain
Method Average Cost
Plunger $4 – $20
Chemical Drain Cleaner $5 – $70
Water-Powered Pulsating Valve $15 – $30
Toilet Auger $10 – $15
Snake Rental $30 – $80 per day

Use a Plunger

Sink and toilet plungers use suction to free clogs and draw the debris up to the surface. Make sure the plunger is the right type and size for the fixture. Turn off the garbage disposal unit and never plunge right after using chemical drain cleaner.

Chemical Drain Cleaner

Chemical drain cleaners such as Drano, Green Gobbler, or Liquid-Plumr are safe to use with plastic pipes or metal pipes when following the label's directions. Avoid using acidic chemical cleaners that contain sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid, which can damage pipes when misused.

Another option to prevent clogs is by using a homemade drain cleaning with baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water.

Clean Out Trap

The U-shaped pipe or P-trap beneath the tub or sink basin can be removed to clear out any blockage.

  1. Place a bucket under the P-trap

  2. Use pliers to remove the two coupling nuts

  3. Clean the trap interior with a straightened wire coat hanger or brush

  4. If the trap is clean, try inserting a drain snake

  5. Reassemble the trap

Another option is using a water-powered pulsating valve, such as a Drain King Kit, to unclog a blocked P-trap.

Snake The Drain

Home improvement stores sell and rent affordable drain snakes to unblock clogs. However, using the wrong size or type of plumbing snake could push the clog farther down the drain, loop back on itself, or scrape the pipe, causing damages.

When a drain snake fails to remove a clog or if the main line is clogged, call a professional plumber.

How To Prevent Drains From Clogging

Regular maintenance is the key to preventing clogged drains.

  • Installing metal screens and sink traps catches hair and debris and helps keep drains clean.

  • Installing a water softener costs $800 to $3,000 on average and prevents mineral buildup that clogs pipes.

  • Avoid pouring any fats, oils, or greases down the drain.

  • Avoid putting coffee grounds, bones, eggshells, nuts, pits, corn husks, shells, pasta, oatmeal, onion skins, potato peels, fruit rinds, pumpkin, or fibrous vegetables down the garbage disposal.

  • Avoid flushing anything other than toilet paper down the toilet.

  • A cost-effective homemade drain cleaner using baking soda and vinegar can remedy a slow-draining tub, shower, or sink.

Homemade Drain Cleaner

Here's how to create a homemade drain cleaning solution:

  1. First, pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.

  2. Next, push 1 cup of baking soda down the drain.

  3. Then, add a 1 cup water/1 cup vinegar solution.

  4. Cover with the drain plug and wait 10 to 20 minutes.

  5. Flush the drain with boiling water again.

If this solution does not clear the drain, try a stronger chemical solution, or hire a plumber.

Snake a drain FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Snake A Drain?

Plumbers take about 5 minutes to snake a drain for clogs located near the tub, toilet, or sink. Main line sewer clogs can take hours to snake, depending on the length and number of pipes affected.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Drain Lines?

In rare cases, severe clogs may require replacing the drain lines. Drain line repair costs $300 to $1,500 on average to replace a section of piping. Prices depend on the drain material, length of replacement, location in the home, and accessibility.

Tips For Hiring A Drain Cleaning Plumber

Before hiring a plumber near you to unclog your drain, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.

  • Ask for recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors.

  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for longer than five years.

  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.

  • Ask for a written warranty on their work, including any parts.

  • Avoid making large payments upfront, and never pay in cash.