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How Much Does It Cost To Clean A Sewer Line?

National Average Change Location | View National
$293
Typical Range
$157 - $429
Low End
$99
High End
$900

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In many homes, the main sewer line can become clogged over time. This clog can be due to normal blockages from everyday use or outside problems like root systems encroaching. Whatever the reason behind the clog, there is no question that a blocked sewer line is going to cause problems. The sewer line is what transports waste from the home to the city sewer system, so resolving the problem should be done as quickly as possible. While there are a variety of products on the market designed to help homeowners tackle clogs on their own, it is usually advisable to seek out a professional plumber or a commercial sewage company.

Signs of a Clogged Sewer Line

The most obvious sign that a main sewer line is clogged is having sewage or waste coming back out of the drains. This is usually an unpleasant experience that creates horrible smells and may even do damage to the home if it can't be taken care of immediately. However, there are warning signs that tend to crop up ahead of time. Paying attention to a few key signs can help homeowners to notice when there are clogs before a full blockage happens. For example, if there is a loud gurgling sound coming from one of the drains that never used to be there before, it may be due to a clog in the line. In older homes, noticing pieces of roots could be a sign of a problem. As older pipes collapse, roots are able to get inside. If water comes through the drain and even tiny pieces of roots are visible, this may be a big issue. Even if water doesn't gurgle or come back up through a drain, a bad smell may be sign of a clog somewhere in the line.

Ways to Clear or Clean a Sewer Line

In order to remove a clog from a sewer line, professionals may rely on several different tools and appliances. The most basic and common approach is to rely on a drain auger, which is also called a drain snake. This is a long cable, often made from metal, that is flexible enough to go down the drain and around any bends in the plumbing. Most professional plumbers have augers that are 50 feet or longer in length so that the majority of clogs can be reached easily. If the clog is minor, it can be broken up using an auger in a matter of minutes. While an auger can break up whatever is causing the clog and is clearing the sewer line, it is not actually cleaning the entire pipe. To clean a sewer line and remove all blockages large and small, the most effective option is a high-pressure hose. This can remove the clog as well as any residue that has built up within the sewer pipes. Generally, a high-pressure hose, also known as a water jetter, will be more expensive than using an auger. However, it may work better and mean that homeowners only have to address the problem once instead of every few months.

What Is Included in the Service

When homeowners hire a professional to clean a sewer line, the service typically begins with plumbers asking questions about how the clog was noticed and where any smells or backed-up drains are found. Then, they will locate the clean out. The clean out is a fitting located just outside of the home but before it meets the main sewer. The clean out, which is generally shaped like a Y, is the easiest spot to open up the sewer lines and have access in both directions. From there, the plumbing professional will use either a drain auger or a water hose to clear out the line. To test that the process was successful, the clean out should be reinstalled and the drains in the home should be checked. If the cleaning was successful, it will be immediately noticeable that the sewer lines are clear, and there should be no gurgling or standing water in the drains.

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Additional Costs to Consider

Aside from using a drain auger or a water hose, there are several things that a plumbing professional can do for a sewer line. The more involved the process, however, the more it will cost to the homeowner. If blockages are frequent, it may be worth having a video inspection of the sewer lines. This works by placing a small camera on the end of the auger and running it through the pipe. This gives professionals and homeowners a clear view of what is causing blockages and perhaps who is to blame. This may reveal that things like paper towels or sanitary towels are regularly being flushed down the toilet, for example. If there is a major problem, like tree roots damaging the line, then replacing the entire sewer line may be a necessary as well as a substantial monetary investment.

Keeping Sewer Lines Clear

To prevent clogs in a sewer line, there are steps homeowners can take. Installing a catch-all to prevent hair from going down bath or shower drains, for example, is an easy first step. Also, encourage residents not to flush anything but toilet paper. In the kitchen, it is best to avoid putting certain items down the sink's drain such as coffee grounds or leftover cooking oil.

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Armie Snarley More than 1 year ago
I have  evertree roots in my front yard sewer line. The city workers marked 4 ft. of pvc pipe that needs replaced. How much will this cost me?
Muhammad Nawaz More than 1 year ago
I paid $485 after applying $40 coupon to Roto Rotor company, They were in and out 20 min.It seems tooooo much. I did not have a choice
Patricia Fausser More than 1 year ago
03/26/2016 $575 to snake line from house to street (Saturday night, day before Easter Sunday) . Came in 20 minutes and charged $160 fee to come out emergency. I am grateful they came so quickly with unpleasant things coming up the pipe in our basement.

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