How Much Does It Cost to Snake a Main Sewer Line?

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated January 24, 2022
plumber installs pipes in a home
Photo: photovs / iStock / Getty Images

The average cost to clean your sewer line is $318, with snake and rodding services running between $100 and $250 and hydro jetting costing up to $600

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Hidden just below the surface of your lawn, the main sewer line is a pipe that transports wastewater from your home to the town sewer system. In other words, if something stands in the way of your sewer line, the rest of the home's pipes can't do their job. Tree roots, hair, grease, and even scale deposits can clog up the works or damage older pipes over time.

Between inspections and sewer drain cleaning costs, expect to pay $175 to $467, with prices reaching higher for extreme clogs, repairs, and pipe replacement.

How Much Does It Cost to Snake or Hydro Jet a Main Sewer Line Per Hour?

What do gurgling pipes, tubs that refuse to drain, and strange smells from your plumbing have in common? They're all telltale signs of a sewer line blockage. Since the pipe sits underground, you'll need a sewer line professional to take a look.

For standard fixes, sewer line specialists either charge an hourly or flat rate to diagnose and treat the problem.

Hourly rates to inspect and clean a main sewer line range between $45 to $150 an hour depending on where you live and the severity of the clog. Some companies like Roto-Rooter® charge a flat rate of approximately $350 to cover both the inspection and fix, no matter how long it takes to clear the clog.

Your sewer line cleaning costs may include:

  • Home visit and initial diagnosis

  • Camera inspection

  • Rodding or hydro jet cleaning

Expect higher prices for hydro jetting drain cleaning costs, the cost to remove tree roots, and other, more complex jobs, that we'll jump into more below.

How Much Does It Cost to Clean a Main Sewer Line Near You?

While $320 is the national cost to unclog a sewer line, where you live can also impact the final price of hiring a sewer cleaner near you. Costs vary by company, region, and the type of job, as well as some more specific details:

  • Local Labor Prices: Cities may be more expensive than rural areas, for example. 

  • Local Laws and Permits: For more extensive repairs, such as replacing a sewer line and those requiring a trench to get to the pipe, some regions require additional permits.

  • Pipe Accessibility: Breaking through concrete slabs or squeezing into crawl space for pipe access can also increase the price.

  • Home Age and Pipe Material: Depending on the age of your home, you might have a clay, cast iron, bituminized fiber, or plastic PVC pipe, and each faces unique challenges when clogged or broken.

What Main Sewer Line Services Can I Get on My Budget?

The warning signs of a sewer main clog can build up over time. The good news is that catching the problem early means less money down the drain, so to speak.

For example, does your toilet make bubbling sounds when you run the dishwasher? How about a sink that takes several minutes to drain? In both cases, it's time to call your sewer line team before these issues grow.

Here's where sewer line clog costs fit into each budget:

$40-$100

Environmentally safe treatments such as RootX® and Bio-Clean® run between $40 and $100 for sewer main lines.

$100-$400

The majority of sewer line clog costs fall in this range. Your company may offer a flat fee of $350 to inspect and clear basic clogs or provide simple snaking services for up to $250.

$400+

This cost applies to bigger projects, such as a 100-year-old elm tree that has been wrapping its roots around your sewer line for several decades. Sewer line repairs, root removal, and hydro jetting costs run between $400 and $1,000. Expect additional costs to dig a trench, replace the pipe, and repair your landscape.

How Much Does It Cost to Clean a Main Sewer Line Yourself?

Plumbing is one of the most empowering categories of DIY home repair. When the pipes inside your home clog, a plunger and your favorite drain cleaner could solve the problem.

Sewer main lines are a bit different. If you detect a clog, only a certified professional has the right tools to inspect and unclog the underground pipe.

But there are DIY steps you can take in the meantime. Turn off your home's water, call your plumber, and check your cleanout line. The cleanout line is a white pipe in your basement or the side of your home that sits several inches above the ground. Unscrew the rubber cap to relieve pressure while you wait for the team.

Main Sewer Line Clog Cost Breakdown

Pinning down the exact cost of cleaning your main line can be tricky. After all, aggressive tree roots in your sewer line will cost more than removing a large hairball. Expect your costs to break down the following ways:

Inspection

As we noted above, some companies charge a flat rate for emergency services that include inspection and basic rodding for an average of $350.

Other companies may charge a base fee to come out to the house. If necessary, they may charge $250 to $500 for additional visual inspection with a camera-topped-auger that snakes through your pipes for a closer look.

Cleaning Method

The size of the clog dictates the best cleaning method. Snaking a main line—also known as rodding or augering—costs between $100 to $250, but can leave residue or smaller debris. 

Hydro jetting uses a high-pressure hose for major clogs and more extensively clears out the pipe. This service runs a bit higher at $350 to $600.

Repairs and Replacements

Here's where costs can start to rack up. High pressure, aging pipes, or even shifting ground can cause your main sewer line to crack, deteriorate, or sag. Repairs and sewer line replacements run between $1,000 and $7,500, depending on:

  • The severity of the repair

  • Access to the pipe (whether they need to dig a trench)

  • Lenth of new pipe

  • Additional services including foundation and landscape repair

How Much Does It Cost to Clean a Main Sewer Line by the Type of Service?

Sewer specialists have seen it all: Clogs from the inside of the pipe come from hair, grease, and even household items such as bulky toilet paper. Outside intruders include tree roots, soil pressure, and crumbling foundations.

Whether you need a basic clog removed or a full pipe replacement, these are some common ranges for water main cleaning costs:

Water Main CleaningCost
Minor Debris Removal$100–600
Tree Root Removal$200–$600
Trenchless Pipe Repair$160 per foot
General Line Repairs$1,000–$4,000
Full Pipe Replacement$3,000–$25,000

FAQs

sewer lines in home
Photo: Steven White / iStock / Getty Images

Why should I hire a sewer main line company?

Call a sewer line company if you detect any of the following plumbing red flags:

  • Your tub or sinks won't drain, even after trying to clean the clog yourself

  • You hear gurgling sounds coming from your drains or toilet

  • Water gathers around your basement drain or in your lawn

  • There is a raw sewage smell throughout your home

Did you just move into a beautiful Victorian fixer-upper? Be sure to get your main sewer line inspected, especially for lines older than 40 years.

What should I consider when hiring a sewer line company?

Avoiding sewer line company scams is a big topic of concern in this industry. Research sewer line businesses just as thoroughly as you would any other contractor that comes into your home. 

The right sewer cleaners near you should check these boxes:

  • Licensed, certified, and insured

  • Positive customer reviews in your area

  • Years of experience in sewer line cleaning

  • Industry awards and top ratings

  • Transparent pricing and contracts

What other projects can I do at the same time?

Sewer line care is a great time to give a little TLC to the rest of your home's plumbing. A bit like a car, each part of your plumbing works in tandem: One weak pipe affects the whole system.

Start by giving your plumbing a seasonal tune-up. Consider either winterizing your pipes before the first frost or prepping your plumbing for summer. If you spot an issue, factor in the cost to replace your home's pipes at the same time.

Mysterious plumbing issues can be a real headache, especially when you can't figure out the source. A clog in your sewer main line could be the answer, but contacting a plumber near you sooner rather than later can keep costs low and work to a minimum.

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