2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (2023)

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (1)

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Tom Grupa

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Sarah Noel

Main Sewer Line Clog Cost

Main sewer line clogs cost$150 to $800to clear. Snaking a sewer line costs$150 to $500on average. Hydro jet sewer cleaning costs$250 to $800on average. Costs to unclog a main sewer line depend on the severity of the clog, accessibility, repairs, and local labor.

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (2)
Main Sewer Line Clog Cost
MethodCost To Unclog
Snaking $150 – $500
Hydro Jetting $250 – $800
  • Signs the sewer line is clogged are pipes making gurgling sounds, multiple plumbing fixtures draining slowly, bad drain odors, or sewage backup.

  • Main line clogs are not a DIY job and should always be cleared by a professional drain cleaner.

  • Hydro jetting takes 2 to 3 hours on average, depending on the sewer length, configuration, and type of clog debris.

Average cost to clean a main sewer line clog

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (3)
Average Cost To Clean Main Sewer Line
National Average Cost$337
Minimum Cost$150
Maximum Cost$1,000
Average Range $175 to $500

Cost To Clean A Sewer Line

The average cost to clean a sewer line is$150 to $800, depending on the cleaning method, severity of the clog, and drain line accessibility.

Sewer Line Cleaning Cost
MethodAverage Cost
Snaking / Rodding $150 – $500
Hydro Jetting $250 – $800
Chemical Treatment $15 – $100
Repair or Replace Main Drain $500 – $4,000

Get free estimates from sewer pros near you.


Hydro Jetting Cost

Hydro jet drain cleaning costs$250 to $800on average, depending on the severity of the blockage and the sewer line location. Hydro jetting a severely clogged residential sewer line costs$1,000 or more. Commercial hydro jetting costs$500 to $3,000.

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (4)
Hydro Jetting Price List
TypeCost Range
Residential $250 – $1,000
Commercial $500 – $3,000

Hydro jetting pros & cons:

  • Deeper clean that lasts longer than snaking, but is more expensive

  • Uses a high-pressure water jet to clean pipes and clear tree roots, grease, scale buildup, mineral deposits, and debris

  • Eco-friendly and safe to use on all types and sizes of pipes

  • Can damage weak or older pipes

  • May require video camera inspection to check the structural integrity of the pipes

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (5)

Cost To Snake Main Sewer Line

The average cost to snake a main sewer line is$150 to $500, depending on the drain accessibility, severity of the clog, and labor. Snaking or rodding a main drain through the sewer cleanout is the cheapest method while using the roof drain vent or by removing a toilet costs the most.

Chemical Cleaners To Unclog Sewer Line

Chemical drain cleaners cost$15 to $100to assist unclogging a sewer line. Chemical cleaners target grease, tree roots, and debris in sewer lines but are not as effective as hydro jetting. Chemicals are typically used for bi-annual maintenance or after rodding or jetting to help keep pipes clean longer.

Chemical Drain Line Cleaning Costs
RootX $30 – $100
  • Foaming herbicide
  • Eco-friendly
  • Won't harm pipes, septic systems, or above-ground vegetation
Bio-Clean $50 – $100
  • Natural blend of bacteria and enzymes that eats waste
  • Eco-friendly
Copper Sulfate Crystals $15 – $70
  • Effective on tree roots
  • Toxic to pets, fish, people, and the environment
Sodium Chloride $15 – $70
  • Helps melt greasy clogs
  • Dehydrates the root system
  • Toxic to surrounding soil ecosystem if pipes have cracks
Drano, Roebic, Liquid-Plumr, Green Gobbler $5 – $15
  • Ineffective on sewer lines
  • Eco-friendly
  • Safe for all types of pipes

Repairing or Replacing A Main Drain

Sewer line repair costs$500 to $1,000if the pipes are accessible or$1,000 to $4,000for pipes buried outdoors. Prices depend on the pipe type and length, location and accessibility, job complexity, and cleanup. Sewer lines may be broken, cracked, collapsed, or filled with tree roots.

Repairing or Replacing A Main Drain
ServiceAverage Cost
Accessible Sewer Pipe $500 – $1,000
Outdoor, Buried Sewer Pipe $1,000 – $4,000

Additional costs may include:

  • Foundation repair costs $2,300 to $6,700.

  • Sod installation costs $1 to $2 per square foot.

  • Landscaping costs $4 to $12 per square foot.

  • Driveway repair costs $600 to $3,000.

  • Patio or walkway repair costs $500 to $2,200.

Sewer Drain Cleaning Cost Factors

Depending on the severity of the job, additional costs may include a sewer camera inspection, sewage cleanup, removing a toilet to access the drain, or installing a cleanout for easy access.

Sewer and Drain Cleaning Costs
ServiceAverage Cost
Sewer Camera Inspection Cost $125 – $500
Remove Tree Roots $200 – $600
Remove & Reseal Toilet $100 – $150
Sewage Backup Cleanup $1,000 – $5,000
Storm Drain Cleaning $200 – $600
Install Sewer Cleanout $600 – $2,000
Plumbing Labor Rates $45 – $150 per hour

Plumber Costs To Unclog Main Sewer Line

Plumbers charge $45 to $150 per hour to diagnose and unclog a main sewer line. Some plumbers charge a$50 to $200service fee, which may cover the first hour of work. Other factors include:

  • Severity – A severe main line clog takes hours to unblock, whereas snaking a bathroom or kitchen drain may take five minutes. Removing tree roots or hazardous sewage backup adds to the total cost.

  • Access – Older homes without a sewer cleanout are harder to access the main line through a sink, tub, or toilet pipes. Sewer drains with multiple bends and connection points take longer to clean.

  • Damaged Pipes – Sewer lines may be broken, cracked, collapsed, or filled with tree roots requiring repairs or replacement.

Get free estimates from plumbers near you.


How To Clean Sewer Line

Professional sewer companies follow this sewer cleaning process:

  1. Diagnose – First, the plumber asks questions about the location of the backup and any symptoms noticed.

  2. Clean-out Access – The plumber locates the sewer clean-out that gives main line access in both directions.

  3. Pressure Release – The plumber turns off the water at the main supply (street level) and removes the clean-out plug.

  4. Inspection – The plumber may perform a camera inspection in the sewer clean-out line to diagnose the problem and check the pipes for any cracks or damage that could be aggravated by hydro jetting.

  5. Cleaning Process – The plumber inserts a drain auger or hydro jet hose and nozzle into the clean-out line to clear the debris, tree roots, or buildup and to descale iron sewer pipes.

  6. Final Inspection – The plumber tests the drains and may conduct a sewer camera inspection to ensure everything is thoroughly flushed out.

  7. Chemical Application – Once pipes are professionally cleaned, regular RootX or Bio-Clean applications help keep pipes clean longer.

Kitchen & Bathroom Clogs

The averagecost to unclog a drainis$100 to $275for a bathroom or kitchen sink, toilet, tub, or shower. Basic drain clogs can be handled yourself by buying a drain snake for$15 to $100, renting a machine auger for$30 to $80 per day, or using chemical cleaners.

Main Line Blockages

Main lines connect from your home to the city's sewer main. Main sewer pipe cleaning should always be handled by a professional. Main sewer line blockages could run under the home or be up to 100' away from the house, requiring expensive hydro jets, cameras, and augers.

Sometimes when the main line backs up, the pressure blows the toilet seal causing it to leak around the base. Removing and resealing a toilet costs$100 to $150.

Sewer Scope Inspection

Asewer scope inspection costs$125 to $500on average, and allows the plumber to locate clogs or damaged areas with a video camera. Schedule a sewer inspection for drains more than 20 years old or lines with frequent blockages.

Plumbers may recommend a sewer inspection to check for damage before cleaning or if snaking or hydro jetting doesn't unclog the sewer line.

Cost To Remove Tree Roots In Sewer Line

Removing tree roots in a sewer line costs$200 to $600, depending on the method. Sewer lines with severe tree root damage require replacement at$1,000 to $4,000. Once removed, plumbers recommend annual or bi-annual chemical treatments that help keep tree roots out of pipes.

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (6)
  • After hydro jetting, tree roots typically take 3 to 7 years to grow back, without chemical treatments.

  • A sewer video inspection costs $200 to $500 and helps diagnose any pipe damage and the severity of the roots.

  • In some cases, the invasive roots have to be dug up around the sewer pipe.

Sewage Backup Cleanup Cost

Sewage backup cleanup costs$1,000 to $5,000on average or$7 per square footwithout repairs. Raw sewage cleanup costs depend on the size of the spill, length of time the sewage sits, and type of materials damaged.

Septic tank cleaning costs$275 to $600for spills caused by a backed-up septic tank. Clogged sewer lines and overflowing septic tanks cause raw sewage to back up in sinks, showers, toilets, and drains.

Sewage backup should be considered an emergency. Raw sewage is considered category 3 black water and may contain viruses, bacteria, parasites, mold, and other microbes that cause serious illnesses.

Roto Rooter Hydro Jetting Cost

Roto-Rooter hydro jetting costs$500 to $900to clean a main sewer drain. Roto-Rooter requires an on-site inspection before providing a flat rate water jet estimate. Some Roto-Rooter franchises charge a$70 to $200trip fee that may be deducted with additional work.

Most Roto-Rooter franchises provide a 90-day warranty on sewer cleaning.

Compare prices from sewer pros near you.


Storm Drain Cleaning Cost

Storm drain cleaning costs$200 to $600on average, depending on the type and size of drainage system and cause of clog. Storm drains need cleaning when the catch basin is half-full or when flooding occurs in the yard, driveway, streets, or basement after a rainstorm.

Drainage pipes typically need a video camera inspection to determine the source of clogs or leaks.

Without regular cleaning, backups and clogs can lead to flood, foundation, and septic tank damage. If hydro jetting or snaking doesn't penetrate the clogged area, and dirt, mud, and rocks are removed from the drain, a broken drain pipe may need replacing.

Public Storm Drain Cleaning

  • The city or municipality is responsible for cleaning public storms drains.

  • The property owner is responsible for drain systems connected to the storm drain, such as catch basins, French drains, yard drainage pipes, or sump pumps.

  • Avoid using chemical cleaners in storm drains as water flows directly into the closest body of water taking these chemicals with them.

Sewer Cleanout Cost

Sewer cleanout installation costs$600 to $2,000on average, depending on the condition of existing pipes and excavation work required. Sewer cleanouts provide access to the main sewer line for plumbing snakes and hydro jets to clear clogs or drain a backup.

2023 Sewer Line Cleaning Cost | Hydrojet or Snake Main Line (7)

Most homes built after 1970 have one or more cleanouts due to plumbing code. For older homes with the original plumbing, it's best to have one installed.

Without a sewer cleanout, clearing a main line clog requires accessing the pipes from the sinks, tubs, and toilets.

Signs Main Sewer Line Is Clogged

Signs your main sewer line is clogged include:

  • Multiple Fixtures Clogged – If the toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers are all backed up at once or draining slowly, the main sewer line is likely clogged.

  • Pipes Making Gurgling Sounds – If the toilet bubbles and gurgles when the bathroom sink is running (after a minute), air is trapped in the plumber system which signals a clogged sewer line.

  • Sewage Backup – When the toilet is flushed, water backs up into the bathtub or shower. When the washing machine drains, sinks and toilets start to overflow. Clogged sewer lines prevent water from going down the drain.

  • Drainage In Cleanout – Sewage standing in or draining out of the sewer cleanout if a sign of a clog.

  • Bad Odors – When lines are clogged, sewage backs up causing bad smells to come up from floor drains.

  • Frequently Clogged Drains – Drains that continuously clog, especially on the first floor of the home, signal a break or blockage in the sewer pipe.

What Causes Sewer Backup

The leading causes of sewer backup are pouring grease down the drains, flushing debris, tree root infiltration, and bellied piping.

  • Severe Pipe Damage – Broken or ruptured sewer pipes can't properly drain, which causes frequent backups.

  • Tree Roots – Tree roots can infiltrate pipes and cause blockages as they expand over time.

  • Bellied Pipes – Sagging or sinking sewer lines due to ground or soil conditions causes a "bellied" pipe. This low spot collects debris and waste, which results in repeat blockages.

  • Flushing Debris – Flushing debris such as paper towels, feminine hygiene products, and thick toilet paper can cause blockages.

  • Pouring Grease – Grease, fats, and oils poured down the drain will harden and lead to clogged lines.

Preventing Main Sewer Line Clogs

Preventative maintenance for sewer lines includes:

  • Install a drain catcher to prevent debris or hair from going down bath or shower drains.

  • Avoid pouring grease, fats, and oils down the drain.

  • Don't flush napkins, paper towels, feminine hygiene products, or too much toilet paper at once down the drains.

  • Avoid putting food particles, coffee grounds, eggshells, rice, pasta, or flour down the sinks drains.

  • Avoid planting trees and shrubs near sewer lines.

  • Pour hot water down the drains frequently to help dissolve clogs.

  • Use chemical treatments to keep tree roots out of the pipes.

  • Replace cast iron or clay drains with plastic PVC pipes.

  • Install a backwater prevention valve that allows sewage to go out but not come back in.

Schedule a sewer inspection and cleaning today.


Main sewer line cleaning FAQs

What Is Jetting A Sewer Line?

Hydro jetting a sewer line is a method of sewer and drain line cleaning by using high-pressure water streams through specialized jetting nozzles. Sewer jetting clears obstructions that may be causing clogs and prevents sewage backups.

Hydrojet vs. Snake
  • Eco-friendly; no chemicals used, only water
  • Safe to use on all types and sizes of pipes
  • Deeper clean than snaking. Efficiently clears tree roots, grease, scale buildup, mineral deposits, and debris.
  • Lasts longer than snaking
  • Prevents hazardous waste from backing up
  • Applicable for both residential and commercial use
  • More expensive
  • Must be performed by professionals
  • Can damage weak or fragile pipes
  • Requires camera inspection to check the structural integrity of the pipes
  • Cheaper than jetting
  • Reliable tool that can be used by both plumbers and homeowners
  • Gentler method for minor clogs or pipes too weak for jetting
  • Suitable for homes with older plumbing systems
  • Not as effective; only works on basic clogs
  • Leaves behind residue and debris
  • Doesn't last as long as jetting
  • Can damage plastic and copper pipes

How Often To Clean Sewer Lines?

Most homeowners clean their sewer lines on an"as-needed" basisat the first sign of any issues. For preventative measures, sewer lines should be cleaned every18 to 22 months. Schedule a video inspection for sewer lines more than 40 years old or lines with frequent problems.

How Long Does Hydro Jetting Last?

Some plumbers guarantee hydro jetting lasts2 yearsand offer a no-clog warranty. After hydro jet cleaning, most tree roots take between3 and 7 yearsto grow back.

How Long Does Hydro Jetting Take?

Hydro jetting takes2 to 3 hourson average, depending on the sewer length, configuration, and type of debris clogged. After the equipment is set up, pumping water through the drains takes about an hour. A final sewer camera inspection takes another hour to ensure the pipes are clean.

Will Drano Unclog Main Sewer Line?

Drano does not unclog sewer lines. Misusing Drano can damage plastic drain pipes and can cause physical injury. Alternatives to clean main lines are RootX, copper sulfate, and enzymatic drain cleaners such as Bio-Clean.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tree Roots In Sewer Line?

Tree roots in a sewer line arenot coveredby standard homeowners insurance. Invading tree roots are considered a maintenance issue, and most homeowners' insurance policies don't cover any maintenance around the house.

Still have questions? Ask a sewer pro.


DIY Sewer Line Clearing Cost

Alwayshire a professional plumberto diagnose and clean main sewer lines. Machine augers and hydro jets are available to rent, but they can crack drains and cause expensive repairs when misused. Minor toilet, sink, or tub clogs can be cleaned yourself using a plunger, snake, or chemicals.

DIY Sewer Line Clearing Cost
MethodAverage Cost
Chemical Cleaners$5 – $300
Manual Snake$15 – $100
Machine Snake Rental$30 – $80 per day
Hydrojet Rental$100 – $200 per day
Drain Camera Rental$120 – $225 per day

Hydro Jetting Machine Cost

Hydro jetting machines cost$1,500 to $4,500on average for residential cart models and between$5,000 and $20,000for commercial trailer models. Prices depend on the engine size, PSI, portability, and drain size capacity.

Hydro Jetting Machine Cost
MethodAverage Cost
Cart$1,500 – $4,500
Trailer$5,000 – $20,000

Hiring A Sewer Cleaning Company

Before hiring a sewer company to unclog your main line, 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, licensed, and have been in business for longer than five years.

  • Avoid selecting the cheapest 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.

Can I Get Cheap Sewer Line Cleaning?

The cheapest sewer line cleaning starts at$100for snaking or rodding, which may not be effective. Improper cleaning can lead to larger problems in the future. Local and un-franchised plumbers typically offer lower rates.

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