Clogged drains are one of the most common household problems. Waste can eventually accumulate and block the drain. Drain cleaners are popular solutions but they’re not environment-friendly and they don’t really clean thoroughly. If you want an inexpensive and more efficient alternative, try using a drain snake.
Also known as drain augers, drain snaking can be intimidating at first. By learning the basics, you can easily save a hundred dollars and avoid further damage. Knowing the average drain snaking cost can also help you manage your budget and keep your drain functional. So how much does snaking a drain cost?
Average Cost of Drain Snaking
The average cost to snake a drain is at $200, with most homeowners paying between $120 and $280. If you prefer to DIY, the cost decreases to $10 to $75. A standard drain snake usually costs $8 to $40 while industrial-grade snakes can be rented for around $29 to $70. Here are average overall estimates for a typical drain snaking:
- tub, kitchen, bathroom drains – $110 to $215
- toilet clog – $110 to $270
- laundry drain – $150 to $215
- bathroom sinks and tub (flat-rate) – $170
- kitchen sink (flat-rate) – $195
Type of Drain Snake
The type of drain snake required is determined by the drain size. Before you buy or rent one, make sure it fits the drain you are trying to fix. To help you choose, here are the five common types of drain snakes or augers:
- Top snake – A top snake is the smallest. It is typically used for drains with not much buildup. The usual rate for renting a top snake is estimated at $25.
- Toilet auger – Toilet augers are specifically used for toilet clogs that can’t be cleared by a plunger. They have a curved design and can clean without scratching the porcelain. Toilet augers are usually sold for $30 to $50.
- Flat tape snake – A flat tape snake is similar with the previous types but with a rigid flat cable instead of a bendable round hose. It is used for pipes with a 2-inch diameter or smaller. Some flat tape snakes also have a spear-shaped tip for pushing obstructions through the pipe instead of pulling it out. Flat tape snakes normally cost about $20 and $60.
- Power auger – Power augers are motorized and can be used for large drains with thicker buildup. It is more powerful than manual cable snakes and can remove obstructions more easily because of its fast-spinning cables. Power augers can be bought for $100 to $400 and can be rented for an average cost of $60.
- Rocket nozzle auger – Also known as hydro-jet or water jet, the rocket nozzle auger is a professional-grade machine. It unclogs the drain shooting highly pressurized water into the pipe. This method quickly removes even the most stubborn blockage by disintegrating it. Rocket nozzle augers are fairly expensive but they can unclog drain pipes up to 10 inches in diameter.
Drain Sizes and Snake Cable Diameters
Before you start choosing a drain snake, the first thing to consider is the size of the drain. When used in the wrong drain, even the most powerful drain snake will not work properly. Incorrect application could also damage the machine and the drain itself. But how do you know which cable is used for what drain?
Drain sizes and snake cables can be categorized into four sizes: small, medium, large, and extra-large. A ¼” drain snake is considered small while a 5/16” and 3/8” snakes are medium. Large cables measure ½” and the extra-large ones are at least 9/16”.
Now, for the drain sizes. Small drain lines are anything that measures less than 2 inches because a 2” drain is already medium-sized. Meanwhile, 3” drains are regarded as large while 4” to 5” drains are counted as extra-large.
Depending on your location, plumbers may either charge flat-rate or by the hour. If you live in a small town, expect to pay around $45 to $75 per hour. On the other hand, plumbing fees in big cities may cost up to $75 to $150 per hour. On the average, most people pay about $170 for a simple drain clog repair regardless of location.
Labor cost also depends on the schedule of the repair. For example, a typical drain snaking cost is around $170 during business hours. However, if it’s an emergency, the cost to snake a drain may reach up to $300.
The level of difficulty and materials required can also have an impact on the overall labor cost. For example, if the clog is caused by tree roots, a motorized power auger or a Roto-Rooter will be required. If it’s due to corroded pipes, the plumber may have to remove and replace them. This will add to the overall labor and materials cost.
Cost Factors for Drain Snaking
How much does snaking a drain cost is determined largely by your location, materials used and the time spent on unclogging it. Here’s a breakdown on how these factors affect costs:
Labor is priced differently across cities and states. In general, prices will be higher if you live in urban centers. On the other hand, costs in rural towns will be slightly cheaper.
Materials and Time
Plumbers also base their labor fees on the materials used and time spent. Repairs that take longer charge more. As for the materials, plumbers bring their own tools and supplies most of the time. However, you may also buy fixtures and other supplies on your own if you want to save a few dollars.
While drain snaking is a cheap and effective way to unclog a drain, the best way to deal with it is to avoid it. When the need arises, you should know when to DIY and when to call a professional. Recognizing the average costs and the right tools to use can definitely save you from throwing money down the drain.