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When a drain becomes clogged and unable to properly function, it has an immediate impact on your entire household plumbing system. Not only can a clogged drain be highly inconvenient, but, if you’re unable to properly dispose of waste, it can be a real threat to household hygiene.

A skilled, professional plumber can dissolve the clog and get your drain working again as normal. The question is, what will it cost?

drain cleaning | clog | clogged drain | clean drain | drain line

Finding the Right Plumber

First things first: While some very minor clogs can be addressed with plumbing snakes and other DIY methods, most clogs will require the intervention of a plumber with advanced drain cleaning equipment. This is certainly true for clogged sewer lines, for issues stemming from tree roots, and even for clogs caused by significant toilet paper buildup.

So how should homeowners go about searching for a qualified plumber? “The proper disposal of sewage in a home is a critical health measure,” comments Lisa Carter of Carter’s My Plumber, a top drain cleaning company in Indianapolis. “When hiring a professional plumber to clear your home’s drain it’s important to ensure they are skilled and knowledgeable. As a homeowner, the last thing you want is any further damage to your home’s drainage system. Be aware of advertising schemes to clear drains, along with making sure the company is reputable and licensed. In the state of Indiana, a plumbing contractor must be licensed.

She continues, “Drain equipment is expensive, so hiring a company that is fully equipped is important. Also, a company should warrant their workmanship. It may be easy to push a clog on down the line and not take the extra time to make certain the entire system is cleaned properly. A thorough inspection will give a technician the clarity about resolving the issue completely.”

How Much Does it Cost to Clean Out a Drain?

According to Carter, the drain cleaning cost is dependent upon where the drain is located, what type of drain it is, the size of the clog, and more. The method of drain cleaning is also relevant; plumbers may recommend the use of a cable or a jetter, and the cost for these methods can vary.

For Indianapolis homeowners, Carter says cabling starts at $300 and jetting around $700.

How Much Does it Cost to Unclog a Main Drain Pipe?

Another common question from homeowners: What happens when the clog is in a main drain pipe?

“This also is dependent on location,” Carter explains. “Outside clean-out with a cable starts at $400 and a jet starts at $900. If it is an inside access, whether clean-out or through a drain, a cable would start around $650 and to jet this would start out at $1350.”

What About DIY Drain Cleaning?

Some homeowners will wonder about handling their own clogs, as opposed to hiring professional drain cleaning services. Carter says this can sometimes be a good idea, assuming there aren’t any particularly severe clogs, and assuming the right DIY method is chosen.

For instance, is it okay for homeowners to snake their own drains, using store-bought plumbing snakes? “Yes, but it is always best to have a professional look at it to make sure it’s clear and has no damage that caused the backup,” says Carter. “Plus, it’s dangerous if a person doesn’t know what they are doing.”

As for chemical drain cleaners, Carter is more direct. “Generally, a drain cleaner typically has some type of acid in it, which causes damage to the pipe over time,” she warns.

Drain Cleaning

Additional Questions About Drain Cleaning Costs

There are a number of common concerns that homeowners have about hiring plumbing companies to handle their clogged drains. Carter provides answers to some of the most frequently asked inquiries:

“As long as there are no clogs there is really no need to clean the main as it would flow and clean itself,” Carter says.

“Just like your main drain,” the smaller drains in your home will clean themselves if properly operating,” she notes.

Says Carter, “You would see toilets backing up, showers and tubs and pretty much all drains backing up into the home or through the outside clean-out.” She also advises being attentive to unusual bathroom sink smells.

“By using a cable machine (snake) or a high pressure jet,” explains Carter.

“With a hydro jet or a cable machine,” she affirms.

“In some cases yes,” Carter comments. “Cast iron pipes get eaten by the acids in the cleaners. Acids can also damage newer PVC lines as well. Plus, there is the risk of harmful fumes or the risk of the liquid splashing out causing severe effects.”

Carter says that, for homeowners in the Indianapolis area, the cost for jetting begins at $900.

Carter explains that the cost starts at $900 to clean with a hydrojet and $350 to clean with a cable.

It depends on a number of factors, but given the location of secondary lines, they are usually a little less pricey to unclog.

According to Carter, drains can be clogged by the intrusion of tree roots, or by inappropriate materials being placed into the toilet, kitchen sink, or laundry drain. Some of the most common sources of severe clogs include feminine hygiene products, hair, baby wipes, leaves, yard debris, or big pieces of food placed into the garbage disposal.

Usually sewer line cleaning/drain cleaning is sufficient. In some cases, if the issue stems from broken pipes, then drain clearing will be inadequate. Carter notes that a video camera inspection can confirm whether a drain clearing service is needed, or whether pipe replacement is required.

Carter says manual tools, such as a drain auger, can be found at any home improvement store.

Kelson Carter

Article reviewed by:

Kelson Carter, aka, The Prince of Plumbing

Kelson is a 3rd generation Plumbing Contractor. His family business is located in Greenwood, Indiana, and provides Residential Plumbing Service to the Indianapolis Metro market.

Kelson grew up watching his grandfather and father do plumbing. After graduating high school, Kelson went to Trade School and became a Licensed Master Plumber and Licensed Plumbing Contractor. He is also Certified in Backflow Prevention. He currently owns and operates Carter's My Plumber with his parents.


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