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Last updated on February 1st, 2024

What’s the average cost of unblocking a drain?

In this drain unblocking cost guide, we outline the typical cost of unblocking a drain, including drain jetting, rodding and lining prices.

Fast Facts

  • The average cost of unblocking a drain varies depending on the size of the blockage and the method used.
  • The average call-out charge is £60 (or £180 for an emergency call-out).
  • Drain unblocking using rodding costs £75 on average, while jetting costs £185.

If you notice that your toilet won’t flush, the drain covers near your property are overflowing, or your sinks are taking ages to empty, you could have a blocked drain.

Don’t worry, a drain clearance expert near you will be able to quickly get things moving again.

Keep reading to find out the average cost of unblocking a drain so you know what to budget.

How much does drain unblocking cost?

There are lots of different factors that can affect the cost of unblocking a drain. These include:

  • The size and cause of the blockage
  • The method used
  • Whether your drain pipes are damaged

Here are some ballpark figures for some of the main drain unblocking costs you might come across.

Cost provided itemUnitPrice range - LowPrice range - HighAverage UK cost
Call outEa--£60
Emergency call outEa--£180
Drain roddingPer project£60£90£75
Drain jettingPer project£120£250£185
Drain rodding and jettingPer project£160£400£280
Drain specialistPer day£240£300£275
Drain CCTV surveyPer project£150£400£275
Drain reliningPer lm£60£150£105

Our costs are ballpark averages – get a local tradesperson to quote now

Bear in mind also that the price you end up paying will depend on where the blockage is located. As a general rule of thumb, the cost of unblocking a clogged sink, bath or toilet will be significantly less than general drain unblocking costs.

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What’s the price to unblock a drain?

If commercial drain unblockers have failed, professionals will normally use one of three methods to unclog your drains: rodding, jetting or snaking.

They may also use other techniques such as a drain CCTV survey if they feel that the blockage is especially severe or complicated. Here are some of the main methods your professional might recommend, along with their associated costs.

Drain rodding costs

Drain rodding involves a tradesperson guiding a drain rod through your sewer pipe or drain to force out the blockage. These rods are flexible and can be used to unblock both sinks and sewer pipes.

If your drain clearance expert decides that drain rodding is the best method to clear your blockage, you can expect to pay around £75 for the service.

Drain jetting prices

Drain jetting uses high-pressure water to clean out blockages. The water is forced through the pipes, forcing out any obstructions.

This method is more likely to be used on stubborn sewer blockages. It involves using specialist equipment and can take longer to complete, which is why the average drain jetting cost is £185.

drain unblocking cost

Drain rodding and jetting costs

In some cases, your tradesperson may start by rodding but then need to progress to jetting to clear a blockage entirely.

Expect to pay in the region of £280 for both rodding and jetting.

How much does it cost to snake a drain?

Drain snaking works similarly to drain rodding. It’s normally used for indoor blockages, for instance, to remove a small clog from your toilet or sink. Drain snakes are also called electric eel cleaners and are essentially the next step up from your traditional plunger.

Unblocking a toilet or sink using a drain snake will typically cost around £60.

Drain CCTV survey cost

If the blockage or obstruction in your drain is severe, your tradesperson may recommend a drain CCTV survey.

During a drain CCTV survey, your tradesperson will insert a camera into the drain to see what’s causing the obstruction – and what can clear it. The average cost of a drain CCTV survey is £275.

CCTV drain survey in progress

Drain lining cost per metre

If your drain pipes are damaged, your tradesperson may recommend that your drains are re-lined. This involves using a polymer lining to repair any damage and ensure water flows smoothly.

Average drain lining costs in the UK are £105 per linear metre.

Drain unclogging hourly rates

Normally, drain clearance companies will charge you a call-out fee for an engineer. They’ll then charge you on top of this for the work itself, once they’ve assessed the problem and decided on the best method of drain clearing.

The average call-out cost for an engineer is £60. In an emergency, they are likely to charge around £180 to visit your property.

Meanwhile, the typical hourly rate will vary depending on the service needed and the size of the blockage. However, drain specialists typically charge around £275. per day, which works out at around £30 to £37.50 per hour.

Drain unblocking cost calculator

To calculate the cost of unclogging your drain you’ll need to factor in several factors, including:

  • Location – prices will vary according to where you are in the country
  • Size of the obstruction – more significant obstructions will take longer to shift and cost more
  • Size of the drain – bigger drains mean bigger obstructions that can take longer to shift
  • Method of unblocking – rodding is cheaper than jetting. Combining methods will cost more

Each of these factors will impact the cost. Then, you need to add on the engineer’s call-out fee and labour cost to carry out the work.

As you can imagine, this isn’t easy to calculate without an expert taking a look at your drain to diagnose the problem. The best way to get accurate prices is to speak to local drain experts and ask for a breakdown of costs for the various options available.

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What are the signs of a blocked drain?

The first and most obvious sign that your drain is blocked is a toilet that won’t flush. However, there are a few other things to look out for too.

  • The drain covers near your property are overflowing
  • A persistent smell of sulphur
  • A gurgling sound when you flush the toilet
  • Your sinks are taking longer to empty

All of these signs suggest you need the help of a professional tradesperson to unclog the drain.

Why are my drains blocked?

If you have a blocked drain, there could be several potential causes. Here are the main ones:

1. Your pipes too small

If your drain pipes are too small, waste and debris can build up leading to a blockage.

2. Drain misuse

Oil, grease, hair, soap and tissue paper can all build up in drains, causing a blockage.

3. Corrosion or damage

Over time, metal pipes can corrode or can become damaged, which can cause blockages.

4. Regular maintenance

Experts recommend you get your drains cleaned out every couple of years. This will remove any potential obstructions or build-up of material that can cause blockages.

Drain cleaning cost

While drain unblocking is the process of removing a blockage from your drain pipes, drain cleaning is the process of removing any build-up of grease and debris to prevent future blockages.

Drain cleaning can help your water to drain quicker and eliminate unpleasant smells coming from your drains. In this way, cleaning gets on top of little niggles before they turn into bigger problems.

Most homeowners or tenants put off drain cleaning. However, it’s vital to keep your drain system healthy and functioning properly.

Investing in drain cleaning can reduce your costs in the long term by preventing you from having to fork out on drain unblocking later down the line.

Drain cleaning quotes

Like with drain unblocking, drain cleaning typically involves methods such as drain jetting and CCTV surveys.

As a rough guide, you’re looking at around £80 to £100 for drain cleaning services. However, the best way to get an accurate idea of drain cleaning costs near you is to get at least three quotes from our trusted tradespeople. That way, it’ll be easy to select the best company and price for the job.

Our request a quote feature is perfect for getting quotes. Just tell us about the job you want doing and we’ll send the details over to local tradespeople in your area on your behalf. They’ll then contact you directly.

Alternatively, enter your postcode below to view a selection of the best experts offering drain cleaning near you.

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Sink unblocking service cost

If your sink won’t drain, there’s probably a blockage that needs clearing.

Luckily, unblocking a sink is usually a quick and straightforward task that won’t cost the earth. The typical sink unblocking service cost is around

£60.

That said, if it turns out to be a bigger blockage that requires drain rodding, you could end up paying the average drain rodding cost of around £75.

sink unblocking service cost

A DIY approach to unblocking drains

Noticed water pooling at your feet in the shower? Or water sitting in the sink long after you’ve turned the tap off? You may be able to clear the blockage yourself instead of calling in the professionals straight away.

Just follow these simple steps.

1. Fish out blockages with a wire coat hanger

Start by straightening out a wire coat hanger. Bend one end into a little hook and push it into the drain to fish out as much gunk as you can.

If your blocked drain is in the shower, you’ll likely find lots of hair. If it’s your kitchen sink, on the other hand, it’s more likely to be bits of food and debris.

Either way, be sure to pull it all out instead of pushing it in further!

2. Pour boiling water down the drain

Now pour a kettle full of boiling water down the drain. Pour it slowly and keep pausing to give the hot water time to work before pouring the next bit down.

This may well clear the blockage away. But if not, carry on to the next step.

3. Pour bicarbonate of soda and vinegar down the drain

Mix an equal amount of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar together. You’ll only need around a cup of each.

As soon as the mixture starts fizzing, pour it down the drain and let it sit there for at least an hour. This should help to remove any build-up of grime.

Just be careful not to use this combination repeatedly to unblock drains. Although vinegar can be effective at unblocking pipes, repeated use could corrode old pipes and even damage the rubber seals on them. So, only use it when absolutely necessary.

4. Flush with boiling water

Lastly, follow up with a final kettle full of boiling water. Again, pour it slowly and pause several times to give the hot water time to work.

Hopefully, that clears up the blockage and you can give yourself a well-earned pat on the back. If not, there’s still one option remaining: head to the DIY shops and get hold of a well-reviewed household drain unblocker.

5. If all DIY attempts fail…

It’s time to call in a professional drain unblocker near you.

Cost of unblocking a drain key takeaways

  • Severe drain blockages should be cleared by a specialist. This isn’t something you should attempt on your own.
  • The total cost of drain unblocking depends on several factors, including your location, the size of the blockage and the method used to clear it.
  • The total drain unblocking cost you will pay is a combination of the call-out charge and the work completed.

Ready to find a professional to clear your blocked drain?

Simply enter your postcode below to view a selection of some of the best drain specialists near you on Checkatrade.

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FAQs

How long does it take to unblock drains?

The exact time it takes to unblock a drain will depend on a variety of factors, including the severity of the blockage and the method used.

That said, a minor drain blockage that can be fixed with rodding should take a tradesperson no longer than an hour. A larger blockage that needs jetting to be cleared will typically take around two hours.

Does bleach unclog drains?

No, bleach isn’t an effective drain unblocker. It won’t dissolve common drain clogs made of hair, food and grease. Plus, it could damage your drains and pipes.

What do plumbers use to unblock drains?

Plumbers and drain specialists both carry with them a range of tools that can help to unblock drains. Plumbers will generally carry several different kinds of drain snakes (also known as drain augers) with them, as well as hydro-jetting equipment.

How much should it cost to clear a drain?

As a general guide, you can expect to pay £75 for drain rodding or £185 for drain jetting.

The cost to clear a drain can vary widely as it will depend on the type of blockage, where it’s situated and ultimately the unblocking method needed.

Can I unclog a drain myself?

You may be able to clear a minor clog in a sink, shower or toilet yourself. However, if you’ve tried the conventional ways of unblocking a drain and the blockage remains, a specialist will be needed. They’ll be able to take care of the issue quickly and safely.

You can find a selection of drain unblocking specialists on Checkatrade by typing in your postcode below.

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Working with professional estimators, we collate cost estimates for the common home improvement and repair jobs in the UK.

All the costs are estimates only. For accurate costs for your particular requirements, you are encouraged to reach out to professional tradespeople to receive a quote for your job.

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Mason Jacob

this blog post serves as a comprehensive guide for anyone seeking information on drain unblocking cost

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