How much does it cost to clear a drain?
How Much does it cost to clear a drain?
The average cost to clear a drain is $350, but there are many factors that can affect the cost. First let’s try to quickly understand a home’s plumbing system and why drains plug in the first place.
A homes plumbing system is comprised of two major parts, water and drainage. The water portion of your homes plumbing system is fairly simple. It is a pressurized system that brings water into the home from the street, or sometimes a well, and then routes the water to the various fixtures inside of the home, such as faucets, toilets, your hot water tank, etc… Did you know that the big water towers you see around town are to create the pressure for your water system? It’s true!
The second half of a homes plumbing system is the drainage portion which takes all of the waste water away from your home. These waters either go into your yard via a septic tank and leech field, or into the sewer and then to a sewage treatment plant.
So, back to clogs…why do they happen? Well, the drainage pipes rely on gravity to take the waste water out of you home, and when all is working as designed all is good and we don’t even think about it, but things happen. A few common reasons your drains can clog are:
· Tree roots
· Broken pipes
· Flushing items that swell (feminine products, excess toilet paper, rice, pasta, etc…)
· Pipe congestion ( kitchen grease mixing with other waste such as laundry lint/tissue)
Less common reasons that can cause chronic back-ups are:
· Improperly pitched pipes
· Wrongly installed plumbing fittings
· Offset pipes
As you can see there are many reasons why a plug may develop. We can often tell, once we clear the plug, what caused it, but sometimes it remains a mystery. The most common types of we plug we see in the greater Rochester area are tree roots, broken/offset pipes, and flushing items that swell. So, lets break these three down.
Tree Roots – Large trees in your front yard and in the vicinity of your lateral main (the main pie that takes the waste away from your home) will eventually cause a back-up. See, trees are smart and they look for water and your lateral main is a river of nutrient rich food that tree roots want to get into. Many of the lateral mains in our area are either cast iron or PVC, none the less both of them have joints where tree roots can work their way into. Once in, the roots thrive and continue to grow inside of your pipes. Soon they create a plug that can be quite difficult to clear. Even once these roots are cut and cleared by a sewer snake machine, if nothing is done, the problem will reoccur. There are chemicals that can be poured down the drain as a maintenance regimen, but the only true cure is to get to the root of the problem and remove the tree.
Broken/Offset Pipes – Broken or offset pipes generally happen under the basement floor and/or in the front yard. Tree roots can cause pipes to break, but so can age or heavy equipment. The most common is age. The large majority of homes in our area were built using cast iron piping in the home and for the lateral main pipe. The health of these pipes is degrading and they generally rot from the inside out. They begin to flake from the inside and these flakes can begin to catch wastes that are trying to pass by. One piece of toilet paper, then another, then some food, etc.. before you know it, a clog has formed. Just because this happens doesn’t mean it will reoccur often, but it will likely happen again until the pipe ultimately fails and needs to be patched or replaced. After clogs are cleared, we can send a camera down the drain to see what caused the issue, but this is not always necessary.
Flushing Items that Swell – Makes sense, right? Putting things down your drain that have the likelihood of swelling is not a good idea, they may make it out of your house but if not, they can be tough to clear. Most people know that feminine products should never go down the drain, but not everyone realizes that foods that swell can be just as big of a problem. Kitchen sinks should be handled with care. Recent plumbing code has changed to state that kitchen sink drains should be 2”, up from the old 1-1/2”. This is good for homes with the large size line, but what size is yours? We tell people to be gingerly with their kitchen sink lines, it’s not something you want to clog and your plumbing system just isn’t designed for food to be shoved down it. On that not, garbage disposals are for the small things that end up in the drain, not a pan of lasagna.
As you can see drain plugs are complicated. Sometimes we have the system back to normal in 20-30 minutes, sometimes it takes 2-hours, and other times it gets even more in depth. Treat your pipes with care, but if something goes wrong, “were there when you need us.”