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drain
28 May

How Much Does It Cost For A Plumber To Snake A Drain?

If your sink, toilet, or shower is clogged, you may need to hire a plumber to clean the drain and remove the obstruction. Most often, they’ll use a tool called a “snake,” which is a flexible length of cable that can be run through the pipe to remove the obstruction and clear the drain.

But how much can you expect to pay for this service? In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about how much it costs for a plumber to snake a drain. Let’s get started now.

How Much Will A Santa Cruz Plumber Charge To Snake A Drain? The Average Cost

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for a plumber to snake a drain in the United States is $218, with a typical range of between $135 to $302. The cost of snaking your drain depends on the type of drain, how large it is, how long the job is expected to take, and a few other factors.

In most cases, drain clearing services are offered by plumbers at a flat rate. You’ll pay a certain rate to clear your drain, and they will snake it and use other tools to clear the blockage, if necessary.

However, if the clog is especially stubborn and a snake and other common cleaning tools and techniques don’t work, you’ll usually need to pay an hourly rate to the plumber for them to continue working and to clear your drain. Hourly labor rates for plumbers range between $70 to $120, but can be much higher in some cases.

You’ll also pay more to have your drain snaked if you call an emergency plumber and schedule a plumbing appointment after business hours, on a holiday, or on a weekend. Most plumbers have a flat fee that they tack onto the cost of your service if you call them out after hours.

If you’d like to save a bit of cash and your clogged drain isn’t causing any damage to your home, it may be worth waiting to schedule an appointment during normal work hours. Use your best judgment, though – a clogged shower drain is not a huge deal, but a toilet that’s overflowing and could be leaking water into the floor may be worth dealing with right away.

How Does A Plumber Clear A Drain With A Snake? Understanding The Basics

As the name suggests, a plumbing “snake” is a long, flexible piece of metal tubing. Models for home use may be only 25 feet in length, while professional models can be 100 feet in length or longer.

This tubing is tipped with a corkscrew-like projection that can dig into a blockage – such as a clump of hair or food debris and grease – and break it apart. By twisting and pushing the snake against the blockage, it will be broken down into smaller pieces, which will then drain away, clearing your drain.


Professional plumbing snakes are usually designed to be used with a high-powered drill. Your plumber will remove the drain cover from your drain, if necessary, place the tip of the snake in the drain, and begin unspooling it using the drill. Once the blockage is encountered, the snake will break it apart to allow water to drain properly once again.

The entire process is usually quite fast and takes only a few minutes, and the vast majority of clogs can be eliminated with a snake – particularly when used in combination with chemical drain cleaners like Drano.

What’s The Difference Between A Plumbing Snake And A Plumbing Auger?

If you’re looking for a Santa Cruz plumber to clear your drain, you may have seen some professionals advertising service with a “plumbing auger” or “drain auger.” This is, essentially, the same thing as a plumbing snake.

However, augers are much larger, and often have a self-contained electric power supply instead of being propelled by a hand drill. They are meant to be used to clean clogs away from larger pipes. Plumbing snakes are often used to clear blockages in smaller pipes, such as kitchen and bathroom sinks, and are meant to be used to clear plumbing lines between 1 ¼”  and 2” in diameter.

In contrast, drain augers have a larger, thicker design with a bigger and more aggressive tip. They are intended to be used on tough clogs in larger pipes that are up to 3” in diameter but are often too large to fit into sink drains. They’re best for cleaning out blockages in toilets and showers, which usually have larger pipes. Clogs that build up in these pipes can be difficult to clear with a smaller plumbing snake, and are best addressed with a drain auger.

Plumbers will typically have both tools available, and will use the one that’s appropriate for your job based on the size of your drain and the severity of your drain blockage.

Can I Clear My Drain On My Own With A Snake?

You can buy drain snakes at most home improvement stores and hardware stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and other such retail establishments. These products are fairly inexpensive, and provide good performance when it comes to clearing drain blockages.

It’s relatively easy to learn how to use a snake to clean your drain on your own, so many people opt to purchase a snake and use it to clean drain clogs. However, most consumer-grade snakes are thin and have a maximum length of between 25-50 feet.

This means that they may not be effective at cleaning large drain clogs, and they may not be able to go far enough to reach the clog. You could purchase a drain snake and try to use it, and find that it won’t clear your drain at all.

Snakes can also be hard to use properly if you have no experience with them. Often, pipes twist and turn a lot, which can fool you into thinking you’ve found the drain blockage when the snake stops moving.

While it’s not a bad idea to purchase a drain snake and use it to try to clear a blockage on your own, calling a plumbing professional is the best choice if you have a stubborn clog and can’t deal with it on your own.

Know How Much You’ll Pay To Have Your Drain Snaked – And Budget Accordingly!

We hope this guide has been informative, and helped you learn more about the basics of how drain snakes work, how much you can expect to pay for professional drain clearing services, and other such details about snaking drains.

If you’re facing a particularly stubborn clog, we highly recommend contacting a plumbing professional like Anytime Plumbing to deal with it, rather than trying to unclog it yourself with a snake and chemical drain cleaners. Pros have the gear, knowledge, and equipment to get the job done right the first time – and you’ll save a lot of time by leaving the job to a professional plumber.

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