2021 Drain Unblocking Prices

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Everything You Need to Know About Drain Unblocking

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Drains can become blocked for various reasons, and the vast majority can be unblocked by a professional using the correct equipment, which is usually a high-powered water jet or a mechanical tool.

There are occasions when unblocking the drain is only a temporary solution, so keep reading to see how we can help you.

Below you’ll find our guide to the cost of unblocking a drain in 2021. We also look at what causes drain blockages, what you can do to prevent them, and your options should there be a more serious problem with your drain.

But first things first; by using the term “drain”, we are referring to a pipe that takes wastewater from your home to the drainage network outside of your property.

Any drainage problem outside of your boundary is the water company’s responsibility, as are any lateral drains inside or outside of your boundary.


This image may help to explain who is responsible for what:

Lateral drain map

If you aren’t responsible for the drain, contact your local water company.

If you’ve determined that they drain is your responsibility, keep reading to see how we can help you.

We Asked 48 Plumbers and Drainage Experts For Prices to Unblock a Drain

Discover the average price below

Are drainage companies trustworthy?

Our experience of drainage companies over the years hasn’t been good.

On more than a few occasions, we’ve seen some of these firms claim that the drain can’t be jetted and it that needs to be replaced or relined.

We don’t want to tar every firm with the same brush as there are many occasions when a drain could be damaged and require relining or replacement.

However, we suggest consumers choose their plumber or drainage company carefully and preferably via a trusted recommendation.

Our Drain Unblocking Prices For 2021

Below you’ll see our prices for drain unblocking.

These figures are an average of the prices provided to us by the 48 firms we contacted in early 2021.

The first price is for unblocking a sink; a simple task that can be completed by any plumber.

The second price is for jetting and unblocking a drain in the garden; specialist firms usually undertake this type of work.

Price 1 – Unblocking a Sink

A simple task for a plumber, sink unblocking is bread and butter work for local plumbers.

Here is the average price provided to us which is roughly a call charge and/or the first hour.

London Area£50£80
South, SW and Midlands£50£80
Outer Region and North£35£60
Need a Custom Price? >Get a Quote

Price 2 – Cost to Unblock a Drain

The price below is the average cost to jet and unblock a drain in the garden.

The work involves lifting the drain cover and using a high-powered water jet to flush the pipe.

London Area£90£105
South, SW and Midlands£80£100
Outer Region and North£55£70
Need a Custom Price? >Get a Quote

Price 3 – CCTV Drain Survey Cost

Drains are occasionally blocked by something that can’t be flushed out, for example, root ingress, a cracked or collapsed pipe or similar.

The only way to determine the cause of the problem is to send a small camera down the drain and assess the pipe’s condition.

A price for further work can then be given to the customer; this could be for pipe relining, pipe replacement or something similar.

Drain camera surveys aren’t always needed but could be required if the company cannot clear the drain blockage or the drain blocks again soon after being jetted.

The CCTV drain survey price below is for a basic survey of a single troublesome drain. It doesn’t include the cost of mapping or inspecting all of the drains for a property.

London Area£110£140
South, SW and Midlands£95£130
Outer Region and North£75£100
Need a Custom Price? >Get a Quote

How Long Does it Take to Unblock a Drain? What Work is Involved?

Here is a typical works schedule that a drainage company will complete when they visit the property:

  • The pipework is first inspected to determine who is responsible for the blockage. It could be the water company, a neighbour, or several homeowners if the pipe is shared (i.e. flats/apartments).
  • The drain is then jetted with water to clear the blockage.
  • The main drain is then checked to ensure that the freshwater being used is entering the main sewer.
  • The area is then cleaned, possibly with a disinfectant if required.

The work normally takes around half an hour but drains that are not easy to access could take longer.

Jetting drain costs

What Tools Are Used?

Most drain unblocking experts will have water stored in their van which is put through a very high-powered pump to clear the drain, via a specialist attachment.

These jets are far more powerful than the typical pressure washers you may find for sale online.

Also, the jets are attached to flexible hosing so they can go around bends in the pipe.

Here is a photo of a typical jet clearing a drain:

Drain jetting cost

Can Drains Be Unblocked DIY?

There are several options for those wanting to unblock their drains themselves.

Although not the cheapest, the easiest option is to buy (or perhaps borrow) a pressure washer and connect a drain cleaning attachment.

Here is a YouTube video explaining how it works.

The process is fairly simple, but please wear gloves!

Try Rods

If you don’t have access to a pressure washer, try the old fashioned way of unblocking drains – by using rods.

These rods effectively push blocked waste through the pipe where you can pull it out at the next section or push it through to the main sewer, which is larger.

Rods are easy to use, they come in one-metre sections so are perfect for long sewage drains in the garden.

Just be careful not to lose a section in the drain and wear gloves.

Drain unblocking rods

Tools For Cleaning Sink and Shower Pipes

While our guide to drain unblocking prices covers external drains, you can unblock internal waste pipes such as those from sinks, basins and showers with the tool below.

This drain unblocking tool contains a metal coil that extends by up to 6m into the pipe. You can then pull out any blockage which is collected in the pan.

This cleaning tool is perfect for pulling hair out of shower or bath pipework and even food blockages from kitchen sink pipes.

You don’t need to use a pressure washer with this device nor are any powerful chemicals required.


DIY drain unblocking tool

Get a Drain Unblocking Price Today

We hope you found our guide to drain unblocking prices, our tips and also our suggested DIY products to be helpful.

Tap the button and fill out the contact form with your details and a description of the drain blockage.

You can expect a fast response and a quote for your project in no time at all:

Drain Unblocking

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Drain Blockage FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to common questions:

I Think Your Prices For Unblocking/Jetting Are Too High/Low, What Gives?

We are often asked this question.

Please bear in mind that our prices for drain unblocking and other plumbing projects are based on quotes from a sample of firms from various UK locations.

Prices fluctuate all the time, and you may find those published on this page to be different from the prices you are given.

Our prices are a snapshot of what a select number of firms are charging in early 2021.

When Were These Prices Published?

We sourced prices for drain unblocking in late December 2020 and early January 2021.

Do These Prices Include VAT?

Not all of the firms we contacted were registered for VAT but our prices include the VAT from those that were.

My Drain Keeps Blocking, What Can I Do?

If the drain keeps blocking, even after being cleared, it could be due to these reasons:

  • A cracked or damaged pipe.
  • Collapsed pipe.
  • Root ingress.
  • You’re putting the wrong items into the drain, i.e. sanitary or wet wipe towels etc.
  • The drainage pipe is incorrectly installed.
  • A problem in the street’s main sewer or a lateral drain is causing a blockage to back up into your drains repeatedly.

Solutions range from changing what you put into the drain, replacing or relining the pipe should it be cracked to installing filters in the sink/shower etc. to stop hairs/food entering the pipe.


Who Is Responsible For Blocked Drains in My Garden?

The homeowner is responsible for blocked drains within the boundary of the property unless they are lateral drains.

All drains on public land are the responsibility of the water company, as are any laterial (shared drains) on private land.

The image below helps to explain the situation:

Lateral drain map

How Much Does it Cost to Unblock a Rainwater Soakaway?

Soakaways are holes in the ground that collect water from roof gutters and rainwater drains in patios and driveways. The fill up with rainwater which then gradually seeps into the ground. Their purpose is to prevent surface flash flooding, they act as temporary water storage and are usually found under your garden or driveway and they rarely have a manhole cover or lid.

Soakaways often become clogged with leaves, moss and twigs etc, this can occur within the soakaway or the pipes that transfer rainwater to the soakaway.

Pipes can be cleared with a water jet but a blocked soakaway usually has to be dug up and replaced.

See our guide to soakaways for more information and prices.


Discover More Price Guides:

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See how much it costs to get a professional plumber to carry out repairs, replacements and maintenance in your property.


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