drain unblock

How much does it cost to unblock a drain in the UK?

Having a blocked drain can bring all operations in your home to a halt, so it’s a good idea to get it fixed as soon as possible. Don’t forget that drain blockages will only get worse with time, so a quick intervention can end up saving you money in the long-run, and also allow your home or business to get up and running again.


One factor that might put people off organising a repair is the cost of drain repair services – but how much does it cost to unblock a drain in the UK? In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to take a look at the associated costs of drain unclogging, and what factors can influence the overall price you pay. Let’s take a look.

What is a blocked drain?

A clogged drain refers to a drain in your home or business that is no longer able to function correctly; this is usually due to a mix of debris, oil, hair, or other residue in the drainpipe that ends up blocking water flow.A hydro jet isn’t to be confused with your average garden hose: a jet hose can be so powerful that it can actually damage your pipes when used incorrectly, which is why we’d always recommend hiring a professional to do it for you.

What causes a blocked drain?

A blocked drain is typically caused by a buildup of leaves, debris, and other waste. Blocked drains can also be caused by the flushing of items such as wet wipes, oil, fat, and grease – these can harden and stick to the pipes, creating blockages that impede the flow of water. 

In serious and rarer cases, a blocked drain can be caused by a faulty pipe installation, cracked or broken pipes, or simply pipes that are too old to function as they once did.

How do I know if my drain is blocked?

You will usually be able to tell that your drain is blocked if you notice one or more of these common tell-tale signs:

  • Unpleasant smells and odours around the drain
  • Gurgling noises when using plumbing. 
  • Water not draining correctly in the sink
  • Water pooling above the drain


How much does it cost to unblock a drain?

On average, you can expect to pay around £180 for an emergency plumber or the use of drain unblocking services. This fee will usually cover the call-out service, same-day or next-day service, and the inspection and unclogging of your drain. 

That being said, extra costs may be necessary if your drain is severely blocked, or if the plumbers are unable to unclog the drain using simple, non-invasive methods. In the UK, the cost of a drain unblocking will typically be determined by a number of factors:

Scale of the blockage

Smaller, moderate blockages are going to cost much less to fix, as plumbers and workmen will be able to unclog the drain using simple, effective methods such as drain snaking. If your drain is severely blocked, the plumbers may be required to opt for more intensive clearing methods, such as drain jetting, which can end up costing more and taking more time to complete. If the plumbers are unable to identify the source of the blockage, they may also need to insert CCTV cameras into your plumbing system to locate it, which can also hike up the overall cost.


As with almost any call-out service, the cost of drain repair in the UK is going to also be influenced by where you live. Unfortunately, the cost of drain unclogging is higher in London and the Southeast, with prices typically lower in the North of England, Wales and Scotland.

Drain location

It’s not just the location of your home that influences the price you pay – the location of your drain will also determine how much your drain repairs cost. If your drain is easily accessible to the plumbers, the time spent on the repair is going to be shorter, and therefore you’ll be billed fewer hours. If the drain is difficult to access, it’s going to take longer for the drain repair team to complete the job, resulting in a higher final bill once your drain has been successfully unclogged. Don’t forget that the source of the drain blockage will also determine the price you pay – if the drain is blocked due to an accumulation of debris – even severe – this is going to be on the lower end of the price scale. However, if your drain is blocked due to a faulty or broken pipe, this can end up costing a lot more in repairs and plumbing work.

Can I unblock a drain myself?

If you spot the first signs of a drain blockage, you may be able to successfully unclog the drain yourself, provided that you know exactly where your drain is blocked, and how it occurred. For example, pouring hot water and vinegar into a sink in your home can help unclog recent, mild blockages caused by oil and other grease residue. Similarly, if you notice leaves and other debris clogging the entrance of your gutter drain downpipe, these can be removed easily and simply by hand. 


When it comes to more severe blockages, these require a bit more effort. With some basic DIY and plumbing knowledge, it can be possible to unclog your drain yourself; one of the most common options is to use a snaking tool (also known as a drain rod), which is a long metal wire that you can insert into your drain to dislodge and remove any blockages. 


That being said, drain snaking can end up damaging your plumbing if it’s done incorrectly. When using a drain rod, you must be incredibly careful not to force the wire too far, and always keep a gentle hold on the wire itself when dislodging the debris. 


If you’re not sure that you’ll be able to perform drain rodding effectively or safely, we highly recommend calling in a drain repair expert. Not only will you be sure that your drain will be unclogged safely, but it may even be the most cost-effective option; the price of a drain snake, combined with the price of fixing any damage done to your plumbing via improper use, will largely surpass the cost of a simple drain unclogging service.

When to call the experts

In most cases, we’d advise anyone experiencing a severe drain blockage to enlist the help of professional drain repair services. This is due to two reasons:

  • Trying to unclog a drain yourself can worsen existing problems. If you use a drain rod and accidentally end up damaging or perforating the pipe in question, you could end up with an even more expensive problem to fix. 
  • Unclogging drains requires safety equipment, and can involve arduous physical labour. When trained plumbers and drain repair teams arrive on the job, they’ll be fully equipped with adequate PPE gear to protect themselves during the unclogging process. Drain unblocking – especially at height – can pose a safety hazard, which is why most plumbers will work in teams when navigating a tricky or difficult-to-access pipe.