Most people are understandably concerned when they suspect there’s an issue with their plumbing. There’s a good reason for people to be upset about it. Plumbing issues can prove quite costly. What’s worse, people are often confused about what the actual costs are going to be for any given issue. But it is possible to determine how much any given repair job will cost. For example, one could consider the case of a damaged drain line. How much would it cost to repair or replace a drain line in 2020?
The first thing to consider is the average costs. This shouldn’t be taken as an exact value. However, the average can provide a good estimate that’s neither a best or worst-case scenario. The average for a drain line repair job in 2020 comes in at around $700. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that this isn’t an exact quote for what one should expect. To begin with, the low end is only $100. However, the high end for the job comes in at around $3,500. It’s clear that there’s a significant amount of variation for the overall cost. And in an absolute worst-case scenario, the cost could come down to a total of as much as $15,000. It’s clear that the average cost of $700 is by far preferable to the highest possible total.
Where is this level of variability coming from? The most significant factor is the material used for the pipe system. Polyvinyl chloride pipes, or PVC, come in at around $0.75 to $7.50 per foot for a consumer. Cast iron comes in at around $12.50 to $30 per foot for consumers. One needs to keep in mind that this is only for the base material. Full cast iron pipework typically runs around $2 to $10 per foot for replacement. And PVC comes in at around $0.50 to $5 per foot for replacement. The actual work replacing those items will also need to factor in labor.
Difficult pipe systems require the use of a sewer line camera inspection. This comes down to around $350. It’s important to note that the $350 total is something that’s calculated in isolation from anything else. That means that the earlier $700 estimate doesn’t include that cost. It’s equally important to keep in mind that there might not be any need for it.
Now, one obviously will hope that the repair costs are low. The price differences between PVC to cast iron are clearly the biggest issue.
PVC to cast iron costs have a significant difference in overall cost. In fact, this is why PVC is only common in older houses. Once the new material became available it rapidly rose to become a new standard.
One should also keep in mind that basements are often an especially difficult location for plumbing work. The full price to replace a basement drain averages at $1,650 for full pipe removal and replacement. A full replacement for a sump pump system with the drainpipe comes in at around $1,200 on average.
One should consider the totals in relation to two main issues. These issues are the cost of materials and the difficulty faced in getting to the drain line. An easy repair job using PVC will often be quite inexpensive. However, repairing a difficult-to-reach iron drain line in the basement will usually come in at the higher end of the spectrum.
One can often make a rough guess about the material used for the pipes. In general, if the home was built after 1960 then there’s a very good chance that it’s using a PVC-based drain line. However, if it was made before 1960 then there’s a good chance the drain line was made with more costly materials.