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How Much Does It Cost To Replace a Water Line?

Last Updated: January 21, 2022

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The cost to replace a main water line depends on a whole host of factors. To begin, it is important to know how water lines are set up. One portion leads from the city main to a meter on your property and another section goes from the meter into your home. If the problem occurs on the city's side then they should be held responsible for the cost. If it is on your end then prepare to start looking for a plumber.

Typical costs: #

  • Expect to pay somewhere between $1500 and $5000 depending on your location and the specifics of your home's layout.
  • One customer in California reports paying a total of $35 per foot to replace their water main. They used 1" pipe which cost $10/foot and the additional $25/foot came in the form of labor costs.
  • A Chicago plumber quotes an average price of $4500 for the entire job, though admits the cost could be as cheap as $2,000.

Additional costs: #

A number of factors will cause the price of water main installation to increase.

  • Ease of access: any obstructions to the water main such as trees will add to labor costs, which already comprise the bulk of the expenses. If you need to jackhammer through concrete, this will also raise the price.
  • Depth of the line: the more digging it requires to get to the line, the more expensive the job.
  • Your location: The part of the country you live in determines what kind of materials will be used. For example, PVC is the cheapest kind of pipe, but can't be used in cold regions such as the east and the north because of freezing concerns. In other areas, copper cannot be used because of corrosive elements in local soils.
  • Check with your municipality for any permits you may need to begin digging.

Discounts: #

  • If your water supply line is fairly new it's possible to get away with water line repair by replacing just the faulty section(s) of pipe.
  • The labor costs of digging up the line are by far the largest expense. Doing this yourself will save huge amounts of money. If you are comfortable operating a backhoe, this is an option. If the line depth is 3 feet or less, it is probably manageable to do by hand if you have a few helpers. Even just hiring a handyman or cheap labor will save you money over a plumber, who will likely charge more. Try to only bring a plumber in for the more technical aspects. Depending on where you live, it may be necessary to have a plumber do the connections.
  • As soon as you notice or suspect a leak, turn off your main water supply as any leaking pipe will quickly cause your bills to soar.

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