How much does a main water line repair cost?

Knowing the cost before getting an estimate can equal big savings

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Discovering a problem with your main water line can be a homeowner's nightmare, not just because of the disruption it causes but also due to the potential hit to your wallet. Whether it's a small leak or a major break, understanding the costs of fixing your main water line is crucial for effectively managing your home maintenance budget.

Here are some factors that influence the cost of main water line repairs, typical price ranges and some tips on navigating the repair process as smoothly as possible.

Key insights

Repairing a main water line can cost from $352 to $1,687 on average.

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Replacing your main water line can cost from $646 to $2,820.

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Your home warranty may cover main water line repairs and replacements.

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Main water line repair costs

The cost to repair a main water line can vary widely based on several factors, such as the severity of the damage, the type of materials needed, the line's accessibility and local labor rates. In general, you can expect to pay $352 to $1,687 for main water line repair. This breaks down to around $70 to $120 per hour for labor.

For example, the cost can range from $150 to $300 for minor issues like valve repair. For extensive damage where large sections of the pipe need replacing, or there are complications like having to dig under a street, costs can skyrocket to anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more. If you need to replace the main shut-off valve, that can tack on an extra $300 to $1,000 to the price.

Main water line repair costs by type

The type of pipe your main water line is made of can influence how much you pay if any section needs replacing. Generally, polyethylene piping (PEX) is the least expensive, with copper ending up the most costly to replace during a repair:

  • PEX: $0.40 to $2 per linear foot
  • PVC: $0.50 to $5 per linear foot
  • Copper: $2 to $10 per linear foot
  • Cast iron: $2 to $10 per linear foot
  • Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic: $6 to $10 per linear foot

Repair costs can also vary depending on the type of problem:

  • Cracked pipe: $500 to $1,000
  • Broken pipe: $500 and $5,000
  • Corroded pipe: $600 to $5,000

Given the potential for high costs and significant property impact, getting multiple quotes from reputable plumbers or repair services is usually recommended. They can provide a more accurate assessment and quote based on your specific situation.

Main water line replacement costs

If the entire main water line needs replacing, the cost could exceed $3,000, potentially reaching up to $13,000 or more, depending on the line's length and the job's complexity. You can typically expect to pay $646 to $2,820 for the average main water line replacement, though. This breaks down to around $50 to $250 per linear foot.

Additional costs

You'll run into some additional costs while getting your main water line repaired or replaced. You may need an inspection, for instance. These can cost anywhere from $150 to $500, and permits can cost an additional $100 to $500.

Can you DIY a main water line repair?

You may be able to handle certain problems with your main water line if you’ve tackled plumbing projects in the past. The problem is that you may not be able to diagnose the problem yourself. Main water lines are around 1 to 3 feet underground, so you won’t necessarily be able to see the problem. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you probably won’t be able to fix it. You also risk damaging the pipe even more by digging it up.

How do you know there is a problem with your main water line?

There are several signs that will let you know if there’s something wrong with your main water line. Here are some of the most common:

  • There are puddles in your yard that never dry up
  • Your water pressure is unusually low
  • Your water bill is higher than normal
  • Strange sounds are coming from your plumbing
  • Rusty or discolored water
  • Frequent clogs

Does your home warranty cover main water line repair?

Filing a claim with your home warranty can be a great way to save money on your main water line repair. Whether your home warranty company covers main water line repair depends on the specifics of your policy. Generally, home warranties focus on repairing and maintaining appliances and systems within the home. However, some plans do include coverage for certain types of external plumbing, such as main water lines.

Here’s what you should check in your home warranty contract to see if your main water line is covered:

  • Look specifically for mentions of "plumbing systems" or "external plumbing." Some warranties specify which parts of the plumbing system are covered, including main water lines.
  • Even if main water lines are covered, there might be restrictions based on the type of damage or the cause of the problem (e.g., damage due to negligence or lack of maintenance might not be covered).
  • Understand the terms for service calls, such as fees and how claims are processed.

If your current home warranty doesn’t cover main water line repairs, you can often add this coverage by getting a premium plan or an add-on, which can increase your home warranty cost. It is a good idea to talk directly to your warranty provider to clarify your coverage or explore options to extend it.

Quick and easy. Find a home warranty partner now.


    How long does it take to repair a broken main water line?

    It can take 4 to 6 hours, depending on the problem.

    What is the average lifespan of a main water line?

    It can vary. They can last decades and sometimes up to around 70 years.

    What does a home warranty typically cover?

    Home warranties usually cover appliances like refrigerators, ovens, stoves, cooktops, built-in microwaves, dishwashers, washers, dryers and garbage disposals. It also often includes coverage for systems like HVAC, electrical and plumbing.

    Bottom line

    While the cost of main water line repair might seem a bit daunting, getting a clear understanding of the potential expenses helps you plan better for these unexpected bumps in the road. Remember, it's always a good idea to get a few quotes from trusted professionals to ensure you're getting a fair price. And while you're at it, check if your home warranty covers this kind of repair. It could save you a bundle and give you peace of mind.

    Article sources

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

    1. Angi, “How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Main Water Line?” Accessed April 19, 2024.
    2. Angi, “How Much Does Main Water Line Replacement Cost?” Accessed April 19, 2024.
    3. Simply Green Plumbing, “6 Signs You Have a Broken Water Line.” Accessed April 19, 2024.
    4. Hicks Plumbing Service, “How Long Do Water Lines Last?” Accessed April 19, 2024.
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