How Much Does Main Water Line Repair Cost?

Typical Range:

$353 - $1,684

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 1,578 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

How We Get This Data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated September 22, 2022

Reviewed by Jeff Botelho, Licensed Journeyman Plumber.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Repairing your home's main water service line costs $1,011 on average. You’ll typically spend between $353 and $1,684. You’ll typically pay $70 to $120 per hour plus materials for most water line repairs. Materials include new sections of pipe, valves, and bushings.

This guide covers repairs to your home’s main water service line. You’ll see “water main” and “home service line” used interchangeably, but there’s a difference.

  • A water main runs under public property, usually next to or under a street. The city takes responsibility for repairs.

  • A home's “main” water service line connects your home to the water main. You’re usually responsible for repairs up to your property line.

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National Average $1,011
Typical Range $353 - $1,684
Low End - High End $150 - $3,895

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 1,578 HomeAdvisor members.

Main Water Line Repair Costs by Type

Many types of problems can crop up with your water line, and each has different repair costs, based on complexity, materials, and location.

Problem Cost Range Average Cost
Water main leak $150 – $3,000 $1,575
Replacement line sections $100 – $200 $150
Corroded Water Line $600 – $5,000 $2,800
Valve Repair $150 – $300 $225
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Water Main Leak Repair Cost

An underground water line repair costs $150 to $3,000. Simple, easy-to-access repairs cost $150 to $700. Anything difficult to get to or that requires replacing large pipe sections might cost up to $3,000.

You’ll have three main types of problems with common repairs:

  • Valve replacements

  • Pipe breaks

  • Corrosion fixes

Replacement Main Water Line Sections

Repairing broken underground pipes costs $100 to $200 per linear foot. Repairs consist of excavating the ground around the entire break. Then your pro removes the break and replaces it with a new pipe. For old or corroded pipes, plumbers might recommend replacing the entire length. Complete water main replacement costs$600 to $2,500 on average.

Corroded Main Water Line Repair or Replacement

Corroded pipe repair costs $600 to $5,000. You’ll need to have all corrosion cut out and replaced. Typically, this means replacing the entire pipe. Corrosion often happens due to aggressive soil—acidic or resistive dirt. You’ll probably want to replace the dirt around the line, although it may become acidic again over time.

“If you’re replacing the soil around the water main, it’s recommended that the pipe be laid in sand to protect it from damage,” says Jeff Botelho, Expert Review Board member and Massachusetts-licensed journeyman plumber. “Laying the pipe in a bed of sand and then covering it with another 6 to 12 inches of sand below the topsoil will help protect the pipe from damage caused by impact and corrosion.”

Main Water Line Valve Repair

Replacing a valve costs $150 to $300, depending on its location. Most lines don’t have buried valves. You’ll usually find these right outside your house in a valve box or exposed in a crawlspace or your basement.

Main Water Line Repair Cost Factors

Several factors—other than the type of problem you're facing—determine the repair cost”

  • Open trench or trenchless repair

  • Landscaping repair

  • Pipe material

  • Labor

Trenched vs. Trenchless Repair

Trenched, or open trench water line repair involves using heavy digging machinery to expose the sections of pipe that need help. With trenchless repair, only one or two small holes are made and, in some cases, none. 

Because trenchless repair doesn't require huge craters to dig in the yard, it's more time- and cost-effective than open trench repair. However, sometimes trenchless repair isn't possible, so an open trench is the only option.

Your plumbing contractor can help you determine the best option when they do a video inspection to assess the type and extent of the damage. 

Landscaping Repair

Landscaping repair can be a significant cost factor, with landscaping repair costs anywhere from $300 to $16,000, depending on the extent of the damage, and any upgrades you want to make to your existing gardenscape. Anticipate high prices if you've chosen open trench sewer repair. With trenchless repair, however, there'll be very little damage to fix in your yard. 

Pipe Material

Copper pipes are repairable unless extremely damaged. However, if you've got an older property with lead or galvanized metal pipes, you'll pay considerably more. These pipes are irreparable because of the health dangers they pose; you must replace them. Therefore, you'll pay considerably more. 

Although it won't be as expensive as the cost of installing a new water line or a new sewer main installation price, the cost of installing new plumbing lines is significant at $350 to $2,000

Labor

The labor price for repairing a water line is the same as the labor cost to repair a sewer line, with plumbers charging an hourly rate of $45 to $200. Remember, though, that water line repairs are challenging and time-consuming. A modest crack can take all day to fix and cost you around $800

The cost of a concrete slab leak repair is more substantial, as the labor required to fix a repair beneath your home's foundation is much greater than many other more accessible repairs.

DIY Main Water Line Repair vs. Hiring a Pro

You technically can DIY repair underground leaks on your property. But if you damage city pipes or your home, it’ll cost more to fix than just hiring a pro. Professionals pull the right permits, have insured work and usually guarantee parts and labor. Before attempting a DIY fix, contact a local water liner repair service.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my water main is damaged?

If you have an underground leak, you’ll see a wet, swampy spot on your lawn. You may also notice reduced water pressure. Additionally, if you see persistent puddles or pooling water that doesn't dry up after rain like the water on the rest of your property, that's a strong indicator of a leak; the ground is likely so saturated that the water has nowhere to go. 

Damp paving or patios and other damp and/or unstable outdoor flooring areas are telltale signs, too. The ground changes and shifts as the water level increases below the surface, destabilizing the flooring.

How can I protect my water main?

Protect your water main by scheduling an inspection every two to five years. Remember never to dig in your yard without first calling the dig line (811) to ensure you don't accidentally hit the water or sewer lines. Watch for soil erosion, low water pressure, or wet spots in your yard, and take immediate action if you suspect a leak. Remember, the longer you leave it, the worse the problem gets, and the more costly it is to fix.

How long does it take to fix a broken water main?

A broken water main with small to moderate issues takes four to eight hours to repair. Large and complex issues might take longer, for example, if the break happens under a sidewalk. The type of pipes—whether they’re resolderable or lined or must be removed and replaced—influence how long it takes to fix a broken water main.

How long do water main lines last?

Your main water service line lasts 50 years or longer in good condition. However, older metal pipes in acidic soil might corrode sooner. “Most residential water services today are run in plastic pipe and are noncorrosive. These plastic water services will last decades longer than old metallic lines,” says Botelho.

Is water main line repair covered by homeowners insurance?

Whether your homeowners insurance covers a water main line repair depends heavily on the individual policy. Some policies cover all water main line repairs, but many do not. 

A common theme for insurers is to cover only unforeseen and acute problems, such as a burst pipe, but not to cover wear and tear and gradual damage, such as a slow leak. Some insurers will also cover the damage caused by the water line problem, including black mold remediation, carpet and flooring claims, and other possessions and services, but will not cover the pipe repair. Check your policy wording carefully.