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Main Water Line Installation Cost

Main Water Line Installation Cost

National average
$2,250
(replacing a main line with PVC using trenchless installation)
Low: 750$

(relining an existing main line using trenchless installation)

High: $5,575

(copper line replacement, trench installation, new regulator and shutoff valve)

Cost to install a main water line varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from plumbers in your city.

The average cost of installing a main water line is $2,250.

In this guide

Pipe Material
Depth
Signs You Need a New Water Main
Installation Process
Labor
Enhancements and Improvements
Additional Costs and Considerations
FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Main Water Line?

Your main water line is arguably the most important part of your home’s plumbing. It carries fresh water from the city’s supply into your home. It is located underground where it cannot be seen and can last up to 50 years when installed properly. If it fails, however, you may notice big problems like a drop in pressure or a higher water bill. Many factors impact the cost of a new water line, from how far the line has to travel to the diameter and material of the pipe.

The national average for replacement ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 for a short, trenchless installation with PVC pipe, with most homeowners paying around $2,250 for the job.

Main Water Line Installation

Main water line installation costs
National average cost$2,250
Average range$1,500 - $3,000
Minimum cost$750
Maximum cost$5,575


Pipe Material

The pipe that carries the water to your home can be made of various materials. While cost is one factor to consider, other issues include city regulations, climate, and the type of soil you have. Some cities have specific guidelines for the exact pipe and size you can use, while others allow you to make your own choice based on your water needs and soil type. The most common pipe materials include PVC, galvanized piping, brass, and copper.

Pvc

PVC is the least expensive material, made of polyvinyl chloride. It is tough, durable, and not impacted by soil. It costs roughly $5 a linear foot 1 but should not be used in very hot climates.

Galvanized Piping

Galvanized piping is a very tough and long-lasting pipe that is not affected by corrosive soil, heat, or impact. It can be made of iron or steel but is less commonly used in some areas. It costs around $10 a linear foot 1.

Brass

Brass is uncommon piping that performs similarly to copper, which is more expensive. It cannot be used in high-PH soil but performs well in all other ways. It costs $10 - $15 a linear foot 1.

Copper

Copper is the gold standard for durability and what many old main lines are made of. Copper is not impacted by heat or cold but cannot be used in very corrosive or high-PH soils. It costs upwards of $20 a linear foot 1.

Depth

Your water main line will be located at least one foot 1 beneath the soil, but depending on the soil, the climate, and how far down the supply line is buried, it may need to be two or even three feet under. With trenchless digging, this is not usually a cost factor, but if you need a trench dug to lay the line, this can cause costs to add up quickly for each additional foot 1 down you need to dig.

Signs You Need a New Water Main

Be aware of symptoms that may signal that your existing water main requires repair or replacement. The first sign is a skyrocketing water bill. This is usually a sign that your water main is leaking and taking in more water than you are using.

You may also notice a sudden drop in water pressure throughout your home. This can also be caused by a serious leak in the line, which means that the water is not reaching the outlets in your home in the same quantity as before.


Main water pipe breakage


Other signs may include flooding in your yard over the location of the water main line and discolored water in your home at water outlets and faucets.

Sometimes, these signs may indicate the need for repair, and ignoring them could cause the issue to become severe. Schedule an inspection of your line right away if you notice any of these issues.

Installation Process

In most instances, the water main installation is trenchless whenever possible. A hole is bored at the start of the water line and a second hole at the end. A cable is used to create a tunnel between the two holes, and the pipe is snaked into place. In some instances, the old pipe may be reused, and a sleeve is inserted into the pipe, which seals up the holes and cracks. Other times, the old pipe may be pulled out, using a similar process to the new pipe being installed.

The two ends of the pipe are connected, one to the main valve and the other to the water shutoff at your home. Occasionally, the main valve is located beneath a sidewalk. If so, it needs to be dug up to make the connection. This varies tremendously by location, which is why the installation always begins with a thorough inspection of the area, usually using cameras, to see where everything is located.

If your line cannot be replaced using the trenchless method, then an excavator is brought in to dig up the old line. A large trench will be dug across your property to uncover the line, which will be manually removed and replaced, then the trench will be backfilled in. You will likely need to reseed the grass, and if the sidewalk was dug up, you may be responsible for making that repair as well.

Trenchless installations can be done in a few hours in most cases, while the process of digging and backfilling a trench extends the time needed for the project, sometimes up to two days.

Labor

Labor costs vary depending on the type of installation you have performed. In most cases, however, labor makes up roughly 20% - 30% of the installation costs for the project. The type of soil, type of installation, pipe material, and distance from the street all impact the total labor cost. For a trenchless install of PVC, expect to pay roughly $450 - $675 in labor costs out of the $2,250 total.

Enhancements and Improvements

Water Main Cleanup

Water main cleanup or water main flushing is sometimes done after the installation to flush mud and debris from the pipes. It involves opening the water supply up full blast and running water through the home until it runs clear. This can add $50 - $100 to the project.

New Water Pressure Regulator

Sometimes as part of the water main replacement, you need to replace the pressure regulator as well, which helps keep the water flowing at an even rate throughout your home. This costs around $250 - $350 installed.

New Shutoff Valve

You may also want to replace the shutoff valve at your home when you replace the water line, costing about $150 - $200.

Tap Replacement

If your water line is very old, then you may need to upgrade and replace the piece of pipe that connects your water line to the city line. This is called the tap, and replacement typically costs around $300.

Additional Costs and Considerations

  • You need a permit and city approval before installing a new water main. Permits add additional costs to your project and, in some areas, can cost up to $500. Speak to your plumber about which permits you need.
  • Sometimes your water main line may fail because roots spread into the area, attracted by the water. The roots can cause the pipe to burst, so when replacing the pipe, you may also need to remove any bushes or trees that caused the problem.

FAQs

  • How much does it cost to put in a new water line?

Many factors influence the total cost, but the average is around $2,250.

  • Can I replace my own water main?

This project requires city permits and an inspection, so it is best carried out by a professional.

  • Does insurance cover a water line break?

This depends on the cause of the break and your insurance policy. Always call your insurance agent to find out more information.

  • How much does it cost to run a water line from the street?

The average cost to run a water main is around $2,250.

  • How deep are water mains buried?

The water main may be buried from 1 - 3 feet deep.

  • Should I replace copper with PEX?

PEX, also known as cross-linked polyethylene 2, is good for old homes that need retrofitting in areas, but copper and PVC are usually better choices.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Footing 1 Foot: A support for the foundation of a house that also helps prevent settling. It is typically made of concrete reinforced with rebar, but can also be made of masonry or brick. It is usually built under a heavier part of the house like a wall or column, to distribute the weight of the house over a larger area.
2 Polyethylene: A resilient, pliable, synthetic resin made by polymerizing ethylene and primarily used for containers, packaging, corrosion-resistant piping, and insulation

Cost to install a main water line varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Installing PVC pipes for the main water line under the ground

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Binghamton, NY
-3%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cicero, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbia, MD
+26%
Columbia, SC
-10%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Des Moines, IA
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Elkton, MD
-26%
Ellenwood, GA
-4%
Fairburn, GA
-9%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Glen Ellyn, IL
+42%
Houston, TX
+24%
Indianapolis, IN
+6%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Lenox, TN
-23%
Lincoln, NE
-13%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Mishawaka, IN
-9%
Nashville, TN
+21%
Norfolk, VA
-6%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Plano, TX
+24%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   See change history
Methodology and sources