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

Average range: $1,500 - $12,000
Low
$1,125
Average Cost
$3,750
High
$22,500
(Replacing a 25-foot long trenchless installation with galvanized steel pipe)

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

Average range: $1,500 - $12,000
Low
$1,125
Average Cost
$3,750
High
$22,500
(Replacing a 25-foot long trenchless installation with galvanized steel pipe)

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Reviewed by Adam Graham. Written by Fixr.com.

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 lasts up to 50 years when installed properly. If it fails, 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, including how far the line must travel, the pipe diameter, and the material.

The national average for replacement ranges from $1,500 to $12,000, with most homeowners paying around $3,750 for replacing a 25-foot long main line with galvanized steel using a trenchless installation. This project’s low cost is $1,125 to replace a 10-foot long main line with PVC pipe using a trenchless installation. The high cost is $22,500 for a 100-foot long main line with copper pipe using a dug trench installation.

Cost to Install Main Water Line

Water Main Cost
National average cost$3,750
Average range$1,500-$12,000
Minimum cost$1,125
Maximum cost$22,500


Main Water Line Installation Cost by Project Range

Low
$1,125
Replacing a 10-foot long trenchless PVC pipe installation
Average Cost
$3,750
Replacing a 25-foot long trenchless installation with galvanized steel pipe
High
$22,500
Replacing a 100-foot long dug trench with copper pipe

Main Water Line Installation Cost per Foot

The main line for your water is considered a branch line from your town or city’s main line. It extends from the edge of your property to the water meter at your house. Because this distance varies by property, costs are generally calculated by the linear foot. Several methods of installation or replacement and different materials and soil impact the cost per foot. Your main water installation ranges from $75 to $225 a foot, with most people paying between $100 and $200 a linear foot. The farther back from the road your home is located, the higher your project costs are.


Cost to Install a 10, 25, 50, 75, or 100-Foot Main Water Line

Cost to Install a 10, 25, 50, 75, or 100-Foot Main Water Line


Main Line LengthAverage Costs (Installed)
10 Feet$750 - $2,250
25 Feet$1,875 - $5,625
50 Feet$3,750 - $11,250
75 Feet$5,625 - $16,875
100 Feet$7,500 - $22,500


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New Water Main Cost by Material

The pipe carrying 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 soil type. Some cities have specific guidelines for the exact pipe and size you can use, while others allow you to make your choice based on your water needs and soil type. The most common pipe materials include PVC, polyethylene, cast iron, fiberglass, brass, and copper.


Cost per Linear Foot of a New PVC, Polyethylene, Cast Iron, Fiberglass, Brass, or Copper Main Water Line

Cost per Linear Foot of a New PVC, Polyethylene, Cast Iron, Fiberglass, Brass, or Copper Main Water Line


MaterialAverage Costs per Linear Foot (Material Only)
PVC$0.50 - $5
Polyethylene$2 - $5
Cast Iron$2 - $10
Fiberglass$6 - $10
Brass$10 - $15
Copper$20 - $30


PVC Water Main Pipe Cost

PVC piping costs between $0.50 and $5 a linear foot. PVC is the least expensive material and is made of a plastic called polyvinyl chloride. It is tough, durable, and not impacted by soil or things like acids or sulfur in the ground. It is impacted by heat, so it should not be used in hot climates. If you choose to use it in a cold climate, it needs to be buried below the freeze-thaw line. Otherwise, it may crack.

Polyethylene Water Main Cost

The cost of a polyethylene 1 water main line is $2 to $5 a linear foot. Polyethylene is a very popular material for piping. It is the material that PEX piping is made from and can be used in all areas. This is a very flexible material that does not corrode and is less impacted by heat and cold than PVC. It can be harder to work with because it tends to roll up until forcibly straightened. For this reason, using it may increase installation costs slightly.

Cast Iron Water Main Cost

The cost of a cast iron pipe for a water main averages $2 to $10 a linear foot. Cast iron was once the gold standard for piping. It is rarely used today, but you frequently see it in older homes. It is tough and durable and not impacted by heat or cold. It is also rarely impacted by impurities or high-pH soil. However, it can corrode and be easily penetrated and damaged by tree roots. For these reasons, it is not often used.

Fiberglass Water Pipe Cost

The cost of a fiberglass 2 pipe averages $6 to $10 a linear foot. Fiberglass is commonly used in commercial applications and some interior plumbing jobs. It can be used as a water main line but not commonly. Fiberglass is very tough and durable. It is not impacted by heat, cold, or high-pH soil. It comes in short lengths, making it difficult for long runs. If your home is located more than 10 to 15 feet from the main line, consider a different material.

Brass Water Pipe Cost

Brass water pipes range from $10 to $15 a linear foot. Brass is another material that is fairly uncommon for a water main, but it can be used. It performs similarly to copper at a lower cost. It tolerates heat and cold well but not high-pH soil. High-pH soil causes the brass pipe to corrode. For that reason, it should not be used in some areas.

Copper Main Water Line Cost

The cost of a copper main line pipe is $20 to $30 a linear foot. Copper is the gold standard for durability and was frequently used with cast iron and galvanized steel 3 pipes in older homes. Copper does not wear like the two other materials, so it tends to last longer. Copper is not impacted by heat or extremely cold weather, but it corrodes in high-pH soil. If you want to use copper, extensive soil sampling may be required.

New Water Main Cost by Diameter

There are two types of water main. The first is owned and maintained by your town or city and connects to your home via a branch line. Your branch line does not have to be as large as the water main beneath the street, which may reach sizes of 12 inches in diameter. For most single-family homes, your main line may be ¾ inch up to at most 2 inches for homes with extremely heavy water needs. In most homes, 1 inch is the preferred diameter. Your pipe diameter is generally determined by the distance of your home from the water supply and the height difference between them. A more narrow diameter can increase water pressure if your home is above the main supply. Otherwise, a 1-inch diameter is recommended. Your plumber can determine the correct choice for the project.

As this project’s cost depends primarily on labor, your pipe’s diameter does not heavily influence your overall costs. While a 1-inch pipe can be more expensive than a ¾-inch pipe, upgrading to a wider diameter does not make an extreme difference in cost. Location, distance, material, and soil type dictate your final costs. Your overall costs still fall between $75 and $225, regardless of which you choose.

Labor Cost to Replace a Main Water Line

The bulk of the costs for this project comes from installation. While the material you choose for your line impacts the final costs, the labor makes up the majority. There are two methods for installing or replacing a main water line from the street to your home. The first is digging and backfilling. A trench is dug in your yard so that the pipes can be accessed, laid, or removed. The second method is trenchless. Only two holes are dug, one near the street and one near your meter. The pipe is threaded through the ground between them. Because trenchless installations are easier, they are also less costly and less likely to disturb your property. Unless issues prevent this installation, it is the method most used.


Cost per Linear Foot to Replace a Main Water Line Using a Trenchless or Digging and Backfilling Method

Cost per Linear Foot to Replace a Main Water Line Using a Trenchless or Digging and Backfilling Method


Installation TypeAverage Replacement Cost per Linear Foot (Labor Included)
Trenchless$75 - $150
Digging and Backfilling$175 - $250


Trenchless Water Main Replacement Cost

The average cost of a trenchless water main replacement is $75 to $150 a linear foot. This is the most common method of water main installation. It involves boring two holes at either end and tunneling a cable between them. Once the tunnel is in place, the pipe is snaked through. 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 creates a tunnel between the two holes, and the pipe is snaked into place. There is no significant change in your landscaping with this method.

Digging and Backfilling a Trench

The cost of digging and backfilling a trench averages $175 to $250 a linear foot. These costs do not include replanting grass, repairs to sidewalks or other areas, or other work. If your line cannot be replaced using the trenchless method, an excavator is brought in to dig the old line. A large trench is dug across your property to uncover the line, which is manually removed and replaced, and then the trench is backfilled in. This method is typically used for new installations rather than replacements. It is also more likely to be used if the main valve is located beneath a sidewalk or other inaccessible area that requires digging to access.


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Cost to Run a Water Line by Location

Your water main line runs from the city main line to your water meter. From there, your interior plumbing takes over and continues carrying the water to the various areas. Costs to run a water line to different locations in your home vary dramatically based on where those locations are, how far they are from the meter, pipe type, how accessible the areas are, and whether they extend to your hot water tank. Below are the average ranges for the most common water line projects in a house. However, costs can be outside these ranges based on the factors mentioned above.


Cost to Run a Main Water Line to a Fridge, Bathroom, or Garage

Cost to Run a Main Water Line to a Fridge, Bathroom, or Garage


Installation TypeAverage Costs (Labor Included)
Fridge$65 - $300
Bathroom$300 - $1,000
Garage$500 - $5,000


Cost to Run a Water Line to a Fridge

The cost to run a water line to your fridge is $65 to $300. Many new refrigerators today have a water and ice dispenser built in. To work, your refrigerator must be connected to your home’s plumbing supply. Because your kitchen is already plumbed for water, it is easy to tap an existing pipe and extend it to the fridge. Costs vary based on the rate your plumber charges per hour in your area and the distance the line must run. It is generally not more than a few feet unless your fridge is located in an area that has never had plumbing before. In this case, your costs could be significantly higher.

Cost to Run a Water Line to a New Bathroom

The cost to run a new water line to a bathroom ranges from $300 to $1,000. When running water to a new bathroom, there are multiple things to consider. The first is whether there is plumbing in the vicinity that could be T-ed off of. The second is bathrooms often need multiple water sources, including the sink, tub/shower, and toilet. You also need hot and cold water run to this space. This means the new bathroom could have significant costs, depending on where it is located.

Cost to Run a Water Line to a Garage

The average cost to run a water line to your garage averages $500 to $5,000. The range is due to the many variables. Your garage may be attached to your home or detached and located farther away from the main line. Your garage may be insulated or not. Non-insulated garages cost more to run water to than insulated garages. If your garage is detached, the line must also extend underground, incurring additional costs and considerations. For this reason, there is a wide range of costs associated with extending plumbing to your garage.

Main Water Line Installation Cost

The cost of a new water line installation has similar cost ranges to a replacement. Costs typically average $75 to $225 a linear foot, with most people paying between $100 and $200 a linear foot. In some instances, replacement is cheaper because the existing pipes can be reused with a new liner, but this does not usually change costs much.

A new line installation costs about the same as a replacement because of the labor and the fact that while a replacement involves removing the old pipe, new installation means installing the new shut-off valve and meter and creating new connections. This means that when all is said and done, your costs per foot remain fairly equal between the two.

Cost to Replace a Main Water Shut-Off Valve

Costs to replace the main water shut-off valve average $200 to $1,000. Your main water shut-off valve is located where the water enters your home. It shuts off the water to your home at once. Replacement costs vary depending on age, how accessible it is, and what material the valve and pipes are made from. You do not need to replace the valve when you replace the line unless the materials are incompatible.


Broken Main Water Line Pipe


Signs You Need a New Water Main

You may see several signs that your water main needs to be repaired or replaced. The first is a water bill that begins to rise without additional usage. The second is grass that looks particularly green and healthy over the area of the yard where the main is located. This is due to the water leaking into the soil in the area.

If the issue gets worse, you should start to notice a drop in water pressure. This is because more water is leaking out than is getting into your main plumbing.

Finally, when the pipe is failing, you should notice your lawn or landscaping above the pipe is very saturated with water. You may notice puddles or depressions filled with water.

Cost of Moving a Main Water Pipe

Moving the pipe has a fairly wide cost range of $100 to $250 a linear foot. The old pipe is disconnected and removed. If it can be reused, it is, but often people choose to use a new line. After this, the installation in the new area looks similar to a new line installation. The difference is you likely need to dig up the sidewalk to change the new line location. This has higher-than-average labor costs than a new installation or replacement. You are also responsible for the sidewalk repairs when the job is complete.

Copper vs Plastic Refrigerator Water Line

Running a new line to your refrigerator is an easy job. There is already plumbing in your kitchen, so the plumber only has to tap in and split off a new line. Plastic is much less expensive than copper, so the bulk of your costs are in labor. Copper is more costly, but it can last much longer than plastic. Both do a good job in this area. Since the fridge water is not heated, there is no issue using plastic in this space.


Comparison of the Cost to Run a Plastic or Copper Main Water Line to a Fridge

Comparison of the Cost to Run a Plastic or Copper Main Water Line to a Fridge


MaterialAverage Costs (Installed)
Plastic$65 - $120
Copper$100 - $250


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Enhancement and Improvement Costs​

Water Main Cleanup

After installation, you may have mud or dirt in the new line. In this case, it can be flushed to get it out of the pipe so that it does not travel through your home. This has an added cost of $50 to $100 on average.

New Water Pressure Regulator

Your pressure regulator helps keep the pressure even throughout your home. It may need to be replaced when your water line is repaired or replaced, although not always. It costs between $250 and $400 installed.

Tap Replacement

The connection to the city’s main water line where it branches to your home is called the tap. If your water line is very old, you will need to replace the tap when you replace the line. Costs range from $300 to $500 for this job.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Depth. Your water main line will be located at least 1 foot beneath the soil, but depending on the soil, climate, and how far down the supply line is buried, it may need to be 2 or even 3 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 down you need to dig.
  • Permits. 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.
  • Roots. 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.
  • Repair. Your water main line can sometimes be repaired rather than replaced. This costs between $500 and $2,000 and may save you money, particularly on very long lines.
  • Access. The harder it is for your plumber to reach the pipe, the higher your costs. If there are trees, stones, and landscaping in the way, you can have a higher total cost.

FAQs

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

Your new water line can have a very wide range of costs, depending on its length, material, and how accessible the area is. The average cost is around $3,750.

  • Does insurance cover a water line break?

This depends on the cause of the break and your insurance policy. It can also depend on where the break is in the line. Always call your insurance agent for more information.

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

The average cost to run a water main is $3,750, but costs vary tremendously based on the location. The farther your home is from the street, the higher your costs.

  • How deep are water mains buried?

The water main is buried from 1 to 3 feet deep in most areas. In areas with extreme cold, it needs to be buried beneath the frost line to prevent it from freezing.

  • Should I replace copper with PEX?

PEX, also known as cross-linked polyethylene, is good for old homes that need retrofitting in areas, but copper and PVC are usually better choices. If your copper is in good shape, there is no need to replace it.

  • How do you switch from well water to city water?

If city water is available in your area, you need to have a main line installed. This branches off the city water line and carries the water to your home. Your well pump will then be disconnected, and you can establish an account to purchase water from the city.

  • How deep can I dig without calling?

You should always call before digging, regardless of depth. Some utilities may be more shallow than others, depending on the area where you are digging.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Polyethylene: A resilient, pliable, synthetic resin made by polymerizing ethylene and primarily used for containers, packaging, corrosion-resistant piping, and insulation
glossary term picture Fiberglass 2 Fiberglass: Plastic that is reinforced with glass fibers. The fibers may be mixed randomly throughout the plastic, or come in the form of a flat sheet, or be woven into a fabric
glossary term picture Galvanized Steel 3 Galvanized steel: Steel that has had a protective zinc coating applied to it to make it resistant to rusting

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.

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The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Installing PVC Pipes for the Main Water Line Underground
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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.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources