How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Water Main?

Average range: $500 - $2,000
Low
$150
Average Cost
$1,000
High
$4,000
(Fixing a broken section of accessible pipe)

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How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Water Main?

Average range: $500 - $2,000
Low
$150
Average Cost
$1,000
High
$4,000
(Fixing a broken section of accessible pipe)

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Reviewed by Paula Reguero. Written by Fixr.com.

Water main lines connect your home to your city or town’s main water supply, and they are designed to last many years. However, they eventually break down and suffer problems like leaks, cracks, and breaks. These issues can lead to serious consequences for your property, including major flooding. When an issue with the water main arises, have it fixed by a professional as soon as possible.

The national cost average for a water main line repair is between $500 and $2,000. Most homeowners pay about $1,000 for fixing a broken section of easily accessible pipe. This project’s low cost is $150 for fixing a leaky shut-off valve. The project’s high cost is $4,000 for replacing a large section of pipe that is difficult to access.

Water Main Repair Cost

Main Water Line Repair Cost
National average cost$1,000
Average range$500-$2,000
Minimum cost$150
Maximum cost$4,000


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Water Main Repair Cost by Project Range

Low
$150
Repairing a leaky shut-off valve
Average Cost
$1,000
Fixing a broken section of accessible pipe
High
$4,000
Replacing a large section of damaged and hard-to-access pipe

Water Main Repair Cost by Type of Repair

Various issues may arise with your water main line, and the repair cost varies depending on the issue. Certain problems are minor, cheaper, and quicker to fix than bigger issues. The table below shows common types of water main repairs and average costs for each:


Cost to Repair Shut-Off Valve, Leak, Broken Section, or Copper Pipe Soldering of a Water Main

Cost to Repair Shut-Off Valve, Leak, Broken Section, or Copper Pipe Soldering of a Water Main


Type of RepairAverage Repair Cost
Shut-Off Valve$150 - $300
Leak$300 - $3,000
Broken Section$400 - $2,000
Copper Pipe Soldering$500 - $2,000


Main Water Shut-Off Valve Repair

Repairing a broken or leaky shut-off valve for your main water line costs between $150 and $300. These valves are usually easy to access, so the repairs are low-cost and simple.

Main Water Line Leak Repair Cost

Repairing a leaking water main ranges from $300 to $3,000. This wide price range is because leaks can have many causes, and some are easier to fix than others. It might be caused by a leaky valve, which is easy to repair, or a corroded and broken piece of pipe that might be difficult to access and require heavy labor to fix.

Water Main Break Repair Cost

Repairing a broken section of your water main line averages $400 to $2,000. The price is at the lower end of the range if the breakage is small and easy to access. However, costs can be higher if the breakage is large and in an inaccessible area. Broken parts can be patched or may need soldering.

Cost to Solder a Pipe

Soldering copper pipes for your water main costs between $500 and $2,000. Copper is a very strong material and popular for water lines because it can last very long, resisting wear and tear and reducing the risk of leaks and breakages. When copper pipes crack or leak, they must be soldered to repair the damage. The price depends on how easy the pipes are to access and how much soldering must be done.


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Underground Water Line Repair Cost by Type of Replacement

In many cases, you need to replace the broken or damaged parts. The costs for this vary greatly, depending on the parts and how much work must be done. Replacing one small valve is easier than replacing a long stretch of pipe. The table below shows common water line replacements types and average costs.


Cost to Replace Shut-Off Valve Handle, Tap, Shut-Off Valve, Water Pressure Regulator, or Pipe Section of a Water Main

Cost to Replace Shut-Off Valve Handle, Tap, Shut-Off Valve, Water Pressure Regulator, or Pipe Section of a Water Main


Type of ReplacementAverage Replacement Cost
Shut-Off Valve Handle$150 - $750
Tap$200 - $400
Shut-Off Valve$250 - $1,000
Water Pressure Regulator$250 - $1,000
Pipe Section$500 - $4,000


Main Water Shut-Off Valve Handle Replacement Cost

Replacing a main water shut-off valve handle costs between $150 and $750. The material costs for this job should not be too high, and labor costs can be low if the handle screws into position. However, handles can have different designs, depending on the valve, and some require more work than others.

Tap Replacement Cost

Replacing the tap for your water line ranges from $200 to $400. The tap connects your water line to the main city line, and it can corrode from general wear and tear. Fortunately, it is a relatively simple and affordable part to replace, but you still need a professional.

Main Water Shut-Off Valve Replacement Cost

Replacing a main water shut-off valve costs $250 to $1,000. Valves are usually just outside your home or in the basement so that they are easy to access and replace. Costs should be low for this replacement but may rise in certain situations if the valve is tricky to access or requires additional labor from issues like corrosion. The water must be shut off, new pipes and valve fitted, and the system drained.

Water Pressure Regulator Replacement Cost

Replacing a water pressure regulator costs between $250 and $1,000. First, the current regulator must be loosened with tools like pipe wrenches and pliers. Residual water must be drained out before the old regulator is removed and the new one installed. This job should not take longer than a couple of hours.

Main Water Pipe Replacement Cost

Replacing a section of pipe for your water main line ranges from $500 to $4,000, depending on the job size and scale. Larger pieces of pipe that need replacing result in higher repair costs, and it can also cost more if the pipe is difficult to access. However, you do not need to pay too much if only a small piece of pipe needs replacing and it is easy to access.

Trenchless Water Line Replacement

Trenchless water line replacement costs between $1,500 and $4,000. This can be a very convenient and cost-efficient method for dealing with main water line repairs. Usually when the line needs to be fixed, a lot of work needs to be done. Parts of your property may need to be dug up, and you have to worry about re-landscaping later. Trenchless water line replacement is an alternative method that does not involve digging, saving you money and inconvenience and the repairman extra work.

Trenchless water line replacement can be done in several ways. Generally, it involves making two holes - one where the line connects to your home and another connecting to the city line. Special equipment inserts the new pipe between these holes, and a resin is inserted into the pipe, which hardens and forms a stronger pipe without any leaks or cracks. This repairs issues without digging big trenches. This replacement cost depends on the line size you need. More piping requires additional work and leads to higher costs.


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Water Main Repair Cost by Problem

Many issues might arise with your water line, and you may notice warning signs and red flags. You see spot discolored water coming out of your faucets or that your home’s water pressure seems to have taken a sudden drop. When issues like this arise, call in the professionals to diagnose the problem and fix it before it becomes serious. The table below shows common water main problems and average repair costs for each.


Water Main Repair Cost by Type of Problem: Shut-Off Valve Leaking, Corroded Shut-Off Valve, Water Line Vibrating, Low Water Pressure, Discolored Water, or Calcium Buildup

Water Main Repair Cost by Type of Problem: Shut-Off Valve Leaking, Corroded Shut-Off Valve, Water Line Vibrating, Low Water Pressure, Discolored Water, or Calcium Buildup


Type of ProblemAverage Repair Cost
Shut-Off Valve Leaking$150 - $1,000
Corroded Shut-Off Valve$250 - $1,000
Water Line Vibrating$250 - $4,000
Low Water Pressure$250 - $4,000
Discolored Water$300 - $4,000
Calcium Buildup$500 - $4,000


Main Water Shut-Off Valve Leaking

Fixing a leaky valve costs $150 to $1,000. If your main water shut-off valve is leaking, it must be repaired or replaced. For minor leaks, the existing valve may need tightening or readjustment to stop water from dripping out. In other cases, the valve might be damaged beyond repair and need replacing, which is a longer and more costly job.

Corroded Water Shut-Off Valve

Fixing a corroded water shut-off valve costs between $250 and $1,000. When corrosion has affected a valve, there is usually not much that can be done to repair it. Instead, the valve must be removed and replaced with a fresh one. This job can be cheap and simple if the valve is easily accessible but can be more complicated with valves that are trickier to access.

Water Line Vibrating

Fixing a vibrating water line ranges from $250 to $4,000. This has a few possible causes. It could be that there is a loose pipe that must be repaired or air trapped in the pipes, in which case the system must be drained. It might also be an issue with your water pressure regulator causing the pressure to get too high, so the regulator might need replacing.

Low Water Pressure in a House

Fixing low water pressure in the house costs between $250 and $4,000. There are several possible causes for this. It might just be an issue with the water pressure regulator, which is cheap to fix or replace. However, it could be a more costly repair job if parts of the pipe are damaged and have sprung a leak, which could be lowering your home’s pressure.

Discolored Water From a Tap

Fixing discolored water from your tap averages $300 to $4,000. Have a professional diagnose this issue because there are several possible causes. Sediment or contamination is likely getting into your water through a crack in the pipe or that the pipes are rusty. However, the main line might not be affected. It might just be one pipe in your house. The main line is probably to blame if discolored water is coming out of all faucets and showers, but the issue could be localized to a smaller section in the property if you only have discolored water from one fixture. In any case, the damaged pipe must be repaired or replaced.

Calcium BuildUp in Water Pipes

Fixing calcium buildup in your water pipes costs between $500 and $4,000. Calcium buildup is also referred to as limescale and occurs when mineral-rich water, also known as hard water, passes through the pipes and leaves mineral deposits behind. While there are ways to remove calcium buildups, plumbers cannot use chemical or acid treatments inside your water main, so the pipe must be replaced.

Cost of a Plumber to Repair a Water Main

To repair a water main leak, you need a pipefitting or plumbing company specializing in this work. Not all plumbers are capable or experienced enough in this area.

Some plumbers price this job at a flat rate, while others charge hourly. Hourly rates for this work tend to be higher than plumbing rates for interior work, with many charging about $120 to $150 per hour. Expect the repair of a moderate crack, which requires soldering and not replacement, to take up to a day and cost around $800. Smaller cracks may take less time and be cheaper, while full replacements take at least two days, sometimes more.


Professional Cutting Section of Water Main


Common Signs of a Water Main Break

Sometimes, a leak or break in the water has no obvious signs. Other times, it can be dramatic. Homeowners need to be prudent and watch for signs, great or small, which could indicate the water main line needs repair. There are many possible indicators of this, from changes in pressure to rusty-colored water coming out of your faucets. Here are a few of the most common signs your water main has broken:

  • A sudden increase in your water bill.
  • Wet spots or flooding in your yard.
  • The sound of water running when all the taps are turned off.
  • A vibrating sound in your pipes when the water is shut off.
  • A drop in water pressure.
  • Discolored water.
  • The growth of mold or mildew in your home’s lower levels.
  • Water in your home’s lower levels.

Any of these may indicate a leak or break in the water line and warrant an inspection to confirm or rule it out.


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Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Remember, you are only responsible for repairing a pipe if it breaks inside your home’s property line. If it breaks outside, it is the city’s responsibility to fix and pay for the repairs.
  • If the break occurs during a weekend, holiday, or overnight, you may pay an additional fee if it is repaired during these hours.
  • You need a permit to work on your water main line. This is part of the specialized knowledge that someone who regularly works in this area can help with.
  • In some cities, you may need to use PVC or another material other than copper on your line because copper corrodes with some soil types.
  • Water line insurance is available. In some cases, it pays up to $3,000 for repair or replacement, which can dramatically offset the cost.
  • Small leaks and breaks and short sections of pipe with an issue cost the least to repair. If the pipe has been repaired before, the damage is in more than one section, the pipes are old, or if the cost of the repair is greater than 50% of the cost of a replacement, the recommended strategy is to completely replace the pipe. This means a much higher bill than a small crack that can be soldered shut.
  • The piping material may also have an impact. Old pipes made of lead or galvanized metal must be completely replaced, while copper pipes may last longer. The going price for the pipes used varies and impacts the project cost.

FAQs

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

Depending on the level of damage, it can take 1 to 3 days to fix a broken water main.

  • Is a broken water main covered by homeowners insurance?

No, you need special insurance for it to be covered. Basic homeowners does not cover the water main.​

  • What happens when a water main breaks?

Several things may happen during a water main break, but water leaking into your yard and foundation, a higher water bill, and pressure loss can all be noticed.

Cost to repair a water main 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
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Cost to repair a water main 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