Are you wondering why your water pressure is low or has your water bill skyrocketed lately? These indicators may mean you have a leak in your water line. You may need to replace your water line. Whatever the cause of the problem, it’s time to call a plumber to get to the bottom of it before major damage leads to a water disaster.
So we can provide you with the most accurate water line replacement cost data possible, we spend hours scrutinizing real plumbing quotes and analyzing the construction materials database, RS Means. In this cost guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about water line replacement costs.
Suspect a water line leak and need a reputable plumber? Use our tool below to connect with your area’s best plumbing companies.
- The national average cost of water line replacement is $3,800, but can cost $10,000 or more.
- Most pipe materials cost between $2 and $10 per linear foot, but some can be up to $30 per linear foot.
- Trenched and trenchless methods can be used to replace your water line. The trenched method seems to be the more affordable of the two.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Your Water Line?
The average cost to install a new water line is $3,800 but can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000, depending on the project’s scope. Smaller leaks are common plumbing problems and are usually less expensive at $300 or less. More significant damage from burst pipes or tree roots may require an expensive complete line replacement.
Cost data from RS Means include average material and labor costs. Old pipe removal and landscaping are not included. Costs may vary by region.
Looking for the best way to detect a water leak? Check out the video below to learn more about water monitoring.
How Do Water Line Replacement Costs Differ By Pipe Material?
Water line replacement costs depend partly on the pipe material used. In many cases, your plumber will use the same material as your current pipe because what’s there is best for your soil and climate. You can also choose to install a different material — especially if you’re doing a complete replacement. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and polyethylene pipes are the least expensive at $0.50 to $5 per linear foot, but you’ll pay up to $30 per foot for copper pipe.
|Pipe Material||Average Cost Per Linear Foot|
|Cast Iron or galvanized steel||$2 – $10|
|Copper||$20 – $30|
|Fiberglass||$6 – $10|
|Polyethylene||$2 – $5|
|PVC||$0.50 – $5|
Cost data include average material and installation. Old pipe removal is not included. Costs may vary by region.
Cast Iron Pipe
Cast iron pipes are most commonly found in older homes and are not typically installed in new builds because cast iron corrodes easily and can be damaged by tree roots. You’ll pay between $2 and $10 per linear foot to replace cast iron pipes.
Copper pipe is the most expensive type of water line pipe at $20 to $30 per linear foot. Copper piping is commonly used in plumbing systems because it’s durable, can be used in both warm and cold climates, and is more resistant to damage from tree roots.
Fiberglass pipe is sold in short lengths, so you can use it if only a small part of your water line is damaged. It’s highly durable and resistant to all types of weather and soils. Fiberglass pipe costs $6 to $10 per linear foot.
Polyethylene pipe is a more affordable water line option at $2 to $5 per linear foot. This type of pipe is flexible, can be used in any climate, and is corrosion-resistant.
PVC may not be the best option if you live in extremely hot or cold environments, but it’s perfect if you have acidic soil like that found in the Pacific Northwest. At $0.50 to $5 per linear foot, PVC is the cheapest water line material available.
How Does the Type of Water Line Affect Replacement Pricing?
The two methods used to replace a water line are the trenched method and the trenchless method. The trenched method tends to be less expensive than the trenchless method — we’ll discuss why in the following sections.
|Type||Average Cost Per Linear Foot|
|Trenched Water Line||$50 – $250|
|Trenchless Water Line||$100 – $250|
Cost data represent the average cost per linear foot for this type of water line replacement method. Cost ranges include the cost of pipe material.
Trenched Water Line
To replace a trenched water line, your plumber must dig up the soil around the pipe to complete the installation. The process is messy, and your lawn, soil, and any other structures above the water line will be disturbed. The one advantage of the trenched method is the cost; it’s the less expensive option at $50 to $250 per linear foot.
Trenchless Water Line
With the trenchless method, your plumber creates an underground tunnel to repair broken pipe sections (or replace the entire pipe). In some instances, your plumber can repair the existing pipe by lining it. Finally, If a new pipe can’t be installed, epoxy can be used to seal cracks.
If you can use the trenchless method, your lawn won’t be destroyed. Although this method is more expensive at $100 to $250 per linear foot, many homeowners choose it.
Which Factors Impact Water Line Replacement Cost Estimates?
The type of pipe you use and the method by which you replace your water line are the most important cost factors, but some additional factors can impact your main water line repair cost. These include:
- Length of the water line
- Utility line removal
- Type of damage
Length of the Water Line
The more sections of your water main that are damaged, the more pipe you have to replace, increasing your total cost. For example, if only 5 feet of your water main is damaged, expect to pay between $250 and $1,250. However, if 25 feet of water main is damaged, the cost increases to $1,250 to $6,250.
Utility Line Removal
If you aren’t a candidate for trenchless water main replacement, you’ll have to pay to remove the old pipe so you can install a new one. As a rule, the larger the pipe, the more you’ll pay per foot, meaning you’ll pay about $9 for a 12-inch pipe but up to $27 per foot for a 24-inch pipe. The good news is that most water pipes are between 6 and 16 inches in diameter, so you’ll likely land on the cheaper side.
|Pipe Size (Diameter)||Average Removal Cost Per Linear Foot|
|15 to 18 inches||$21|
|21 to 24 inches||$27|
Cost data from RS Means represents the cost to excavate, remove, and dispose of water line utility pipes.
Type of Damage
The type of work you need to be done on your plumbing will have a major impact on the overall cost. For example, if you have a small, easily accessible leak, the total cost will be low at $150 to $300. However, if your pipe has burst deep underground, the cost will be $100 to $200 or more per linear foot. This higher cost is because extensive excavation is required, which takes longer and requires heavy equipment and permits for the water line.
If you need a complete water main replacement, the total cost can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000, depending on the length of the water main. However, on average, homeowners pay $3,800 for a complete water line replacement.
What Are the Benefits of Water Line Replacement?
You need water to run your dishwasher, do your laundry, shower, and use the toilet. You don’t even have access to drinking water without your main water supply.
If you live in a metropolitan area or suburb, you’re likely connected to a municipal water supply, which means you get all your water from a local utility’s main line. If your water line breaks, you won’t have access to water. Because running water is essential to many of your home systems and appliances, it’s best to get it fixed as soon as you notice something is wrong with your water.
Replacing your water main has additional benefits: allowing you to upgrade your plumbing systems and save money on water bills.
Upgrade to Modern Water Line Materials
By replacing your water line, you can upgrade to more modern plumbing materials. Heavy metal pipes are susceptible to corrosion, which is particularly problematic for homeowners in the eastern United States.
You’ll Save Money on Your Water Bill
One of the signs your plumbing is leaking is a high water bill. Water bills stay consistent throughout the year in most U.S. households, except during the summer months when you’re more likely to run your sprinkler system. But if you notice a random spike in your water bill that you can’t account for, it may be a sign that your water line is leaking. If your plumber finds and fixes the leak, you can expect your water bill to return to normal.
Professional vs. DIY Water Line Replacement
Professional plumbers have the equipment necessary to locate the source of leaks and can repair or replace a water main line in half a day to three days. Your plumbing is an essential part of your home, and if you aren’t a professional plumber, you can easily make a mistake that could cost you a lot of money in the long run. That’s why we don’t recommend doing water line replacement yourself.
Doing Water Line Replacement Yourself
Water line installation is no easy task. It requires extensive equipment and expertise to locate and fix the broken pipe. You shouldn’t try to take on this task yourself, but if you notice your pipe is leaking or has burst, take the following steps to get the situation under control:
- Locate the source of the water leak if you can.
- Shut off the water supply.
- Drain your pipes.
- Call a professional plumber.
- Take pictures of damage for insurance.
- Clean up the mess.
Always know where your main water shutoff valve is so that in an emergency, you can shut your water off quickly and avoid extensive — not to mention expensive — damage.
Hiring a Professional for Water Line Replacement
It’s easy to get in contact with professional plumbers in your area. All you have to do is use our tool, and they’ll connect with you to get your water line fixed as soon as possible.
Use the steps below to get connected to a professional plumber near you:
- Call or connect to a local plumber: Use the tool below to connect with one of the best professional plumbers in your area.
- Get emergency plumbing service or quotes: If you have a plumbing emergency, you may need to contact the plumber that can get to your home the quickest. If you have the luxury to gather quotes, get at least two to compare costs.
- Consult them about their water line replacement services: Ask the plumber for their pipe replacement recommendations so that you can go with the best option for your home and budget.
- Get your pipe replaced: Once you’ve contacted a plumber and have a plan to fix your pipe, set up a time to replace your water line.
Need a professional plumber to fix your main water line? Use the tool below to find a reputable plumber in your area.
So, Is Water Line Replacement Worth It?
You never want to have water where it shouldn’t be, so even if you suspect a small water line leak, it’s best to call the professionals and get it fixed. If you don’t replace a leaky or burst water line, you will be at risk for significant water damage and might not have access to water for all your needs. In any case, it’s always worth it to replace your water line if it’s needed.
FAQs About Water Line Replacement Costs
How do I know if my water line is broken?
If you notice low water pressure, see water where it shouldn’t be, have damp drywall, see an increase in your water bill, or notice water flowing from the ground, that may be a sign that you have a leak in your water main.
How long does it take to install a water line?
The average main water line replacement takes between half a day and three days to complete. The more complex your problem, the longer it will take to replace the new line.
What is the diameter of water lines?
Most water lines have a 6- to 16-inch diameter, but some water pipes can be 24 inches in diameter.
What is the average life expectancy of a waterline?
The good news is that most types of water lines have long lifespans of 80 to 100 years, but that doesn’t mean they won’t experience damage. If you notice signs of a broken water line, you should call a professional plumber immediately.