How much does water line replacement cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does water line replacement cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does water line replacement cost?

$50 – $200average cost per linear foot (trenched)
$70 – $250average cost per linear foot (trenchless)
$2,000 – $5,000average total cost (main water line)

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$50 – $200 average cost per linear foot (trenched)

$70 – $250 average cost per linear foot (trenchless)

$2,000 – $5,000 average total cost (main water line)


Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tara Farmer
Written by
Tara Farmer
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
Fact-checked by
Tom Grupa

Average water line replacement cost

Main water line replacement costs $2,000 to $5,000 on average for labor and materials. An underground trenched water line replacement costs $50 to $200 per linear foot installed. Trenchless water line replacement costs $70 to $250 per linear foot for parts and labor. The cost to replace the main water line from the street to the house depends on the length, depth, and replacement method.

Average main water line replacement cost - Chart
Average main water line replacement cost - Chart
Average main water line replacement cost
National Average Cost$3,500
Minimum Cost$620
Maximum Cost$12,500
Average Range$2,000 to $5,000

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Cost to replace main water line by method

Professionals can replace the home's main water line using one of two methods—trenched or trenchless. The trenchless method costs more for the job itself, but the process does not require digging up the ground. The trenching method often involves many additional costs to repair the area after replacing the line.

Main water line replacement cost by method
Replacement method Average cost per linear foot*
Trenched $50 – $200
Trenchless $70 – $250

*Total cost for labor and materials.

A residential water line beneath concrete in a home's yard.
A residential water line beneath concrete in a home's yard.

Trenchless water line replacement

Trenchless water line replacement costs $70 to $250 per linear foot on average for the materials and labor. This is the preferred method in most cases because it does not involve major excavation, meaning it is safer and requires little to no landscaping or hardscaping repairs.

There are two trenchless water line methods:

  • Pipe bursting – The pipe bursting method feeds a machine with a splitter head through the existing pipe. The machine splits or breaks up the existing pipe and simultaneously pulls a new pipe through to take its place.

  • Pipe lining –The pipe lining method fills the existing pipe with a liner covered in epoxy resin. The liner inflates and the resin hardens, forming a new pipe inside the damaged pipe. Pipe lining takes longer and reduces the pipe's diameter but is the best method for water lines with sharp corners.

Trenched water line replacement

Trenched water line replacement costs $50 to $200 per linear foot total for the replacement itself, depending on the line's length and depth. The trenching method involves digging up the existing pipe, installing a new pipe, and backfilling. This method appears cheaper upfront but typically involves other costs.

Depending on the pipe's location, additional costs may include:

A residential water line in a trench in a home's front yard.
A residential water line in a trench in a home's front yard.

Main water line replacement cost factors

Factors that affect the cost include:

  • Length & depth – The longer the water line, the more materials and labor needed to replace it. Depth also affects the price, especially when using the trenching method. Water lines are typically buried deeper in cold regions due to the deeper frost line.

  • Accessibility ­– Lines that are more difficult to reach cost more to replace. Replacing a water line buried under landscaping, a driveway, sidewalk, or rocky soil typically takes longer and requires more labor.

  • Vegetation – If the water line damage is due to intrusive tree roots, you may need to remove some bushes or trees.

  • Pipe diameter – Larger pipes involve more material and cost more. Most water service lines from the street to the home are 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter.

Repair vs. replacementWater line repair costs $400 to $1,500 on average. A plumber may be able to repair the line if just a small section sustained damage and the rest of the line is in decent shape. Full water line replacement costs more but may be the only option if the pipe is very old or severely damaged.

Replacement method – Trenchless water line replacement costs more but is less invasive, so additional repair costs after replacement are minimal, while trenched line replacement may involve many additional costs due to the excavation required.

  • Moving locations – Moving the location of the main water line incurs additional costs for the excavation and repairs.

  • Shut off valve – Replacing the shut off valve adds $200 to $600+. Shut off valves need replacing if the pipe size changes or if the replacement materials are not compatible.

  • Pressure regulator – Replacing the water pressure regulator costs $150 to $350 for materials and labor and may be required when replacing the main water line.

  • Tap connection – Replacing the tap connection—the valve connecting the city line to the service line—costs $300 to $500 for the part and labor.

Labor

Labor makes up the majority of the cost to replace the main water line. Plumbing professionals charge $45 to $150 per hour. Depending on the replacement method, replacing the main water line can take a few hours to several days.

Other labor costs involved with water line replacement include:

  • A plumbing inspection costs $100 to $200+ for the plumber to locate the source of the problem and determine whether the line should be repaired or replaced.

  • Plumbing permits cost $30 to $500 on average for water line replacement.

  • Installing new plumbing pipes costs $2,280 to $5,120 total to re-pipe the entire house. Consider replacing the existing pipes if they are more than 50 years old.

Pipe material

Water line pipes cost $0.50 to $10.00+ per linear foot before installation, depending on the material. Your plumbing professional will recommend the best pipe material for your local climate and soil conditions.

Water line cost by material
Pipe material Average price per linear foot* Details
PVC $0.50 – $5.00
  • Easy to install; no special equipment required
  • Low maintenance and long lifespan in most cases
  • Works well in areas with acidic soil
  • Not recommended for extreme temperatures
  • May sustain damage from tree roots or chemicals
PEX / polyethylene $0.50 – $5.00
  • More flexible & easier to install than PVC
  • Resists corrosion; less likely to crack in freezing temps
  • Lasts up to 50 years
  • Not as strong as copper or steel
  • Does not repair as easily as PVC
Copper $2.00 – $10.00+
  • Holds up well in freezing temperatures
  • Lasts up to 100 years
  • Expensive
  • May corrode and leak over time
  • Not recommended for hard water areas
Cast iron $2.00 – $10.00
  • Found mostly in older homes
  • Prone to corrosion
  • Easily damaged by roots
Fiberglass $6.00 – $13.00
  • Sold in short lengths
  • Very durable
  • Resists weather and soil damage

*Not including installation.

A copper water line in a residential yard.
A copper water line in a residential yard.

Signs you need to replace the main water line

Here are some signs that indicate you may need to replace the main water line:

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  • The home's water pressure drops.

  • The drywall inside the home feels damp.

  • Your water bill increases with no additional water use.

  • Water coming from the faucets in the home is discolored.

  • Your grass looks greener in areas around the water line.

  • The lawn develops puddles or becomes saturated with water.

  • Sunken spots appear in the driveway.

Water line replacement FAQs

How long does it take to replace a water line?

Replacing a water line takes a few hours to several days, depending on the length, depth, and replacement method. Trenchless water line replacement typically takes less than a day. Trenched water lines that require excavation, backfilling, and significant repairs after the new line is installed take longer.

How long does a main water line last?

Main water lines last 50 to 100 years, depending on the material. While most water service lines are long-lasting, schedule a pipe inspection every 1 to 3 years to catch potential problems—like tree roots growing into pipes—before they become serious and costly.

Does homeowners insurance cover main water line replacement?

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover main water line replacement if it is due to normal wear and tear, unless you opt for additional coverage specifically including the main service line. Insurance may cover the replacement if the damage is due to an event outside of normal wear and tear.

How do you switch from well water to city water, and how much does it cost?

Switching from well water to city water involves running a new service line from the nearest city-owned water main to your home. The plumber shuts off the water coming from the well and opens the newly connected line to the city water.

The cost to switch from well water to city water ranges from $2,000 to $5,000+, depending on your location and proximity to the nearest water main.

Getting estimates for water line replacement

Follow these guidelines when hiring a water line replacement contractor near you:

  • Compare 3 to 5 detailed water line replacement estimates.

  • Choose a reputable plumbing company that is licensed, insured, and bonded.

  • Look for plumbers with excellent customer reviews on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Avoid going with the cheapest bid as this may indicate low-quality work.

  • Have a detailed contract and warranty in hand before the line replacement begins.

  • Don't pay the final bill until the job is complete.

Questions to ask

Consider asking these important questions to help you choose the best plumbing service near you:

  • How will you inspect the line to determine whether it needs repair or replacement?

  • What experience do you have replacing water lines like this one?

  • What replacement method do you recommend for my water service line, and why?

  • What products do you use for pipe lining, and are they safe for pipes carrying drinking water?

  • What does the estimate include?

  • What other costs might come up during the line replacement?

  • How do you handle unexpected damages?

  • How soon can you replace the line?

  • What does your warranty include?

  • What is your payment schedule?