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How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Broken Water Main?

Most homeowners spend between $402 to $754 nationally.
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Having a water main break can be devastating to any homeowner. This sudden emergency can easily result in home flooding as well as severe damage to a home's structure and the your personal belongings. When a water main break occurs, it’s important to act as quickly as possible so as to prevent long-term damage and get the problem resolved right away. This involves contacting a professional plumber as soon as it becomes clear that there’s a problem.

If you need to find a reliable plumber, let ImproveNet help! We can connect you with local plumbers to help you with your water main repair.

National Repair a Water Main Costs

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Median Cost


Minimum Cost


Maximum Cost
Average Range:


National Average Cost $797
Minimum Cost $60
Maximum Cost $2,994
Average Range $402 to $754
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How do we get this data? This info is based on 791 cost profiles, as reported by ImproveNet members.

Table of Contents

  1. Water Main Repair Cost
  2. Water Main Repair Cost Factors
  3. Water Main Material Costs
  4. Water Main Replacement Cost
  5. What Is A Water Main?
  6. Required Permits
  7. Common Causes Of A Water Main Break
  8. Common Signs Of A Water Main Break
  9. Choosing The Right Plumber
  10. Find A Local Plumber

Water Main Repair Cost

In the event of a water main break, emergency plumbing services will be needed. The average cost of a water main repair following a rupture ranges between $800 and $1,100. The cost can vary greatly based on the severity of the damage and the location of the repair since plumbing and repair costs are not consistent nationwide. Keep in mind that if a water main break happens outside of your home’s property line, it’s the city’s responsibility to fix and pay for the break. At most, homeowners should expect to spend no more than $2,000 on a water main break repair.

If your water main break happens overnight or during a holiday, there might be an additional fee for these kinds of emergency hours. Ask your plumber what is included in their estimate and ask about any fees for emergency hours.

Water Main Repair Cost Factors

One of the biggest cost factors that will increase the cost of your water main repair is the placement of your break and ease of access. If your water main break or leak is underneath your home’s foundation, the repair can easily be increased by hundreds of dollars. The total increase will depend largely on the location of the break and if your interior flooring needs to be replaced or repaired. The cost to install new flooring is not cheap, so be sure to find the exact area where your water main break is. A break or leak underneath your basement floor, for instance, will cost much less than a break or leak underneath a stairwell in your home.

Water Main Leak Repair

Water Main Material Costs

One of the main material costs associated with your water main repair is the piping material you choose. Thankfully, you have plenty of options when it comes to this pipe material that connects your home to the local water supply. If you live in a warmer climate, where freezing temperatures are less of a concern, PVC pipes are a very affordable option. Copper is another popular material, but it can't be used for piping in places where certain elements in the soil cause corrosion. Other popular pipes are CPVC, which is like PVC piping, and Pex piping, which is one of the most versatile materials on the market.


While PVC pipes are normally used for cold water pipes, they can be used for water mains. In fact, if your town does not experience freezing temperatures, you should strongly consider PVC pipes. They do not rust, corrode or degrade over time. They can handle high water pressure and are easy to install.


CPVC is also made of plastic. Just like regular PVC pipes, these pipes are easy to work with and are highly recommend for those DIYing a water main installation project. In fact, they’re more flexible than PVC pipes. CPVC has the best of both worlds because this material is ideal for hot and cold water lines.


Not as commonly used as PVC or copper, Pex piping is very versatile and easy to use. If you have to run your water main around trees and other obstructions in your yard, Pex is the right choice. Pex piping can handle very hot temperatures, so it’s another great option if you live in a warmer climate.


While copper pipes are more expensive than the other three options, you won’t find a more durable water line than copper. Copper resists bacteria, can be recycled and is not UV-resistant, unlike Pex. Made of metal, copper is much stronger than plastic. Therefore, while the installation cost may be more, over its lifetime, you will save on water main repairs.

Water Line Repair Cost

Water Main Replacement Cost

If your break is past the point of repair, replacing your water main line will need to happen. The average cost to replace your water main line is approximately $2,500, depending on the location of your water main and the length of pipe being replaced. If your water main line is far away from your home, then you can expect the cost of your replacement to be closer to $5,000. The final cost of your replacement will depend largely on the location of the break, depth of the pipes, access, your local rates and any permits required.

What Is A Water Main?

Your water main is the pipeline that runs underneath your yard and connects to the public water supply. The public water line typically runs underneath the nearest road and connects to all of the homes in your neighborhood. Keeping an eye on the condition of your water main line can seem tricky, so be aware of the common signs and hire an inspector once every few years to keep you up to date on your water main line.

Required Permits

Since you’re working on public property (such as over the sidewalk or even near your neighbor’s yard) chances are, you’ll need a water main permit before work begins. Typically, the cost of a permit is based on the length of the water main, which means that the farther you are from the water supply, the more expensive the permit will be. The smallest water mains, measuring 200 feet, may only cost $150 for the permit, but longer main permits can cost as much as $1,400 in some locations. Have your contractor find out exactly where your water main line needs to be repaired so you can begin budgeting for the total bill.

Water Main Break Repair Cost

Common Causes Of Water Main Breaks

There are many factors that can ultimately lead to a water main break. One of the most common problems is having old pipes. Over time, it’s possible for the pipes to rust and corrode, which can eventually lead to the pipe bursting altogether. Therefore, homeowners are always encouraged to have their pipes inspected not only when moving into a new home, but also on an annual basis. This way, old and rusting pipes can be replaced as needed to save on costly repairs down the road.

Water mains often leak slowly before they fully break, so homeowners should monitor their monthly water usage and make note of any large increases. Such an increase could be the sign of a pipe that is leaking and about to burst.

Common Signs Of A Water Main Break

When you’re moving into a new home, one of the most important places you should check is the condition of your water main line. If you are unsure of the condition and quality of your water main, check for these signs to determine whether you need to repair or replace your water main line:

  • Higher Water Bill: Keep an eye on your monthly water bill statement. If your bill skyrockets, there’s a good chance your water main line is broken or leaking.
  • Flooding: If your yard begins to collect water and seems unusually moist, you could have a water main break. If you experience water damage in your home, you need to repair that soon before molding and rotting take place. The average cost of water damage repairs is $2,164.
  • Lower Water Pressure: Having low water pressure can be very frustrating when trying to perform everyday tasks. If the water from the public water supply can’t get to your home, then your pressure will lower.
  • Water Discoloration: If your water turns to a brownish color, your pipes have a major issue. Old piping, corrosion or the soil could be getting into your water supply and this can cause discoloration and can be dangerous to your family. When your water becomes contaminated, you must get treatment right away to ensure the safety of your family and yourself. Water treatment and purification costs are not expensive and when your family’s health comes into question.

Water Main Repair

Choosing The Right Plumber

When you find yourself in an emergency like this, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time searching for the perfect plumber. Follow the steps below to find a local plumber that is right for your water main repair:

  • Compare prices from several companies to find a price that works with your budget. Be wary of estimates that seem too high or too low. You want to make sure you are not hiring a plumber that is going to overcharge you or one that will not fix your break correctly and leave you needing another fix.
  • Look for references and research reviews of water main companies you find. Great reviews and proven quality work will give you some reassurance heading into the project.
  • Hire a plumber that is licensed, bonded and insured. A plumber that is licensed for this kind of work is knowledgeable with this work and has experience with these repairs. Water main breaks and repairs require a certain skill set. Hiring a plumber that does not have insurance could leave you responsible for any damages or injuries on your property.
  • A crucial element of your water main repair will be getting the required permits for the repair. Ask your plumber if they know which permits are required and when they plan to obtain them before work.

Find A Local Plumber

Dealing with a water main break on one's property can be a serious hassle, which is why maintenance on your water main line is highly recommended. Paying for small repairs over time is a lot better than being stuck with a huge bill that could have been prevented.

If you’re in need of a plumber for an emergency break or need a plumber to come patch a leak, ImproveNet can help. We can connect you with four local plumbers, for free!

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