How Much Does it Cost to Install a New Water Main


A water main is the primary line carrying water from a treatment or purification plant to consumers. Also known as primary feeders, water mains connect to secondary feeders to expand the reach of an efficient water distribution network. Structures connect to these secondary feeders and tap into the water supply for home use. As a critical aspect of a typical water distribution network, water mains must be kept in good condition to prevent common water problems and maintain a steady supply of water. Installing a new water main will help you get an uninterrupted water supply from the treatment plant to your home. It will also help to prevent common water problems caused by old, rusty, leaky or broken water mains. Old, rusty water mains can be a home for bacteria and other disease causing organisms that live in water pipes.

Job Cost Structure

You can choose to either repair the water main by yourself or hire a professional plumber to do it. While you may opt to do it on your own instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars in labor, it is recommended that you hire a professional plumber to fix the problem to avoid causing more damage yourself, especially if you lack prior plumbing experience. Replacing a section of a broken pipe could cost $500-$1000, while replacing the entire main costs, on average, $1500-$5000, depending on the type and size of pipe, as well as the local labor cost.

Do It Yourself

  • Advantages: Save money on labor cost or service. By doing it yourself, you can work at a time that is more convenient for you. Moreover, you can begin to solve the problem immediately and learn a few other things about plumbing to be doing some minor plumbing jobs without having to call a professional.
  • Disadvantages: It can be too demanding and time consuming. Installing a water main by yourself means you accept full responsibility if something goes wrong. Moreover, you may lack the tools and skills necessary to get the job done.

Hiring a Professional Plumber

  • Advantages: have the skills, knowledge and experience, as well as the tools to get the job done professionally.
  • Disadvantages: can be costly. Sometimes professionals take several hours before they come to assess the problem.

Water mains could last for over 50 years. However, they will eventually fail at some point, creating great inconvenience and extensive flood damage. When a water main breaks, the best thing to do is to find a skilled and professional plumber to fix the issue as quickly as possible to avoid any further damage. Unfortunately, it costs a lot of money to repair a burst or broken water main. Professionals charge a minimum cost of $500. In addition, if it breaks on the part of the water line running from the city’s main pipe right up to a meter on your home, the city takes responsibility. But if it is on the line from the meter to your property, the bill is on you. The labor cost for replacing the entire water main could run you between $2000-$3000.

What to watch out for:

  • The water line between the water meter and your property is your responsibility. Don’t repair the line from the city’s main to the meter on your property.
  • Have estimates from three or more companies before selecting one.
  • Do background checks on a company you wish to contract

Doing it Myself vs Cost of Hiring a Professional

When you do it yourself, you may only have to spend money on parts, but you save on labor. This may look cost effective, especially when the problem seems minor. However, it is recommended that you hire a professional plumber to avoid causing more damage. The problem could explode into more that you expected and cost more to fix, so unless you have the skills and experience to get the job done, always hire a professional to install a new water main.