Water Line Replacements


The main water line to your home is an important part of your indoor plumbing set-up. Water mains are the pipe systems that connect your home to your city’s water supply lines. When this connection goes bad it can become both messy and expensive. There are 2 definite signs that a water line needs to be replaced.

  • A sudden change in the water bills.
  • Your front line suddenly resembles a swamp.

Replacing a water main line is both a simple and daunting task. Although the act of digging up a pipe line and replacing it with new pipe sounds simple, there are other factors to consider. These factors include city building codes, the placement of existing utilities and of course your comfort in the project. Always keep in mind that if you aren’t comfortable or skilled with the job there is no shame in calling a professional.

How do I Replace the Line?

  1. Do your research. Before you so much as touch a shovel talk to your city building commission. Not only are permits often needed for digging, but you also have to consider that existing utilities are also buried on your property. Make sure you know this information.


  1. Dig a trench to expose the pipe. Some people like to backhoes for this job, but the safest choice is the good old fashion shovel or spade. If you dig the trench by hand you’ll be able to find the individual lines easier. The trench should be between the city meter and your personal connection.



  1. Check the quality and condition of your line. When you see what was used then you will know what kind of pipe needs to replace it. Many professionals suggest plastic PEX pipes because of its durability. In most cases a size larger than the existing line is suggested. This helps with water pressure. Normally 1 inch pipe size is recommended.


  1. Wrap the new pipes in insulation tape to help prevent freezing. When you dig the new trench it needs to be deep enough so the elements don’t damage the pipes.


  1. Shut off the water supply.


  1. Fill the trench with a bed of sand.


  1. Disconnect both ends of the line. Keep in mind that if you aren’t comfortable with this step you can always leave the lines as they are and call a plumber for the rest.


  1. If you are fine with finishing the job, then remove the old line from the trench.



  1. Disinfect the pipes before you lay them. This protects your family from water borne illness. Most plumbing stores have something to coat the pipes for this purpose.


  1. Connect the new pipes with the correct connectors and glue. Pipe connects should always be glued or cemented together to prevent leaks.


  1. Turn water supply back on and test the lines. If the line works, then cover the pipes with the displaced soil.

Some people like to do the digging themselves and then call in the plumber to connect the water line. This is entirely up to you and your confidence in your handiness around the house. Replacing your water main line will help with the efficiency and cost of your water usage. Make sure you are prepared for the job and are comfortable with it. There is no greater headache then realizing half way through that you are in over your head. If that does happen make sure to bring in a professional to finish the work.