Here's How Much Common Home Repairs Cost — and How to Budget for Them

by Team HomeServe
Ceiling with multiple utility lines - gas

Home Repair Costs at a Glance

  • Electrical repair: $140-$420, small job; $2,000-$6,000, large job
  • Water heater: $150-$1,800, repair; $1,000-$3,500, replace
  • Water damage repair: $3.50-$7 per square foot
  • Plumbing: $150+, minor repairs; $1,200+, major repairs
  • Sewer line: $150-$800, repair; $3,000-$30,000, replace
  • Water service line: $500-$1,000, repair; $1,500-$5,000, replace
  • HVAC: $85-$150 per hour, repair; $3,000-$12,000, replace
  • Appliance repair: Varies; $75-$1,000

The amount of money you pay for a home repair depends primarily on the system that needs to be fixed and how much work needs to be done. For instance, a small plumbing leak may cost a few hundred dollars to repair, taking into account the cost of labor and the supplies needed to complete the job. However, in the event that you need to add a heat pump to your forced-air system — or do some other major repair — you’d be looking at a price tag of upwards of $3,000.

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This guide offers a comprehensive rundown of the most common repairs that you'll encounter as a homeowner and what you should expect them to cost. Understanding these costs should make it easier for you to create a repair and maintenance budget.

Common Home Repairs

Throughout your home, there are a number of different systems and items that can malfunction if they aren't properly maintained. These include everything from your electrical wiring to your heating and air conditioning systems. While regular maintenance can help extend the life of the systems throughout your home, there are many reasons why a system could malfunction. And when any home system malfunctions, a certain amount of repair work is required.

The total cost will depend on the amount of labor and parts needed to complete the repair work. There are also times when a system is damaged to the point that it can't be repaired without sinking a large amount of money into it, which is when a replacement may be necessary. In these situations, you'll want to consider how much it will cost to replace and reinstall the system.

These are some of the most common home repairs:

  • Electrical repair
  • Water heater repair or replacement
  • Water damage repair
  • Plumbing repair
  • Sewer line backup
  • Water service line repair
  • Heating or air conditioning system repair
  • Appliance repair

Electrical Repair

Electrical systems in your home may need to be repaired for any number of reasons. The types of repair and maintenance projects that may need to be completed by an electrician include repairing a light fixture, installing a fan, upgrading your electrical panel and installing new wiring throughout your home. In terms of repair costs, it’s helpful to divide electrical work into two categories: small jobs and large jobs.

When you're hiring an electrician, it's highly recommended that you request an estimate. This will give you an idea of what the bill will be for your electrical project. To make sure that you're paying a fair price, you can also compare several different estimates before hiring an electrician.

Average Cost to Repair Electrical Issues

On average, small electrical jobs can cost anywhere from $140 to $420. Any work that involves the placement of a light fixture or the repair of an outlet would be classified as a small job. Likely the least expensive electrical repairs involve replacing a broken light, which costs $75 to $200.

As for larger electrical jobs, you’re looking at an average of $2,000 to $6,000. For instance, an electrical panel upgrade alone would cost you around $1,000 to $2,500, including material and labor costs.

One of the more expensive electrical projects involves rewiring an entire home. The installation of new electrical wiring can cost around $6 to $8 per foot. If the wiring needs to be run through the main walls of the home, the project will involve opening the walls, getting rid of any old wires, rewiring the home and installing some drywall. Because of the numerous steps involved, the total costs for building materials and labor would come in at $6,000 to $10,000.

Water Heater Repair or Replacement

Water heaters are designed to last 10 to 20 years. However, you'll likely encounter issues along the way that require repair work if you want to continue using the water heater in question. Keep in mind that annual maintenance should extend the life of the system, which will help protect your initial investment and save you money in the long run. The amount of money you pay depends mainly on whether the water heater needs to be repaired or replaced. Regardless of the type of repair work that needs to be done, repairs will cost less than a total replacement.

Average Cost to Repair or Replace a Water Heater

The total amount you pay to fix your water heater will depend on the component that needs to be repaired. For instance, fixing a broken igniter costs between $200 and $500. If scale has developed along the walls of the boiler, the water inside of the heater will need to be treated in order to get rid of mineral deposits. You can expect this process to cost $150 to $450. Fixing pipe leakages and replacing the expansion tank have similar repair costs.

The most expensive repair involves replacing the circulator pump in the system. If this pump isn't working properly, the heater can't be used to warm your home's water. The replacement of a circulator pump can cost you anywhere from $450 to $1,800. When replacing a water heater, the price depends on the type and size of the heater that you purchase. You can expect a new water heater to come in at $1,000 to $3,500.

Water Damage Repair

Whether a pipe has burst or your home has flooded during a recent storm, water damage can be very costly to fix. The exact amount of money that you pay for restoring the areas of your home that have been damaged depends on the type of water that gets into your home. If clean water comes in from a burst pipe or flooding, your costs will be on the lower end. Gray water is more expensive to clean up. This water drains from appliances like washing machines and dishwashers.

The most expensive form of water damage involves black water, which is water that comes directly from a contaminated source. A common source of black water is a sewer pipe. The price to repair damage caused by black water is usually twice as high as for repairing damage caused by clean water.

If you want to sell your home in the future, it's important that the water-damaged area is restored quickly. Properties that have been damaged by water can drop significantly in value, which is why quick restoration is necessary to minimize depreciation and further problems.

Average Cost to Repair Water Damage

In general, larger homes will cost more to repair as repair costs are related to square footage. If the damaged area of your home amounts to 1,500 square feet, your expenses will almost always be higher when compared to restoring an area of 500 square feet. If your home has been damaged by clean water, the price you pay could be $3.75 per square foot. If gray water is the culprit, expect restoration costs to increase to $4.50 for every square foot. As for black water, you can expect restoration costs to come in at $7 per square foot.

Plumbing Repair

Plumbers commonly need to be called to repair leaks or install new systems. In most situations, plumbers will charge a flat rate for the work that needs to be done. Some of the more common plumbing repairs include:

  • Clogged pipes
  • Leaky pipes
  • Burst pipes
  • Low water pressure
  • Malfunctioning fixtures
  • Lack of warm water

Average Cost to Repair Common Plumbing Problems

Plumbers work on a wide range of different repair projects, which means that the costs you pay can vary significantly. If your shower isn't working properly, you can expect to pay around $150 to $200 for it to be fixed. If a pressure-reducing valve needs to be installed, these costs can increase to $500 to $700 on average. Pipe and drain repairs cost anywhere from $100 to $200. The most expensive plumbing work usually involves installing a new water heater that you've purchased. Installation alone can cost $1,200 to $1,700.

Sewer Line Backup and Repair

While there’s a range of issues that could cause damage to the sewer service line of your home, the most common ones involve clogs. Even though clogs are relatively easy to clear, it's possible that they could cause the entire system to become backed up, which heightens the risk of a rupture in the sewer line. If the clog is the only problem that has occurred, your expenses should be low. Further damage can lead to a much higher bill.

Average Cost to Repair a Sewer Line

If your home's sewer line becomes clogged, professionals can use several different techniques to clear it. Total costs for this type of project fall between $150 and $800. In the event that the sewer service line has become damaged and needs to be replaced, the repair costs could be anywhere from $50 to $450 per linear foot, which can amount to total project costs of $3,000 to $30,000. You can avoid such high costs by getting a clog fixed before further damage occurs.

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Water Service Line Repair

Just like your home's main sewer line, the main water line may also need to be repaired or replaced depending on the type of damage that occurs. However, repairing a water service line isn't nearly as costly as repairing a sewer line. The severity of the break will dictate what your repair costs will be. Some additional factors that can affect what you pay include:

  • Ease of access
  • Depth of the line
  • Piping material

Average Cost to Repair a Water Service Line

If only a small section of the pipe has been damaged and requires replacement, your costs could amount to $500 to $1,000. If the entire water line needs to be replaced, the price can range from $1,500 to $5,000. Labor costs are the most important factor in what you spend on the project.

HVAC System Repairs

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems contain many different components that can be damaged if the system isn't properly maintained. In fact, maintaining your HVAC system should be at the top of your list when performing home maintenance. The amount you’ll pay for HVAC system repairs depends on the component that needs to be fixed as well as when you contact the HVAC repair company. Calling for repairs after standard business hours or on a holiday will be more expensive than calling during business hours.

Average Cost to Repair or Replace Your HVAC System

When you schedule service during normal business hours, the average price is between $85 and $150 per hour. If the work occurs after hours, this increases to $135 or more per hour. While minor HVAC repairs cost $100 to $200, extensive repairs can cost you upward of $1,500 to complete. The more expensive jobs involve replacing the heat exchanger, coil or compressor.

If you need to replace the entire system, what you pay will depend on the type of heating or cooling unit you buy. For instance, small gas furnaces cost around $2,000 for the unit itself and installation. On the other hand, variable-speed furnaces with excellent efficiency may cost you around $7,000 or more. If you need to replace an older system, HVAC systems that can heat and cool your home can cost you around $3,000 to $12,000.

Appliance Repair Costs

The appliances and systems that are installed throughout your home can malfunction for many different reasons. Repair costs depend on the appliance that has been damaged. For instance, the price to repair a refrigerator differs from what it costs to repair a dishwasher or trash compactor.

Here are some of the most common home systems and appliances and the estimated cost to repair:

  • Garage door: $75 to $450
  • Dishwasher: $400 to $800
  • Gas stovetop: $650 to $1,000
  • Electric stovetop: $400 to $600
  • Garbage disposal: $200 to $300
  • Trash compactor: $600 to $1,000
  • Bathroom exhaust fan: $300 to $500
  • Built-in oven: $600 to $1,000

What’s the Difference Between a Major and a Minor Home Repair?

If you're trying to differentiate between minor and major home repairs, think of it like this: Minor repairs involve any repair work that can be done with basic tools and limited knowledge. Replacing a broken light or cleaning the gutters around your home would classify as minor work. Major home repairs, on the other hand, usually require a professional. The bill for major repairs will typically include labor costs and the cost of building materials. Electrical wiring repairs, water damage restoration and roof replacements would usually count as major repairs. These types of repairs often occur during larger home improvement projects.

What’s the Most Expensive Home Repair?

The most expensive home repairs include fixing termite damage, restoring water damage, replacing a water heater, replacing a roof and repairing a foundation. If the foundation of your home has been damaged, repair costs could be as high as $11,000.

How Much Should You Budget for Home Maintenance Costs?

If you want to budget for unexpected home maintenance and repairs, it's highly recommended that you set aside around 1% of your home's value every year. If your home is valued at $400,000, for example, you should set aside $4,000 or more.