How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Water Service Line?

by Matt Schmitz
replace water sewer line

You know the sinking feeling you got when you stepped in that giant puddle in your front lawn and the mud swallowed your sneakers up to the ankles like the quicksand your 10-year-old self just knew you’d get stuck in one day? Well, you can resign yourself to sinking some more when it turns out that you’re in need of an exterior water line replacement as opposed to a mere repair at roughly a quarter of the price. We’re about to go deep on just how deep into your pockets you’re gonna hafta dig to pay for this worst-case-scenario expense.

This May Also Interest You: What’s an Exterior Water Service Line?

Speaking of digging, excavation is a major portion of the overall cost of replacing your exterior water line — a job that may also call for fitting external valves, fusing, welding, pipe cutting, locating a leak and backfilling — so don’t expect it to be dirt cheap. On the bright side, we can help prepare you for the price so at least you won’t be suffering sticker shock when the contractor quote comes in.

Umm, If the Issue Is Underground, How Am I Supposed to Know?

In all likelihood, you’ll know. Maybe not immediately, unfortunately, but at some point, there will be signs. Be it discolored water coming out of your faucets, low water pressure, inexplicably high water bills, potholes, sunken spots in your driveway or sidewalk or soggy spots in the grass that refuse to dry up, the water leaking from your underground line will somehow make itself known.

But one thing’s for sure: The sooner you identify the issue and hire a contractor to address it, the more you’ll be able to mitigate damage to your property. Now, wherever possible, HomeServe’s editorial team encourages homeowners to consider DIY solutions, but due to the scope and complexity of exterior water service line repair, this is one job best left to the pros.

Back Up a Sec … How's This My Problem?

We’ll forgive you for not realizing that your responsibility for your home’s vital systems doesn’t stop at the soil. It’s likely true that your local government is responsible for the water main under your street, as well as the pipe that stretches from the main and underneath public right-of-way to bring fresh water from the municipal supply up to the edge of your property line. But where the line meets your lawn? That’s on you.

So, basically, if it falls within anywhere you’d yell at kids to get off your lawn, it’s your problem.

graphic visualization showing a cut-away of a home exposing its rooms and home systems specifically focused on the water service line

What Did I Do to Deserve This?

It’s not your fault … well, it could be your fault — but a lot of different things could’ve caused enough damage to your underground water line that it needs to be replaced. Careless digging or overly aggressive yardwork are ways in which you may, indeed, be to blame. But other possible causes of leaks, breaks and all-out system failure are pipe aging or corrosion, ground shifting, invading tree roots and, arguably the most common culprit: extreme temperature swings.

In warmer climes such as in the South, water service lines are buried less than 3 feet deep because winters are seldom extreme enough to freeze the ground past the relatively shallow frost line (the operative word there being seldom, as evidenced by the Great Dallas Deep Freeze of 2021). Meanwhile, in the coldest areas, such as the Northern and Northeastern U.S., water lines may be buried more than 8 feet underground to prevent freezing in those regions' depth-plumbing frost line.

Pipe depth affects the replacement cost, as the technician must access the broken line in order to work on it — so the deeper they’ve gotta dig, the more time and effort the job requires. That drives up the price.

OK, What’s the Damage?

To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your water service line replacement, HomeServe has calculated the average costs, both nationally and state by state, for comparison. In order to determine what’s wrong with your system, you’ll have to call someone out to diagnose the problem, which comes with its own cost. We’ve calculated that average, as well. As we mentioned, the depth of your pipes has a bearing on cost, so we’ve listed the average depth here, too.

For a broader look at water service line expenses, check out our cost guide covering pricing averages for both repair and replacement state by state. And for a closer look at what factors into how much you’ll pay to get a water service line simply fixed as opposed to replaced outright, go to our state-by-state repair cost guide.

Below, you’ll find the average costs for water service line repair in your state, plus the average depths the water lines are buried. All figures are based on aggregated HomeServe data reported by our network of thousands of contractors across the nation. Where insufficient data was available to determine a verifiable average, we’ve noted so.

(At the time of this publication, another factor dramatically driving up costs was pandemic-precipitated materials shortages, impacting home maintenance, repair and construction sectors across the board; those supply-chain issues are generally expected to be temporary and are not reflected here.)

Nationwide

  • Diagnosis: $222
  • Replace: $3,581
  • Service Line Depth: 4.58 feet

State by State

1. Alabama

  • Diagnosis: $126
  • Replace: $2,961
  • Service Line Depth: 2.49 feet

2. Alaska

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Replace: Insufficient data
  • Service Line Depth: Insufficient data

3. Arizona

  • Diagnosis: $190
  • Replace: $2,654
  • Service Line Depth: 2.82 feet

4. Arkansas

  • Diagnosis: $230
  • Replace: $2,687
  • Service Line Depth: 3.67 feet

5. California

  • Diagnosis: $168
  • Replace: $3,062
  • Service Line Depth: 3.17 feet

6. Colorado

  • Diagnosis: $152
  • Replace: $4,423
  • Service Line Depth: 6.16 feet

7. Connecticut

  • Diagnosis: $150
  • Replace: $4,088
  • Service Line Depth: 7.32 feet

8. Delaware

  • Diagnosis: $152
  • Replace: $3,125
  • Service Line Depth: 4.45 feet

9. District of Columbia

  • Diagnosis: $98
  • Replace: $1,431
  • Service Line Depth: 4.00 feet

10. Florida

  • Diagnosis: $179
  • Replace: $2,731
  • Service Line Depth: 2.53 feet

11. Georgia

  • Diagnosis: $287
  • Replace: $3,125
  • Service Line Depth: 3.08 feet

12. Hawaii

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Replace: Insufficient data
  • Service Line Depth: Insufficient data

13. Idaho

  • Diagnosis: $195
  • Replace: $3,484
  • Service Line Depth: 4.95 feet

14. Illinois

  • Diagnosis: $159
  • Replace: $3,435
  • Service Line Depth: 5.26 feet

15. Indiana

  • Diagnosis: $143
  • Replace: $2,971
  • Service Line Depth: 3.83 feet

16. Iowa

  • Diagnosis: $184
  • Replace: $3,021
  • Service Line Depth: 5.97 feet

17. Kansas

  • Diagnosis: $126
  • Replace: $3,103
  • Service Line Depth: 4.68 feet

18. Kentucky

  • Diagnosis: $150
  • Replace: $2,471
  • Service Line Depth: 3.75 feet

19. Louisiana

  • Diagnosis: $199
  • Replace: $2,973
  • Service Line Depth: 3.81 feet

20. Maine

  • Diagnosis: $170
  • Replace: $3,330
  • Service Line Depth: 5.00 feet

21. Maryland

  • Diagnosis: $112
  • Replace: $2,974
  • Service Line Depth: 5.11 feet

22. Massachusetts

  • Diagnosis: $158
  • Replace: $2,493
  • Service Line Depth: 4.79 feet

23. Michigan

  • Diagnosis: $208
  • Replace: $3,413
  • Service Line Depth: 6.07 feet

24. Minnesota

  • Diagnosis: $174
  • Replace: $5,369
  • Service Line Depth: 8.27 feet

25. Mississippi

  • Diagnosis: $241
  • Replace: $2,493
  • Service Line Depth: 2.52 feet

26. Missouri

  • Diagnosis: $126
  • Replace: $3,437
  • Service Line Depth: 5.15 feet

27. Montana

  • Diagnosis: $206
  • Replace: $5,211
  • Service Line Depth: 5.64 feet

28. Nebraska

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Replace: $4,818
  • Service Line Depth: 5.80 feet

29. Nevada

  • Diagnosis: $92
  • Replace: $1,439
  • Service Line Depth: 3.50 feet

30. New Hampshire

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Replace: $5,809
  • Service Line Depth: 5.00 feet

31. New Jersey

  • Diagnosis: $123
  • Replace: $3,343
  • Service Line Depth: 5.04 feet

32. New Mexico

  • Diagnosis: $188
  • Replace: $2,712
  • Service Line Depth: 3.96 feet

33. New York

  • Diagnosis: $137
  • Replace: $4,790
  • Service Line Depth: 5.02 feet

34. North Carolina

  • Diagnosis: $205
  • Replace: $3,218
  • Service Line Depth: 3.89 feet

35. North Dakota

  • Diagnosis: $198
  • Replace: $5,243
  • Service Line Depth: Insufficient data

36. Ohio

  • Diagnosis: $268
  • Replace: $2,899
  • Service Line Depth: 5.76 feet

37. Oklahoma

  • Diagnosis: $138
  • Replace: $2,568
  • Service Line Depth: 2.90 feet

38. Oregon

  • Diagnosis: $185
  • Replace: $3,359
  • Service Line Depth: 4.05 feet

39. Pennsylvania

  • Diagnosis: $159
  • Replace: $3,154
  • Service Line Depth: 4.62 feet

40. Rhode Island

  • Diagnosis: $195
  • Replace: $5,294
  • Service Line Depth: 6.00 feet

41. South Carolina

  • Diagnosis: $308
  • Replace: $2,596
  • Service Line Depth: 2.68 feet

42. South Dakota

  • Diagnosis: $153
  • Replace: $4,487
  • Service Line Depth: 6.30 feet

43. Tennessee

  • Diagnosis: $195
  • Replace: $2,716
  • Service Line Depth: 3.07 feet

44. Texas

  • Diagnosis: $211
  • Replace: $2,382
  • Service Line Depth: 2.93 feet

45. Utah

  • Diagnosis: $94
  • Replace: $2,200
  • Service Line Depth: 4.16 feet

46. Vermont

  • Diagnosis: Insufficient data
  • Replace: $2,933
  • Service Line Depth: 4.00 feet

47. Virginia

  • Diagnosis: $209
  • Replace: $3,175
  • Service Line Depth: 4.58 feet

48. Washington

  • Diagnosis: $243
  • Replace: $3,530
  • Service Line Depth: 3.18 feet

49. West Virginia

  • Diagnosis: $252
  • Replace: $3,020
  • Service Line Depth: 3.88 feet

50. Wisconsin

  • Diagnosis: $123
  • Replace: $4,801
  • Service Line Depth: 6.82 feet

51. Wyoming

  • Diagnosis: $164
  • Replace: $4,032
  • Service Line Depth: 6.37 feet

More Related Articles: