Understanding Why Water-Line Replacement May Be Expensive

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Minimizing the Need for Plumbing Repairs

Hiring a plumber to make repairs tends to be a common occurrence for most homeowners as the years pass. While it’s virtually impossible to completely avoid the need for a professional plumber’s services, there are some things you can do to minimize wear and tear on your plumbing system so it doesn’t succumb to the need for repairs often. Using low-flow aerators on your sink faucets and shower heads as well as insulating your exposed pipes before winter can make a big difference in your plumbing’s performance. On this website you’ll find many tips and tricks that can be used to keep your plumbing in good shape, and even to save yourself some money on water costs throughout the year.

Understanding Why Water-Line Replacement May Be Expensive

15 December 2016
 Categories: , Articles


If you have a leak in one of your main water pipes, then you may be surprised to find out that it can cost as much as $1,500 to replace a water service line. This cost may seem high, but it is necessary to make sure the installation is correct and the pipe is able to remain strong against leaks for many years. If you want to know about some of the installation considerations that need to take place, then keep reading.

Water-Line Punctures

Your main water line sits outside your home and runs to your house from the street. If the line must be replaced, then your plumbing professional will often use a continuous line to prevent leaks and openings along the pipe joints. Cross-linked polyethylene pipe or PEX pipe is often used when installing a new or replacement water line. This type of pipe can withstand high and low temperatures as well as impacts without scratching or breaking.

While the water pipe is resistant to damage, some soil content can make it more likely for the pipe to break. Clay, rocks, and small pieces of gravel can cause punctures and leaks. To reduce this concern, your plumbing professional will arrange for the pipe to be completely surrounded by clean fill material. Once a trench is created in the earth, a bed of sand will be placed in the opening. The pipe will be placed over the sand, and clean fill dirt will be added over the top of the pipe. This process is called backfilling. 

In some cases, pipes are surrounded by a layer of rounded gravel instead of dirt. If the ground contains a large amount of clay, or if large rocks are buried in the ground, then this is ideal to keep the rocks from migrating close to the new water pipe. Once the initial backfill material is used to surround the pipe, the PEX is covered in a layer of compacted embedment. This keeps the pipe from bending from heavy loads that may be forced against the pipe. 

Frozen-Pipe Breaks

Water pipes are sometimes installed a bit more shallowly than they should be. This is one reason why your main water line may need to be replaced. Shallow lines succumb to frost. The water in the pipe itself may freeze, or the ground surrounding the water pipe may accumulate ice and place pressure on the pipe. The pipe will then weaken over time as it goes through numerous freeze and thaw cycles. 

The best way to reduce constant ice stress on the pipe is to make sure it is secured well below the lowest levels of frozen ground in your area. For many parts of the country, this may mean placing the pipe five to six feet below the earth.

When a pipe needs to be installed deep in the ground, then a pipe trench digger may be used. However, commercial diggers like backhoes may be needed instead. The depth of the hole as well as the need for backfilling may require this. This digging can be time consuming, but it will successfully reduce the chance that your pipes will burst in the winter. This will result in the need for a new pipe sooner than later and more extensive costs. 

While the installation is more expensive at lower depths, a broken water main can cause extensive flooding in the home. Wet mud can force its way into your basement through the foundation. This is not uncommon, and it can lead to serious cleanup costs that far exceed that of water-pipe installation.

If you need to have your main water line replaced, then you should understand that you may need to pay a good deal of money to a professional plumber to complete the fix. However, the job is extensive and exact, so the cost is worth it. 

Talk to a company like Young Plumbing Corporation to get started.