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water main repair

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Water mains often last 50 years or more, but eventually they’re going to fail – creating a hassle at best and extensive flood damage at worst. When a water main breaks, you want to find an experienced professional to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, repairing a burst water main line is not cheap – the minimum cost is about $500. If the break occurs on the portion of the water line that runs from the city’s main pipe to a meter on your property, the city is responsible for the cost. If the break occurs on the portion of the line running from the meter to your home, you’re on the hook for the bill.

Cost to Fix a Burst Water Main Line

The cost to fix a water main break depends on the severity of the break. Not surprisingly, repairing a small section is far less expensive than replacing the entire pipe.

  • Replacing just the broken section of pipe usually costs $500-$1,000.
  • Replacing the entire main line costs anywhere from about $1,500-$5,000, depending on the size of the pipe, the type of pipe and local labor costs. In most cases, the cost falls closer to $2,000-$3,000.

Several other factors affect cost, including:

  • Depth of the line – The harder it is to access the line, the more you’ll spend.
  • Ease of access – Obstructions such as concrete patios, trees or bushes that make the line more difficult to access will add to the total project cost.
  • Piping material – Different materials are used in different regions of the country. PVC piping is the cheapest but it can’t be used in climates where the ground freezes.

Some water companies sell insurance that covers your cost in the event of a water main break. For about $50-$100 per year, these policies will pick up most of the cost. However, water main break insurance is probably not worth the cost if the pipes are relatively new.

Choosing a Water Main Repair Company

When a water main breaks, you can’t afford to spend days looking for the right repair service. But there are some steps you can take to make sure you’re getting a reputable company and a reasonable price.

  • Get several estimates before choosing a company, unless you have an emergency situation like flooding. Throw out any bids that seem suspiciously high or low. You don’t want to hire a company that overcharges or one that cuts corners.
  • Make sure the company you choose is licensed, bonded and insured. A company that is not licensed is operating illegally, so you’d be wise not to trust them. If the company is not insured, you could be financially responsible for any accidents that occur on your property.
  • Do some background research into the company. Check the company’s track record with the Better Business Bureau. Do a Google search for customer reviews. Ask for references – and check them.
  • Hire a company that guarantees its work for at least five or 10 years. If the company won’t stand by it’s work, that’s a good indication that the quality is subpar.

Author: Ashley Smith