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How do you fix a water line?

Updated: Apr 15

Is a broken water main covered by homeowners insurance? Water is a natural commodity that we all need to be careful and conserve, and especially in desert areas like California. So when there is a busted or leaking water line, repairing it as soon as possible is an absolute must. Because not only are we wasting water but depending on where the break or leak is located, it can be doing a lot of damage too. Any time a homeowner has a water line burst, after the initial panic and getting the water turned off, their next concern is what will the insurance pay for, if any. Not be the bearer of bad news but, water line breaks are not covered under most homeowner’s insurance policies. There are some exceptions though. For example, if the main water line from the meter to your home is broken by digging in your yard, the repair and cleanup could be covered. What isn’t covered is water line repairs made for old water lines, poor installation of original water lines, or basic wear and tear of water lines. Other factors that can cause breaks that need water line repair that isn’t covered by homeowner’s insurance are:

  • Frequent changes in ground temperature

  • Shifting soil

  • Pest damage

  • Tree root damage

Homeowners insurance does not cover any main water line repair that is on the city’s side of the meter, nor should you be responsible for repairs or clean upon the city side. If a water line leak on their side causes any damage to your property, that is an issue for you and city to determine, not your insurance company.


How much does it cost to repair a broken water line?

The average cost of a home water line repair is $870 at an hourly rate between $75 to $125 per hour. It can depend on whether the situation needs new water lines or new water line fittings, the location of the break and any complications of getting to the problem. The cost to repair the water line to house can be as little as $300 and as high as $1500.00.

When the water line repair is for underground pipes, in addition to the hourly cost, there is usually a cost for the lines per linear foot. This can range from $100 per linear foot to $200 per linear foot. This becomes more expensive because the ground has to be excavated for the plumber to reach the pipeline. For complete underground water line repair, the cost can start around $500 and reach $2,500 or more.


How much does it cost to replace a main water line?

For a main water line repair from the meter to your home, this will be your responsibility. If the water line repair is because of corroded water pipes, you could have repair costs as little as $600 and as much as $5,000.

The corroded water line will need to be cut out and new water line installed. Most times, the plumber will recommend and need to replace the entire line of water pipe. Water lines become corroded because of acidic or resistive soil. Often a plumber will replace that aggressive soil around the pipe with different dirt to prevent that from happening again too soon.


What is the best pipe to use for plumbing?

What type of piping is best will depend on what type of water line repair or plumbing project you’re working. Here, we offer some details about popular type of pipe and what they are typically used for:

PVC Pipe: The most common in residential plumbing mainly because it is affordable. There are various fittings and various sizes of pipes, and it doesn’t corrode or ruse. PVC water line repairs are only needed if they become damaged. No welding is necessary to install, PVC pipes are glued together.

The typical uses for PVC are:

  • Sink toilet, tub drain lines

  • Vent stacks

  • Main water line to the house

  • High-pressure applications

CPVC Pipe: Extra chlorine is added to PVC pipe to create this material for durability. It is good for all the same uses listed above and for hot water use too. This is a good replacement for copper water line repairs are needed and offers fire resistance. In addition to those things listed above, CPVC is used for other applications, including:

  • Deliver hot water

  • Deliver drinking water

  • Hot water drain

  • Waste and water disposal

Copper Pipe: Used as a standard since the 60s for home plumbing because of the durability and long life it offers. Corrosion and heat resistant, doesn’t degrade over time, making it safe for drinking water. Today, copper piping is used for the following:

  • Cold and hot drinking water

  • HVAC refrigerant lines

  • Underground water service lines

PEX Pipe: A “new” type of plumbing pipe that has taken the home plumbing industry by storm. No glue required for installation, instead connected by compression fittings. A flexible pipe that contracts and expands with the temperature, flexible to fit around corners. Popular for use in fitting older homes, remodels, and areas of low ventilation.

How long do water lines last? Water lines are study and withstand daily use, but like anything else in your home, they age and wear out. A home built on or before 1950 will likely need multiple water line repairs or water line replacement. The following are the estimated lifespan of water lines:

  • Brass – Forty to seventy years

  • Copper – Fifty years

  • Galvanized steel – Twenty to fifty years

  • Cast iron – Seventy to one hundred years

  • PVC – indefinite

  • Lead – One hundred years


To understand your plumbing, you need to understand the difference between water line vs sewer line. These are two crucial piece, with one bringing in the fresh water and one draining the wastewater out.

The water main to your home is located at the water meter and is a diameter between half-inch to 1-1/2” . The sewer line is the connection between the drains in your home and the main sewer drain, located below your lawn measuring between 4” and 6” diameter. Call 707-446-1800 today for your water line repair needs in Vacaville, CA.

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