The national average cost to repair pipes is $120 to $170, with hourly plumbing rates ranging from $60 to $65 per hour for standard pipe repair, or $95 per hour for more complex plumbing work like replacing sewer lines.
Any homeowner who has ever dealt with plumbing problems knows just how much of a headache it is to fix a corroded, burst, or frozen pipe—not to mention the water damage it caused. Fortunately, you don't have to deal with it on your own. A professional plumber can help with pipe repair and water damage cleanup.
Whether you need to replace a corroded drain line, or deal with a pipe bursting, a professional plumber can help. Before you hire a pipe repair specialist to help, get an estimate on your potential plumbing costs this guide.
What's in this cost guide?
- Pipe repair cost factors
- Homeowners insurance coverage
- Tips for hiring a pipe repair specialist
Repair costs for your pipes depend on the type of damage, how accessible they are, location (i.e. drain line vs. under-sink pipe), material, and the hourly rate of the contractor.
Plumbers generally charge more if the damaged pipe isn't easily accessible—like one that's exposed in your basement. If they have to tear down any drywall or dig a trench in your yard to access the pipe or sewer line, that will be an additional, and often costly, add-on expense.
The type of damage your pipes could experience is as varied as the cost to repair them. If you need to replace a water main, that will be far more expensive than a small pinhole repair.
Your plumbing problem could be a pipe that is leaking, frozen, burst, noisy, broken, or corroded. You might also be experiencing clogged or slow drains, unpleasant odors, flooding (indoor and outdoor), and water damage, which could be a sign that your plumbing problem isn't the sink, but the pipes attached to it. In some cases, you may notice a leak or drain problem indoors, but the plumbing problem actually originates outdoors, like a broken drain line.
Below are average national repair costs for different types of pipe problems:
|Fixing a burst pipe||$400 - $1,500|
|Replacing a water main line||$2,000 - $3,000 (or $500 - $1,000 if you just replace the problem area of the water main line)|
|Unfreezing frozen pipes||$200|
|Repair a pinhole leak||$150 - $240|
Most plumbers charge by the hour plus materials to repair pipes. However, some charge a flat rate for specific services—especially common ones like unfreezing frozen pipes. Some plumbers have different hourly rates for different tasks, based on the level of complexity.
For example, a Thumbtack pro and experienced plumber in Poway, California, charges $60 per hour for standard pipe repair work. A different Thumbtack pro in Carson, California, charges $65 per hour for standard repairs and $95 per hour for more complex plumbing work, such as replacing sewer lines.
Plumbers use a variety of techniques to locate leaks, including cameras, smoke, and visual inspections. The use of different types of technology can affect the cost for services as well.
Some plumbers charge additional fees for emergency plumbing services. Smaller repairs or very slow water leaks can sometimes wait until morning or the next business day, but if you've ever had a pipe burst, you know some things can't wait. An after-hours fee may be unavoidable, but it's good to ask about any additional costs when you call so you're prepared.
The two most common plumbing pipe materials are copper and crosslinked polyethylene (PEX), which is a flexible plastic.
The average price of copper pipe ranges from $2.50 to $10 per foot. In contrast, PEX pipe ranges from $0.25 to $1.50 per foot. So for a 10-foot replacement, copper pipe could cost $100 for materials, while PEX for the same replacement would cost only $15.
Copper repairs must be soldered (welded) in, which typically takes more time, thus adding to the overall price.
The pipe thickness can also impact repair costs. According to a Thumbtack pro in Poway, CA you can expect to pay $150 to repair a pinhole leak on a half-inch copper line and $240 for a 1-inch one—including labor and materials to cut out the faulty piece of pipe and solder in the new pipe. Plumbers can repair pipes with pinhole leaks by cutting out the damaged section and inserting new piping into the area.
For outdoor pipe repairs and replacements, the contractor you hire may have to dig a trench to access them. This is especially true if you need to repair or replace a water main or sewer line. A Thumbtack pro and experienced plumber based in Chicago, IL says sewer pipe replacements that require digging three feet to lay new pipe start at $1,850.
Fortunately, trenchless pipe repairs are a more cost-effective option for some homeowners. For example, a trenchless sewer line repair has an average cost of $80-250 per foot of pipe. It will also cause less damage to your yard—and spare you any additional landscaping costs on top of your plumbing expenses.
Before you hire a contractor, check with your homeowners insurance to see if it will cover the cost of a burst or broken pipe and water damage. In general, most homeowners insurance will cover the cost to repair a burst pipe if it was not your fault, as well as the water damage caused by it. If the damage is outdoors, you'll need to prove that the water damage came from the pipe and not elsewhere.
Unfortunately, if the pipe burst because of neglect on the homeowners part, like frozen pipes caused by you forgetting to leave the heat on while on a winter getaway, you may be responsible for the plumbing costs.
Before you hire a plumber for this common plumbing job, be sure to:
Ask for a free estimate. With so many variables involved in a plumbing project, it's best for the plumber to see the problem before sending estimates. Even if they know the replacement cost of the pipe, they'll need to inspect and diagnose the problem before estimating how difficult it will be to fix. You'll also need them to check to see if it's simply a pipe repair issue on your property, or a larger issue with water lines, line repair, or sewer repair happening in your area.
Make sure you hire a licensed and bonded plumber. Not only does this ensure you're hiring a qualified, experienced pro, but it can protect you in case anything goes wrong. Learn more about smart hiring tips at thumbtack.com/safety.
Ask if the work is guaranteed. In some cases, the plumbing work (as well as the parts or fixtures) is guaranteed under a warranty.
If you're ready to put an end to your your old, leaking pipes or restore your lackluster water pressure to its former glory, start looking for pipe repair specialist in your zip code on Thumbtack.