Professional plumbers provide pipe repairs for homes, multiunit buildings, businesses or offices, and commercial spaces. Common pipe problems include leaks, frozen pipes, burst pipes, noisy pipes, clogged drains, slow drains, unpleasant odors and flooding. These issues can affect toilets, sinks, garbage disposals, showers or bathtubs, dishwashers, refrigerators, or washing machines. The two most common plumbing pipe materials are copper and crosslinked polyethylene (PEX), which is a flexible plastic. Repairs may be minor or may be an emergency or flooding situation. Several factors affect the cost of plumbing pipe repair.
Most pipe repair professionals charge by the hour plus materials, but some charge a flat rate for specific services. Pipe repair work involves many variables. That’s why many pros work on an hourly basis—each job is wildly different. Some plumbers have different hourly rates for different tasks, based on the level of complexity. A.C.E. Plumbing in Poway, California, charges $60 for pipe repair work. Accurate Service Co. in Carson, California, charges $65 per hour for standard pipe repair work and $95 per hour for plumbing pipe work, such as replacing sewer lines.
Plumbers can repair pipes with pinhole leaks by cutting out the damaged section and inserting new pipe into the area. Pros use a variety of techniques to locate pinhole leaks, including cameras, smoke and more. The use of different types of technology can affect the cost for services as well. Accurate Service Co. has a starting price of $130 for labor (not materials) to repair a pinhole leak on a half-inch copper line. A.C.E. Plumbing has a starting price of $150 to repair a pinhole leak on a half-inch copper line and $240 for a 1-inch copper line—including labor and materials to cut out the faulty piece of pipe and solder in the new pipe.
Many plumbers offer free estimates. With so many variables involved in quoting a project, it’s best for the professionals to see the problem before setting a price.
Some plumbers charge additional fees or a higher hourly rate for after-hours, weekend or emergency jobs.
Type of pipe
Copper is significantly more expensive than PEX, which will affect the total cost of a project. For minor repairs requiring only a short length of replacement pipe, the material cost will not be significant; however, for more extensive repairs and replacement, the material used will have a big affect on the overall cost. For example, the average price of copper plumbing pipe ranges from $2.50 to $10 per foot. In contrast, PEX pipe ranges from 25 cents 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.
The type of material used can also affect the cost of labor. Copper repairs must be soldered (welded) in, which typically takes more time, thus adding to the overall price. Some people prefer copper for health reasons, and it is better suited for outdoor applications.
Plumbers located in areas with a higher cost of living tend to charge higher rates for pipe repair services than those living in more rural areas or locations with more plumbing competition.