How Much Does It Cost to Repair or Replace a Water Service Line in Iowa?

by Matt Schmitz
cost guide, wsl

Iowa may not be the most frigid state in the Lower 48 (it does, however, share a border with a contender for the title) — but with an average low temperature well below freezing for the better part of half the year and an average high below freezing for multiple months, Hawkeye State homes’ underground water service lines contend with constant cold. It's fortunate for Iowa homeowners who don’t want a western branch of the mighty Mississippi flowing through their lawn that — despite the considerable pipe-protecting depth at which their lines are buried — water-line repair and replacement generally come at a substantial discount compared with what the average American pays.

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Your exterior water service line carries water from the public water main into your home. But make no mistake: Once the pipes run under your property, they’re your responsibility — so you’re likely on the hook for any repair or replacement costs.

How deep your pipes are buried deeply impacts the price you pay for these services. Water service lines are buried as deep as local building codes require — but usually, the depth is determined by the frost line in your area. And the deeper the technician must dig to get to your broken or otherwise compromised line, the higher the cost.

graphic visualization showing a cut-away of a home exposing its rooms and home systems specifically focused on the water service line

The nationwide average water service line depth is 4.58 feet, but in Iowa, these lines are buried nearly a foot and a half deeper, at 5.97 feet on average. For context, in f-f-f-freezing Minnesota, pipe depth is more than 8 feet.

Repair and replacement costs also vary depending on where you live. The national average for diagnosis is $222, for repair is $1,039 and for replacement is $3,581.

Below, you’ll find average service prices based on aggregated HomeServe data reported by our network of contractors across Iowa, which should give you an approximation of how much you’ll pay to fix your out-of-commission water service line.

Water Service Line Diagnosis: $184

Before any work can begin, the technician will need to come out and run some tests to see what’s wrong with your system. In Iowa, the fee for this is 17% higher than the national average.

Water Service Line Repair: $861

A whole host of things can cause trouble with your exterior water service line — from invading tree roots to clogs to general wear and tear. Whatever’s up with your system, the repair process will likely start with excavation to expose the pipe. Depending on your situation, the technician may need to clear a blockage, find a leak or fix the pipe — and, of course, fill the hole back in.

Water line repairs cost Iowans some 17% less than the Americans at large.

Water Service Line Replace: $3,021

Small sections of leaky or broken pipe can be repaired, but massive clogs or fully compromised pipes might necessitate a full replacement. Water service line replacements cost Iowa homeowners some 16% less than the average American.

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Video produced and directed by Eric Rossi: