The typical cost to replace a water shut-off valve is $500
It typically costs between $375 and $600 to replace a water shut-off valve, but the cost can reach as high as $800 or more depending on where the valve is, what type you have, and whether you hire a professional to do it.
Most of us probably don't think about water shut-off valves very often, but they become your home’s most important item in a water emergency. Faulty water shut-off valves can create all kinds of problems, ranging from small leaks to major flooding, so you want to make sure your water valves are always in working order.
Read on to learn the cost to replace a main water shut-off valve so you can budget accordingly.
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Water Shut-Off Valve Replacement Cost Breakdown
Every project is unique, and water shut-off valves are no exception. Several factors can affect what you’ll actually pay for this project.
Water Shut-Off Valve Type
The type of water shut-off valve you repair can affect the price. Usually, fixture valves cost the most, ranging from $50 to $100, but most other types of valves are similar in price, typically costing between $10 to $50.
Water main shut-off valves are most commonly brass, which is relatively durable and inexpensive. However, other metal materials are available for a higher price. Bronze tends to be more durable than brass when exposed to high levels of chlorine, and stainless steel can last longer under pressure and high temperatures.
If you don't want to replace the water shut-off valve yourself, then you'll need to pay a plumber to do it. If you’re having any other plumbing issues, it might make sense to have a plumber tackle this task alongside those to make the trip worth it for both of you.
Plumbers typically charge $45 to $200 per hour, so your total costs will depend on how long it takes them to complete the job. A simple replacement might take an hour or two, but the job can take several hours to complete if the valve is hard to access.
The location of the main water valve in your home is one of the biggest factors in determining cost. An easy-to-access basement valve will cost much less to replace than an outdoor valve buried underground or locked in a vault. National average costs for valves in different locations are listed below.
Basement access: $180–$220
In-ground at water meter: $180–$500
Vault or box: $200–$750
Buried (shallow): $210–$420
Buried (deep): $240–$1,000
In many municipalities, you will need to obtain a permit before replacing your main shut-off valve. Expect to pay $50 to $500 for the needed permits. Your plumber should be familiar with the local permitting process. They can provide a cost estimate for the permit itself and any upgrades required as part of that process.
Cost to Replace a Water Shut-Off Valve by Type
You may not know that there are actually several different types of water shut-off valves. The type you choose can affect the cost.
Gate valves feature an internal gate that raises and lowers to control water flow. It's considered an "all-or-nothing" valve because it can only turn the water all the way on or all the way off and cannot manage how hard water flows. These valves are usually controlled with a twist-type knob or handle. Gate valves are more commonly used in industrial applications rather than residential homes, but in some cases, they control a house's main water pipe. Residential gate valves typically cost around $10 to $50.
Like gate valves, ball valves are an all-or-nothing valve, controlling only whether the water is on or off and not the flow. They feature a relatively thick middle body, which holds the ball used to control the water. Typically used as the main water shut-off valve in a home, you can usually turn them off quickly as they only require a quarter-turn of a lever handle. Ball valves typically cost around $10 to $20.
Unlike ball and gate valves, globe valves allow you to control how much water is flowing in addition to whether the water flows at all. They include an internal plunger that moves up and down to control water flow depending on how much you turn the valve's handle. Since they allow for variable control, these valves commonly control pipes leading to sprinkler systems, but you might find them attached to other pipes as well. Residential globe valves can cost anywhere from $5 to $70, but they typically fall between $10 and $25.
Fixture valves feature small twist knobs or handles. They let you turn off the water from an individual fixture, like a toilet or refrigerator, without turning off the water in other areas of the house, making them helpful for repairing individual fixtures in your home. Most houses feature a variety of fixture valves, typically ranging in cost from $50 to $150.
Needle valves were once commonly used to control water supply appliances, like your refrigerator, but many building codes no longer permit their use because they're not very dependable. If you currently have a needle valve, we recommend replacing it with a more reliable fixture valve. Needle valves typically cost $5 to $20.
Additional Costs to Consider
There are several other potential costs to consider when replacing a water shut-off valve.
The average main water valve replacement cost is $600, but that average rises to $875 if a trench is required to reach the valve. The cost continues to rise the deeper you have to dig, as trenching and dirt work often cost hundreds of dollars per excavation foot. If the replacement is being done during the winter, frozen ground and bad weather make access even more difficult.
If you are merely repairing or replacing your main water line and not the valve, an alternative to trenching is trenchless water line replacement. This method costs between $75 and $150 per linear foot. It generally involves inserting a new pipe between where the water line connects to your home and where it connects to the city line, then filling it with resin to form a stronger pipe.
If you’re having your main water shut-off valve replaced in the event of an emergency and need to have a pro come in on a weekend, on a holiday, or overnight, you may pay an additional emergency fee.
If you have insurance coverage on your water main line, you may be able to get up to $3,000 for repair or replacement from your insurance company. This can dramatically offset your cost and may even fully cover a new main water shut-off valve.
Cost to Replace a Water Shut-Off Valve Yourself
If you decide to replace your water shut-off valve yourself, you only need to pay for the cost of the valve and the tools and materials needed to install it. If the valve is in an easily accessible location, then you'll probably only need a screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pipe wrench, and plumber's tape, each of which you can usually purchase for $5 to $20.
However, if the valve is behind cabinetry, you might need additional tools and materials, such as a crowbar, hammer, and power drill. Crowbars and hammers typically cost around $5 to $15, while power drills usually cost $20 to $60 or more.
Cost of Replacing a Main Water Shut-Off Valve Yourself vs. Hiring a Pro
Expect to pay around $40 for a replacement main water shut-off valve. You’ll need to know the type of valve and plumbing you currently have. If you need to rent a trencher or excavator to reach a buried valve, you may pay more than $1,000 in rental costs. Obtain all necessary permits and take great care when digging, as you don’t want to damage the water line.
If you’re not comfortable with the job or don’t have the necessary plumbing or soldering skills, you can hire a licensed plumber near you to complete the job for about $600 on average. A pro will know the right materials for the job and ensure that they’re installed correctly. They may even offer a warranty on the materials and labor.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you decide to enlist a professional to replace your water shut-off valve, then it's best to hire a local plumber. Plumbers are experts in all things, well, plumbing, so they're best equipped to handle any complications or unforeseen challenges that might arise during the water shut-off valve replacement.
The time it takes to replace a water shut-off valve varies significantly by how accessible the valve is. If the valve is easy to access, then it typically takes an hour or two to replace. However, if it's tucked behind cabinetry or other barriers, it can take several hours since the barriers will first need to be removed then reinstalled after replacing the valve.
Main water shut-off valves last 10 to 20 years on average, though they can last longer in some cases. This depends in part on the material you choose. Brass valves are very durable, but more expensive bronze or stainless steel valves may last even longer. If purchasing a home that is at least 10 years old, you may want to replace the main water shut-off valve soon to avoid potential problems.
The most common reason why water shut-off valves fail is because of aging internal components, such as rubber washers. Other reasons for failure include corrosion from saltwater or chlorine, a buildup of sediments in the piping, or general wear and tear over an extended period of time due to regular use.
The type of valve that is best for water shut-off is the ball valve. These are considered by many plumbers to be the most reliable type of valve, and they’re the type most used for main water shutoffs. These valves only require a quarter turn of a handle to open or close fully.
A house has two main water shut-off valves. One water valve location is inside the house. If your home is connected to a municipal water supply, you’ll typically find it on the perimeter of the house on the side that is facing the street. If your home uses well water, that valve could come in from any side. The other main valve is near where your property meets the street.