Plumbing leaks can cause substantial damage to your home’s structure and finishes, and can take a toll on your water bill. Hiring a qualified pro to make prompt repairs can help you avoid costly problems, though the location and nature of leaks will affect the cost of the job. Consider the difficulty of the work and the accessibility of the repair area when planning the job and comparing estimates from local plumbers.
Plumbing Leaks at Homes and Businesses
Mending leaks is essential at both residential and commercial locations, though the difficulty of the job may vary with building sizes and styles. When leaks originate with plumbing systems or fixtures in a single-family home, repairs are generally uncomplicated. Leaks within an apartment unit or business space are handled in much the same way as those in houses, but repairing systemic plumbing problems can be more complicated in multi-unit buildings. The variables of leak repairs in commercial buildings can lead to repair bills that are 50 percent higher than for similar repairs at an average home.
Finding Plumbing Leaks
Though the evidence of a leak is often visible, its source may be difficult to track down. Water from plumbing leaks may run and drip some distance from the problem area. When the source of a leak is visible, your plumber can get right to work, and may be able to get the job done within a couple of hours. When leaks must first be located, the added time spent finding and accessing the repair site may increase the cost of the job. Hourly rates typically range from $50 to $150 for licensed plumbers, so the cost of detective work can add up fast. Also, the cost of repairing damage done to flooring, ceilings, and drywall in the course of locating a leak is typically not included in the cost of the plumbing repair, and could add several hundred dollars to the bottom line.
Indoor Plumbing Leaks
The evidence of indoor leaks often appears as staining, dripping, or puddles, and though the source may be clear, accessing the repair site in a finished home can be complicated and time-consuming. The demands of the job can range from crawling under a sink to opening a ceiling, with the skills and tools needed varying accordingly. Though the severity and type of leak will directly affect the cost of your project, it could cost $300 or more to fix a leak in an attic or crawlspace, or behind a finished wall, compared to $150 or less to make a similar repair in an easily accessed basement or cabinet.
Outdoor Plumbing Leaks
Outdoor leaks can be difficult to detect, but often reduce water pressure and create puddles or soft areas in a yard. Outdoor spigots, water and sewer lines, and sprinkler or irrigation systems can be damaged by freezing, heaving, misuse, and impact. The difficulty of finding and repairing outdoor leaks varies with the nature of the leak and the system involved, but repair costs are typically higher when the problem is underground. Related repairs to lawns, driveways, and walks will increase total costs, while above ground repairs are usually straightforward and carry costs similar to easily accessed repairs inside the home.
|$85 - $200||$150 - $600||$625 - $1,300|
The location and nature of a plumbing leak are important factors in the cost of repairs. In most cases, the cost of labor far exceeds the costs of replacement parts, so charges can add up fast if the job is a tricky one.
A Simple Sink Solution: $85 - $200
- • Accessibility: A leaky drain in a kitchen sink can be accessed easily from the cabinet below, making this a fairly quick job.
- • Scope of the Job: Replacing PVC drain and trap parts is a routine job for a plumber that doesn’t require any special tools or equipment.
- • Related Repairs: When handled promptly, a leak like this doesn’t usually cause any damage to cabinetry or flooring.
A Little Heavy Lifting: $150 - $600
- • Accessibility: Leaking from under a toilet is often due to a faulty wax ring. Replacing one is pretty straightforward, but it can be a tricky job if there are tight quarters in the bathroom.
- • Scope of the Job: In order to replace the wax ring or the flange that secures the toilet to the drain, a plumber must drain and remove the toilet, install new parts, and reinstall the toilet. The job is uncomplicated, but could take a few hours, depending on the origin of the leak.
- • Related Repairs: If the leak was caught before any damage occurred to the flooring or subfloor, there won’t be any extra repair costs. If you need to call in a carpenter, handyman, or flooring pro to make repairs, it could cost an additional $200 or more to fix up the floor, depending on the severity of the damage.
A Hidden Problem: $625 - $1,300
- • Accessibility: A mystery leak from the ceiling beneath a second-floor shower can be a tricky problem to fix. In addition to cutting out drywall to find the source of the leak, working overhead is more challenging than making repairs from the floor.
- • Scope of the Job: In order to track down the source of stray water, access holes may be needed in the ceiling below the drain and in the wall behind the shower valve. Once the problem is located, repairs to the supply or drain lines can be made.
- • Related Repairs: Leaks like this typically damage the ceiling below. Related drywall repairs and painting may cost $200 to $600, and having an access panel built to simplify future repairs could add another $200 to $300 to the bottom line.
Plumbing Leak Repair Services
The nature of your plumbing leak will help determine the skills and time required for the repair project. The tools and materials needed and the ease with which your pro can access the repair site are common influences on the cost of the job, along with the local cost of labor. Keep in mind that the characteristics of your leak repair project will affect its cost, and that related repairs to your home or yard may increase the overall scope of the job.