Plumbing Repair Cost Guide

Most homeowners dread plumbing because when issues arise it’s not something they can fix themselves. The repairs usually require a plumber, and most people assume it will be expensive.

While plumbing repair cost isn’t the cheapest, there are a few ways you can save money. Here’s everything you need to know.

What is the Average Cost of Plumbing Repairs?

Plumbing repair costs can be all over the place, depending on the issue’s complexity. The average plumbing issue costs $100 – $4,000. The sooner you have an issue looked at and fixed, the cheaper the repair.

For example, toilet repair might cost $100 – $300, but a new toilet installation could cost as much as $300 – $800. So having the toilet looked at early might save it, saving you money.

Other common plumbing costs include:

  • Clogged drain – $100 – $500
  • Leaking pipes  – $150 – $450
  • Water heater installation – $800 – $1,800
  • Burst pipes – $1,000 – $3,000
  • Garbage disposal repair – $100 – $300

As you can see, plumbing repair costs can be all over the place, but they can be reasonable.

What do Most Plumbers Charge per Hour?

Most plumbers charge by the hour, especially if they have to do a repair versus just an inspection. On average, plumbers charge $45 – $200 an hour, depending on the job’s complexity.

What Affects Plumbing Repair Cost?

Even the same job in two different houses can have different costs because of the many factors involved, including the following.

1. Timing

If your plumbing issue occurs after regular business hours and cannot wait until the next day, you’ll likely pay higher per hour rates or an emergency fee. Some plumbers charge a flat after-hours fee, and others inflate their hourly rate.

If your issue can wait until the morning, it could save you hundreds of dollars.

2. Job Complexity

Jobs that take longer obviously cost more. The more labor required, the more the job will cost.

In addition, the complexity of the job itself could increase the cost. For example, if you need the plumbing rerouted, you’ll likely pay higher hourly rates because it entails a lot of planning and labor.

On the other hand, something like a clogged drain is simple and won’t have excess charges.

3. The Plumber’s Experience

The more experience a plumber has, the higher the hourly rate he’ll charge. This can often be worth it, especially if you have a complex issue.

However, if you’re dealing with something minor and don’t mind a journeyman or relatively new plumber handling the issue, you could save money on the hourly rate. The average journeyman charges $50 – $100 an hour versus the more than $200 an hour experienced plumbers charge.

4. Materials

If the plumber must supply the materials, it will increase the cost. You’ll pay retail for parts and the labor to install them. But, of course, if you’re installing appliances or other items you’ve purchased, you’ll save on the materials cost and can shop around to get the best deal.

5. Location

Where you live also plays a role in the plumbing repair cost. For example, if your home is in a remote area, you may pay more for travel fees. Also, if you live in an area where plumbers are in high demand, you may pay higher fees due to the higher demand.

6. Restoration Costs

If your water leak caused water damage throughout the house, you might also need water damage restoration. While that’s not a plumber’s job, it will increase the total cost of the job to get your house back into working order. Depending on the depth of the damage, water restoration can cost as much as $5,000.

Should You DIY Plumbing Projects to Save Money?

At this point, you might think you’ll just do the plumbing yourself and save money on labor.

It sounds good, right?

While you might save money, you should only consider DIY projects for things you know you can do, like running the snake through a drain or fixing a leaky faucet. Any major plumbing issues, such as leaking or burst pipes, installing a toilet, or redoing the plumbing, should be left to the professionals.

Here’s why.

If you don’t have the experience and knowledge to handle the plumbing yourself, you could cause much larger issues. If you cause bigger issues, you’ll need a plumber to come out after the fact, and the cost will likely increase because he then has to undo the mess you made.

In addition, plumbing is one of the most important functions in your home. If it’s not done right, you could cause damage in other areas of your home, such as water stains, mold growth, and other structural damage.

Signs you May Need a Professional Plumber

Unless you have a clogged drain or a simple leaking faucet, you should consider a professional plumber. But if you notice any of these signs, a professional plumber is essential:

  • Water stains on interior walls or water leaks in the basement
  • Dripping sounds from your toilet or sinks
  • Gas or sewer smell
  • Noisy pipes
  • Water pressure issues
  • Smelly water

What are the Most Important Plumbing Repairs?

Plumbing problems happen in every home, and here are some of the most common issues:

  • Leaking faucets
  • Leaking pipes
  • Toilets that won’t stop running
  • Clogged drains
  • Water heater installation (water heater went out)
  • Low water pressure

You can find more detail on common plumbing problems here.

How can I Save Money on Plumbing Repairs?

Plumbing repairs can be costly, but there are ways to save money.

  • Have your plumbing inspected – Once a year or however often you feel comfortable with, have your plumbing inspected. Plumbers can detect leaks and other issues when they are minor, allowing the repairs to be done before the issue gets out of hand and becomes more expensive.
  • Shop around for plumbers – Don’t take the first plumber you find. Instead, shop around to find the most affordable one in your area. Ask what the services include, such as travel fees, diagnostics, and repairs. As you search, keep in mind the best questions to ask a plumber.
  • Ask for a guarantee – Plumbers that stand behind their work should offer a guarantee that protects at least the workmanship. This way, if you have a problem in the near future, the same plumber can come back and fix the issue.
  • Wait until regular business hours – It’s not always possible, but if you can hold off for regular business hours, you’ll avoid the emergency cost of hiring a plumber.


How much does it cost to install a toilet?

The cost to install a toilet varies based on location and the complexity of the installation. However, the average cost is usually $400 – $800, and that’s just to install the toilet. Of course, that doesn’t include the cost of buying the toilet too.

What is the life expectancy of plumbing?

The life expectancy of plumbing varies based on the materials. For example, PVC pipes last 20 – 40 years, but galvanized steel pipes can last as long as 80 – 100 years.

How do you shop around for a plumber?

When you have information for various plumbers, call them and ask questions about the job you have for them. Ask about costs, what’s included, and their timeline. Next, ask them for referrals and talk to the referrals to see what they think of the work. Sometimes not basing the job only on the cost but on the quality of the job can be best.

Final Thoughts

Understanding plumbing repair cost and what it entails is important. Every house has plumbing, and it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll need leaky pipes fixed, toilets installed, and drains unclogged. Knowing how to shop around for a plumber and get the best deal is important to save the most money.