Contents (Click To Jump)
- 1 What Does It Mean to Move a Plumbing Pipe?
- 2 What Are The Different Types of Pipes That Can Be Moved?
- 3 How Much Does Moving a Pipe Cost?
- 4 What Do You Need To Know About Moving Pipes?
- 5 When Should You Hire A Professional To Move a Pipe?
- 6 What Should You Look For In A Pipe Relocation Specialist?
What Does It Mean to Move a Plumbing Pipe?
Your home has plumbing lines running behind the walls that bring water from your water supply, through the water main, and to all of the plumbing fixtures and appliances in your home that use water.
Each fixture that calls for water also has a drain pipe for routing used water to your sewer line for safe disposal. Your water heater – and boiler, depending on your heating type – also uses copper pipes to move hot water around your home as needed.
Water lines are generally made of copper, and drain lines are typically PVC. These materials are rigid, so any fixture that needs to be moved, even by only a few inches, typically requires the piping to be moved as well.
This is what is meant by “moving a pipe,” which consists of a plumber exposing the existing piping, removing any unnecessary materials, and using new pipe material to plumb the line to the correct area.
Most homeowners need their pipes moved if they are remodeling their homes or adding to the existing structure.
Bathroom and kitchen remodels that require reorganization or restructuring may call for the sink, faucet, fridge, washing machine, shower, or toilet in a different part of the room. If that’s the case, both the water lines and the drain lines would need to be rerouted behind the walls.
You may also need to move heating lines during renovations or if you’re adding an extension or new living area to your home. If you have baseboard heat, the heating lines typically run around the perimeter of your house in the baseboards.
They will need to be cut and routed around the new border in the case of an extension, or new lines may need to be installed and connected to existing heating pipes.
What Are The Different Types of Pipes That Can Be Moved?
Your home has several different kinds of plumbing lines that can be relocated. We’ll discuss each of these pipes below.
Domestic Water Line
The domestic water lines in your home bring water from the water main to all of the fixtures and appliances that use water throughout your house. For health and safety reasons, these are typically copper or PEX material, and they can be moved to most areas of your home by a professional plumber without too much difficulty. These lines generally feed supply lines that make connecting your fixtures straightforward.
Heating lines are also usually made of copper, and they connect your water heater or boiler to your fixtures. If you have baseboard heat, they also carry hot water through your baseboards and return the cooled water to your boiler.
Heating lines are usually just as straightforward for a plumber to move as a domestic water line. However, if they are used for baseboard heat, the system is sealed and needs to be adequately drained and refilled before and after the pipe relocation.
Most indoor fixtures that call for water also need a means of disposing of the water once it has been used for washing or another purpose. The drainpipe, which is usually PVC, is how the used water – called gray water – is disposed of.
Drainpipes need to be routed to your sewer line eventually, so they must be set up with appropriate plumbing traps to prevent sewer gases from entering your home. However, provided you have the right materials and tools and install the appropriate traps, moving drain lines is relatively safe and straightforward.
Your sewer line carries gray water and black water – which is the waste from toilets – out of your home and to your public sewer system, septic tank, or cesspool. These lines are made of iron or steel, so they’re challenging to move.
More importantly, they can be very dangerous to relocate, so they should only be moved by a professional plumber.
Gas lines connect your gas appliances and your boiler and water heater to the natural gas supply outside your home or to propane tanks if you run appliances with stored gas. You should never move gas lines yourself, as mistakes can cost you your home and even your life.
How Much Does Moving a Pipe Cost?
Your total cost for moving a plumbing line will depend primarily on the type of pipe and how far you want to move it.
We’ll discuss the pricing for moving different lines below, but keep in mind that a further relocation of any type will increase your project cost significantly, as each linear foot of piping adds labor and material cost to the job. Below are some rough estimates of how much it costs to move different types of plumbing lines based on national averages.
Domestic Water Lines
- Average Cost: $700
- Typical Range: $600–$900*
*This is an estimate based on moving a single water line. Including more than one line or moving your line an exceptional distance will increase your costs.
- Average Cost: $700
- Typical Range: $500–$1,000
- Average Cost: $400
- Typical Range: $150–$800
- Average Cost: $3,250
- Typical Range: $2,500–$4,500
- Average Cost: $900
- Typical Range: $750-$1,100
Other Cost Factors To Consider
If your plumbing job includes adding a fixture, your price will be a bit higher. For example, a sink installation costs about an additional $400 over the cost of moving the lines to the proper place. You can expect to add about $250 more for a toilet installation once the pipes are plumbed appropriately.
Additional costs may apply if your bathroom or kitchen is finished, as your plumbing contractor will have limited access to the piping.
Keep in mind that none of these plumbing costs include replacing construction material like drywall or studs that need to be removed during the relocation, so plan to add that cost to your total.
What Do You Need To Know About Moving Pipes?
Understanding how the process of moving pipes can help you decide where to move fixtures during a kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom remodel and whether or not you can tackle the pipe moving as a DIY project.
Where Should Pipes Be Moved?
Generally speaking, your kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom plumbing pipes can be relocated anywhere you want them. You won’t be limited in the placement of your fixtures if you’re planning a remodel, but you may be limited by the price of moving the pipes.
The further you have a plumber move the lines in your home, the more expensive it will be.
For example, If you extend a kitchen and want to relocate the sink several feet from its original position, the plumber will need to access the water lines running to the sink, cut them, and route new plumbing to the desired location.
A further displacement means more materials and labor costs, which will, of course, drive up the total price.
You should also consider where in relation to your main sewer line your new fixture will be, as the drainpipe leading from the sink, shower, or appliance will need to be routed to it. Installing a sink directly above your sewage line will allow for an easy tie-in of the drain.
A reputable plumber will be able to inspect your home and give you options for placement and pricing for all pipes that you’re looking to move to a new location.
What Kind of Pipes Can Be Moved?
A plumber can move domestic water lines, heating lines, drainpipes, and even water mains and gas lines. If price is no issue, any part of your heating or plumbing system can be relocated anywhere in your home, provided the placement complies with your local building codes.
Your plumber should be well-versed in building code and requirements, so you shouldn’t have to worry about remaining in compliance yourself.
Can You Move the Pipes Yourself?
Many handy homeowners and DIYers can do some very minor pipe relocation, while other pipes are significantly more dangerous and problematic. More challenging relocation projects should be left to the professionals.
If you’re planning on installing a new sink and don’t need to relocate supply lines, you can likely tackle moving the drain lines yourself. The drains for sinks are typically PVC pipe, which is easy to cut and seal. Different couplings and attachments are available at most home improvement stores, and they’re affordable enough where making an error won’t be too costly.
We strongly recommend that you leave any work with copper plumbing lines to a professional plumbing company. Copper is challenging to work with and requires a specific soldering process, also called “sweating.”
It’s also very expensive, so even minor mistakes can end up increasing your total installation cost above what a plumber would charge.
Moving gas lines or sewage lines should always be left to a skilled plumber. Mistakes with either of the pipe relocations can cause serious injury, death, and sickness, not to mention immense and very costly property damage.
Why Is Moving Pipes Difficult?
Moving your plumbing pipes is challenging for several reasons, one of the most significant of which is the limited access you’ll likely have to the pipes.
Most domestic and heating lines run behind your walls or through tight spaces, so they typically require opening up a wall and maneuvering tools and materials in small areas. Professional plumbers are skilled and accustomed to working in these conditions, but DIYers will likely find it very challenging.
Relocating water lines for fixtures, appliances, or heating equipment is also tricky because they’re full and under water pressure at any given time. You need to understand exactly how to drain the lines safely and refill them after the work is completed before you can carry out the relocation process without damaging your home.
The type of pipe you’re moving can also contribute to the difficulty involved with the project. PVC pipes are relatively easy to work with; they require little skill and inexpensive equipment to cut and reassemble.
On the other hand, copper lines that run through your walls are not only expensive, but they require skills and tools that most DIYers don’t possess.
Gas lines and sewage lines are usually the most complex pipes to move because of how dangerous they can be. Your gas supply needs to be shut off entirely before relocating a gas pipe, and the work must be done extremely carefully to ensure your home isn’t prone to a gas leak.
Gas leaks can easily cause explosions, personal injury, loss of life, and large-scale property damage, so the work needs to be done professionally and approved by a licensed plumber.
Sewage lines are made of cast iron or steel, so they’re very large, heavy, and difficult to cut. They’re also full of dangerous materials that need to be handled carefully so as not to expose your home to a biohazard, foul odors, and explosive sewer gases.
When Should You Hire A Professional To Move a Pipe?
If you’re a handy DIYer, you’ll likely feel comfortable moving drain lines running from your appliances and fixtures.
As long as you do research beforehand and make sure you have a P-trap or S-trap installed correctly, moving these lines is relatively safe and straightforward.
If you’re an experienced DIYer and are comfortable working with copper and the appropriate tools in small spaces, you could also move domestic lines or heating lines.
However, we don’t recommend this as mistakes can lead to severe water damage and issues with your furnace or water heater. Moving water lines is best left to professional plumbers.
We very strongly recommend that you never attempt to move any sewer line or gas line (which is often illegal for unlicensed professionals in most municipalities).
An experienced and highly-trained plumber can relocate these pipes safely, but DIYers are likely to make mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars, expose you and your family to dangerous gases, and cause a loss of property or even a loss of life.
The price you’ll pay a plumber to move these lines is well worth the peace of mind they’ll provide!
What Should You Look For In A Pipe Relocation Specialist?
When you’re searching for a reputable plumber who specializes in moving plumbing pipes, you should first aim to hire someone with experience and plumbing certification.
A plumber with years on the job and the appropriate licensing in your municipality is far more likely to do reliable plumbing work. A master plumber may be more costly, but their work is often worth the investment.
You should also consider a plumber who offers a flat rate rather than an hourly rate. A flat rate provided after an inspection of the work area suggests that the plumber understands the job, knows what to expect, and can deliver results with which you’ll be pleased.
It will also be nice to know exactly what you’ll spend before committing to the plumbing service.
Finally, we recommend choosing a plumber who offers a satisfaction guarantee. This promise of good work is an excellent sign that you’re selecting someone who aims to please and will take their time to do the plumbing repair correctly the first time around.