When Should I Replace My Water Line to My Michigan House?

Is it time to replace your water lines?

Wondering when you should replace your home’s water line? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Water mains have a different lifespan depending on various factors, like the material of the line and the minerals in the area’s water.

The best way to determine whether or not your water line needs replacement is to have a professional assess your main water line and provide you with an expert opinion.

However, we can tell you that you should consider replacing your main water line if:

  • It contains lead or galvanized steel
  • It’s corroded or damaged in multiple places
  • It’s 40+ years old
  • Repairing it will cost 50% (or more) than replacing it

In the blog below, we’ll walk through each of these scenarios and provide you with a better idea of what you should be looking for and how urgently you should consider replacing your water line.

Note: Michigan homeowners are only responsible for replacing the portion of the main water line on their property (water meter to the turn-on/turn-off valve).

If you think your service line may need replacement, you can reach out to your utility company or use this online tool to check if your service line contains lead.


If you want a professional plumber to assess your water line for replacement and provide you with expert recommendations, reach out to Thornton & Grooms! We have thousands of 5-star reviews for our plumbing services. Call us today at (248) 644-7810.

Schedule today

Galvanized steel water lines are health hazards.

Your Water Line Contains Galvanized Steel or Lead.

Many water mains built before the 1970s use either galvanized steel or lead, which are both health hazards. If you have a water line made out of either of these materials, you should replace it immediately.

Replace Galvanized Steel Lines

Galvanized steel piping has a zinc coating that could leak lead into your water. According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, galvanized piping manufactured before 2014 contains 0.5% to 1.4% lead. The Michigan Plumbing Code requires any galvanized steel piping after 2014 to limit lead amounts to 0.25% or less by weight.

If you have a water main line made out of galvanized steel, there could be traces of lead in your water, and you should call an expert plumber to replace your water main line ASAP.

Replace Lead Piping

In some areas of Michigan, such as Detroit, many homes built before 1945 had lead service lines installed to deliver water to homes. If you have a home built in the 1940s, you should check your service lines for lead and replace them ASAP if they contain any. To determine if you have lead service lines, you can use this tool.

As we mentioned above, service lines are tricky and may partially be the homeowner’s responsibility and partially be the responsibility of the city or utility. In some cases, the city or utility may cover the cost of the entire service line replacement. For example, the DWSD (Detroit Water & Sewerage Department) may identify and replace lead service lines in areas where they are already replacing a water main.

Your Water Line Is Corroded or Damaged.

If your water line is leaking in multiple places, it’s usually a good indicator that it has corrosion or damage on a large scale. For example, water lines made from a metal like copper tend to start breaking down over time due to the corrosive minerals found in water and need replacement.

While you could replace part of the line, our recommendation would be to have a professional assess the corrosion or damage to your water line and advise you on whether a repair or a complete replacement is the best choice for your plumbing needs and budget.

Your Water Line Is 40+ Years Old.

As we mentioned above, water lines wear out, corrode, or simply need updating to safer and more durable materials over time. If your water line is 40+ years old, you should have a professional examine it and provide you with recommendations on the next steps.

Even if you don’t need to replace your water line immediately, a qualified plumber will let you know if you should start thinking about replacing your line, giving you time to prepare and budget for the replacement.

Repairing Your Water Line Costs 50% (or More) Than Replacing It.

If your water line is leaking or has damage, you should obtain quotes for repairing and replacing it. When the cost of a repair is 50% or more of the cost of replacing the entire line, we recommend replacing it as it’ll be more cost effective than continually repairing it. Generally speaking, if your water line needs extensive repairs, it’s old and will need even more repairs in the future.

Need To Replace Your Water Line? Contact Thornton & Grooms!

Thornton & Grooms plumbers are ready to replace your water line to restore comfort to your home.

Whether you think you may need to replace your water line or know your line needs replacement ASAP, Thornton & Grooms is here to help. We’ve committed to putting people ahead of profits and do so by hiring highly qualified plumbers and providing substantial guarantees that protect our customers. When you hire us for a water line repair or replacement, you know we’ll put your interests first.

Call us today at (248) 644-7810 and see why we have thousands of 5-star customer reviews.

Schedule today

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