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Question DetailsAsked on 9/22/2015

what is the labor cost for replacing a water meter and installing a ball valve shut off?

the old valve for the main water line (which was installed after the meter leaking badly) and the meter is under the sink the pipes (3/4) appear to be very weak. So I would like to relocate meter to a closet about 3 feet away, have a ball vale installed before the meter and replace the meter. I need to find out the labor cost.

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Voted Best Answer

NOT including any carpentry or drywall or painting to repair access openings, I would say about $150-250 plumber labor in normal labor cost areas - potentially twice or more in a very few very high cost urban areas. This assumes decent access - if everything has to be done on his back in cramped quarters, more like 50-100% more possibly.

You said labor only, but FYI I would say about $25-40 ball valve (get a good brass one so it does not fail soon, and be sure to exercise it every 6-12 months - more often in hard or encrusting water conditions), $150-250 meter unless utility requires a specific brand and model in which case $0 (if they provide free) to $500 (if a top of the line digital meter), and about $50 miscellaneous parts.

I would check with the utility first - usually the meter has to be readily accessible and located outdoors or at the water line entry point to the house, so they may or may not buy off on this relocation or may re1uire it be installed in the "official"location if being relocated, or may require outside (in warm climate areas) valve/meter box for about an additional $100-150 installed.

May also be an up to about $150 utility or government agency inspection and approval fee to approve the meter in some areas, and also possibly up to a $150 or so curb stop turnoff / turnon charge because the main water supply has to be shut off by the utility to put in the new shutoff valve, so can get pricey by the time all is said and done.

One other thing I have seen a lot which did not use to be a problem - plumbers tying dislike metals to each other without stubout piping or dielectric couplings, so you get early corrosion failure at the joint. Done right, should be at least a foot of matching metal pipe on each side of the valve and meter then a dielectric coupling to isolate the dissimilar metals from each other. Reason for the stubout - to keep corrosion from the valve and meter and isolate it to the cheaper to fix and non-mechanical pipe.

One last thought - regardless of where the meter is, I would put a shutoff valve as close tothe entry point into the house as possible to allow shutoff in case of a waterline leak in the house between the entry point and the meter - even if it means one there plus one at the meter because the utility mandates one within so many feet of the meter - even in that case (3 feet away) a second valve would only cost $20-40 more but could save thousands in water damage in the event of a break near the entry point. Of course, in warm climates with no or shallow frost penetration (or put in an insulated box at the foundation entry with heat from inside the house), I prefer a positive shallow shutoff OUTSIDE the house - one you don't have to wait for the utility to come to shut off.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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