WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT POLYBUTYLENE PLUMBING
Polybutylene is a gray plastic water supply line pipe that was developed in the 1970’s and promoted as the “pipe of the future”. At the time, the perceived advantages of poly were the low cost over copper and the ease of installation. But in the 1980’s structures with poly started reporting leaks. And when poly pipes were replaced, it was noticed that the interior walls of the pipe and fittings were breaking down and flaking apart.
THE PROBLEM WITH POLY:
Poly systems may fail without warning, damaging properties and personal belongings, and disrupting lives. Factors that may contribute to poly’s failure may include: chemicals in our water supply, such as chlorine, that slowly destroy the structural integrity of poly pipes and fittings; the age of the pipe – the older the pipe, the more likely a problem will occur, and faulty installation.
CHECK YOUR PIPES:
Inside your home – Any gray plastic pipe could be poly. Look at pipes near the water heater. See what kind of pipe runs across the ceiling in an unfinished basement. Check the pipe that comes out of walls to feed sinks and toilets. Many properties have a combination of copper and poly pipes.
Your underground Water Main – Underground poly pipes can be blue, black or gray. They are found entering properties through the basement wall or floor, concrete slab, or coming up through a crawlspace. They most often enter properties near the water heater. Your main shutoff valve is attached to the end of the outside water main.
“In some cases, homeowners are finding that homeowners insurance companies will either cancel their coverage when extensive damage is caused by polybutylene or refuse coverage to homes piped with PB” –Arizona Water Resource, the University of Arizona
SO YOU HAVE POLY PIPES. NOW WHAT?
Even if you know you have poly pipes, you still can’t tell what condition they’re in just by looking at or squeezing them because the problems occur on the inside of the pipes. Failures may occur in systems with plastic fittings, metal fittings and manifold type.
You must prioritize your home maintenance requirements and budget accordingly. Unlike most other maintenance issues, delayed replacement of poly may have substantial consequences. Due to the many documented cases of leaks, plumbing experts recommend replacement of poly pipes.
You should also be aware that you may face higher insurance premiums, limited coverage, or may even be denied coverage. In addition, homes with poly often take longer to sell, and sell for less.
REPLACEMENT OF POLY PIPES:
Replacement entails abandoning all poly pipes and installing a new system. You should hire a company that specializes in poly replacement, not just plumbing in general. A suitable company will offer a turnkey job, and the entire process including drywall and paint repair should take about five days. But importantly, confirm that the company is licensed properly.
CALL APPALACHIAN CONTRACTING TODAY FOR A FREE INSPECTION AND ESTIMATE FOR REPLACING POLY PIPES IN YOUR HOME 706-864-8777 OR 706-864-5750