The plumbing system is a vital component of any home, ensuring the reliable supply of water. However, if your water supply pipes are made from polybutylene material, it's crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with this material. Polybutylene pipes were once widely used in residential plumbing but have since been found to be prone to failures, leading to water damage and structural issues. In this blog post, we will explore the risks associated with polybutylene pipes and the importance of having them replaced by a qualified plumber.
Polybutylene pipes were manufactured from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s and were initially considered a cost-effective alternative to traditional copper or PVC pipes. These gray or blue plastic pipes were used for both hot and cold water supply lines in residential properties.
Polybutylene pipes have a higher likelihood of failure compared to other plumbing materials. Over time, they can become brittle, leading to cracks, fractures, and even complete pipe bursts. Some factors contributing to their vulnerability include:
Due to the inherent risks associated with polybutylene pipes, it is strongly recommended to have them replaced by a qualified plumber. By doing so, you can mitigate the risk of sudden pipe failures, water damage, and subsequent structural issues within your home.
When replacing polybutylene pipes, it is crucial to hire a licensed and experienced plumber specializing in pipe replacement. They will assess the current plumbing system, recommend appropriate alternatives, and conduct the replacement process with expertise and efficiency.
Polybutylene pipes pose significant risks to the integrity of your plumbing system and the structural stability of your home. Recognizing the vulnerabilities associated with this material is crucial for homeowners who may have polybutylene pipes in their properties. By engaging a qualified plumber to replace these pipes, you can protect your home from unexpected failures, water damage, and costly repairs.
Investing in the replacement of polybutylene pipes with more durable and reliable materials ensures the long-term safety and functionality of your plumbing system. Don't overlook the potential risks associated with polybutylene pipes—take proactive steps to have them replaced by a qualified professional. By doing so, you can safeguard your home and gain peace of mind knowing that your water supply system is reliable, efficient, and protected against potential failures.
Efficient drainage is essential for a well-functioning plumbing system in any home. However, if you notice that many of your drains are slow to empty, it may be an indication of a more significant underlying issue. One common culprit is blockages in the main sewer pipe, also known as the lateral pipe, that connects your home to the municipal sewer system. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of slow-draining drains, the potential causes, and the recommendation for an "in pipe" camera inspection to assess the condition of the lateral pipe.
Slow-draining drains are a common plumbing issue characterized by water taking longer than usual to empty from sinks, showers, toilets, or other plumbing fixtures. This phenomenon can occur throughout the house and indicates a potential problem within the main sewer pipe.
Several factors can contribute to slow-draining drains, including:
To accurately diagnose the cause of slow-draining drains and assess the condition of the lateral pipe, it is recommended to conduct an "in pipe" camera inspection. This non-invasive method involves inserting a small camera into the sewer line to capture real-time footage of the pipe's interior.
Camera inspection offers several advantages:
Slow-draining drains are not only inconvenient but can also indicate underlying issues with your main sewer pipe. If you experience this problem throughout your home, it is essential to take action promptly. Consulting a professional plumber for an "in pipe" camera inspection is highly recommended to diagnose the cause of slow drainage accurately.
By conducting a camera inspection of the lateral pipe, plumbers can identify blockages, root intrusion, pipe damage, or other issues that may be impeding the flow of wastewater. This information enables them to devise an effective repair or maintenance plan to restore proper drainage and prevent future complications.
Remember, professional expertise is key when it comes to accurately interpreting camera footage and providing appropriate recommendations. Don't delay addressing slow-draining drains and ensure the longevity and efficiency of your plumbing system by investing in a thorough "in pipe" camera inspection.
Polybutylene was used for many years as piping for plumbing systems inside of residential homes. It was manufactured between 1978 and 1994, and popular because of its astonishing benefits which included:
The Cause of Polybutylene Failures
The University of Illinois at Chicago conducted two studies regarding polybutylene failure which showed that disinfectants used during the water treatment process were the main cause of the problems. These disinfectants causes the material to flake away at various locations within the plumbing system which can result in catastrophic pipe leaks. More than $1 billion dollars in lawsuits have been paid to homeowners who had polybutylene installed and experienced a malfunction; however, these settlements have since expired and homeowners with PB piping are now faced with the costs of repairs or replacement.
Remove Polybutylene Pipes Immediately
Currently, no federal regulations are in place that require the replacement of PB pipes; however, it is highly recommend that you take action immediately to avoid potential leaks and major water damage. In addition, some insurance companies will not even insure the home if PB piping is present.
How to Determine if Polybutylene Piping is in your Home
PB pipes can be identified by the following characteristics:
If you suspect you might have PB piping, contact a qualified Home Inspector to evaluate your plumbing system.
What is an expansion tank?
An expansion tank is a metal tank connected to a building’s water heating appliance designed to accommodate fluctuations in the volume of a building’s hot water supply system. These fluctuations occur because water expands in volume as it gets hot and loses volume as it cools.
Expanding water volume in a closed system can create dangerously high water pressure. As water is forced into the tank by expansion, it compresses air contained inside of a rubber bladder. Air is used as a cushion because it exerts less force on its container than water, which cannot be compressed.
The function of this bladder is to prevent air from becoming absorbed into the water, a process that could cause the expansion tank to lose its ability to act as a sort of shock absorber. If, over time, the bladder begins to leak some air, a Schrader valve, identical to the fill valve found on bicycle and car tires, can be used to add more air.
What does it look like, inside and out?
Expansion tanks are considerably smaller than water heaters, usually holding about two gallons in residential systems, although tank sizes vary in relation to the water volume of the hot water supply system they serve. The design pressure for which a tank is rated is marked on a label on the tank, commonly 150 pounds per square inch (PSI) for a residential tank.
Not a Substitute for a Temperature Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve
If water heater controls fail and pressure in the system exceeds 150 PSI, or temperature exceeds 210° F, a temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) installed on the side of the water heater tank will open, safely discharging water from the system. TPR valves are capable of reducing water pressure at a rate greater than the capacity of the water heater to raise it, thus eliminating the possibility that water will become superheated (greater than 212 degrees) and pose a serious threat. The importance of this valve cannot be overstated, and it is crucial that it is examined periodically for rust or corrosion, and the release lever should be exercised monthly by the homeowner.
If a TPR valve fails to operate when it’s needed, the result can be catastrophic. Pressure will continue to build in the water heater tank as water temperature rises past the boiling point and water becomes superheated. Eventually, pressure in the tank will exceed the ability of the weakest part of the water heater to contain it and the tank will rupture, exposing the superheated water to air and causing an instantaneous and explosive expansion of steam. This situation can propel the water heater like a rocket or make it explode like a bomb, causing extensive property damage, personal injury or death.