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.