The Problem with Polybutylene
Polybutylene is a plastic resin used in the manufacture of plastic pipes and fittings from 1978 until 1995. During this time polybutylene was installed in up to ten million homes and businesses throughout the United States including the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. area. The main problem with polybutylene is that it fails suddenly, without warning, and often fails catastrophically.
Due to the fact that polybutylene was cheaper and easier to install than other competing materials, it was touted by many as being “the pipe of the future”. Its widespread popularity spanned nearly two decades, resulting in a recurring nightmare for countless households, businesses, and municipalities, both domestically and around the globe. At the peak of its popularity, certain areas of the country were in the midst of a residential construction boom: the Sun Belt, Mid Atlantic, and Northwest Pacific states. Polybutylene failures continue to be a crisis for households and businesses across the nation.
The unfortunate reality for structures 10 years or older with polybutylene is that they run a significantly increased risk of experiencing a variety of problems. As reported by thousands of our customers, if left unaddressed, polybutylene will result in catastrophic property damage from flooding, mold infestation from undetected leaks, increased premiums or cancelled insurance coverage just to name a few. In fact, a growing trend among mortgage lenders is to steer clear of properties piped with defective polybutylene. A minimum requirement is that it will be replaced as a condition of the sale. Typically, real estate professionals on the front end of the sale (brokers, real estate agents, and home inspectors) red-flag properties with polybutylene and leave it up to buyers and sellers to negotiate the terms of its removal.
Does Your Home Have Polybutylene?
Interior polybutylene pipes are usually gray and visible by water heaters, sinks, and toilets. In some circumstances, both copper and poly pipes were used, so although you will see copper pipes, the polybutylene piping may be behind walls, ceilings, and foundations.
If your polybutylene pipes have not yet failed, the longer you wait, the greater the risk of severe flooding and damage to your home. Visit Plumbing Express’s Single Family Repipe page to find out more about Plumbing Express’s repipe solution for homes with polybutylene pipes.