Advice regarding polybutylene piping

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jechow, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. jechow

    jechow New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    British Columbia
    I have polybutylene piping (with copper insert fittings) in my home. There are currently no issues with the plumbing but I was wonder what I should do? For example:

    1. Should I be pro-active and get the piping replaced with copper piping eventhough there is no issues? Or

    2. Should I be proactive and install shutoff values to various runs of my house so that if a leak occurs, I can shut off that specific run and continue to use the rest of my home. This will option would allow me to not replace the poly pipes until a problem does occurs. OR

    3. Something else?

    Thanks
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2008
  2. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    If you have the money. I would replace it all. You don't need to use copper. I would install pex.
  3. jechow

    jechow New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Thanks Patrick88. I would prefer not to spend the money if it is not necessary. From what I have researched, it seems that most of the problems with poly plumbing occurs at the fittings. Thus, I am reluctant to change the plumbing until necessary (ie: when there is an actual leak and ideally multiple leaks).

    Thanks.
  4. not true

    a lot of problems with old poly lines
    happen in the pipe iteslf.....

    the poly splits lenght wise down the pipe...

    yes it leaks at the joints a lot but it can also ruin your
    home at some sharp bend in the line
  5. patrick88

    patrick88 Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    Webster Ma.
    I have not done much with PB, but the few I have had pin holes. It was not just one poping up every now and then. It would be like 5 at a time.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Pb

    The usual course of action with PB is to do nothing until you have to. It is inconsistant. Some systems will never have a problem and others had it shortly after installation. Your odds of not having a problem increase as time goes by without a failure, since systems that fail usually occur fairly soon. Soon being defined as several years after installation, often just after the 12 years time window expired.
  7. jechow

    jechow New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    British Columbia

    Would it be prudent for me to have hire a plumber to install shut off values to the various runs in my house? Thus if a leak does occur, I can shut off that run and continue to use the rest of my house until a plumber can replace than run with PEX or copper plumbing.

    Thanks
  8. jch

    jch New Member

    My understanding is that PB pipe becomes brittle from the inside-out due to a reaction with Chlorine. The lawsuit settlements suggest that this typically happens after 10-15 years service.

    It will look fine on the outside, but will be brittle on the inside.

    Given that, I would think that cutting this pipe to install shut-offs would be risky as it could promote accelerated failure of the pipe.

    If it leaks, then you have until May 2009 to file a claim under the settlement. They'll replace all the PB pipe in your house for free (but not cover the water damage).

    Does this help?
    .../j
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The time to make a claim here in the US has expired in many instances. Apparently the US & Canadian settlements are different in that aspect.
  10. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    yes chlorene does effect the pipe in high concentrations and there is evidence that even in normal concentrations it can lead to pre-mature failure. There are tons of studies on pb online, most of them so dry and technical that reading through them makes your brain hurt. Bottom line is though, it was (and is) probably not a good choice for water piping. UV radiation effects it, chlorene effects it and god knows what else.
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