Our resident home inspector extraordinaire Shawn Anderson of The Inspector – Home Inspection and Consulting Services – has offered some useful information for condo and house owners alike, with regards to Polybutylene Piping. Why do you need to know anything about Poly B Piping? If you’re looking to avoid consistent leaks that can cause water damage to your home, or if you’re wondering why your condo building is asking for a $10k special levy to redo the building’s piping system, this article should give you some insight.
Polybutylene Piping by Shawn Anderson
What is Poly B Piping?
“Polybutylene (Poly B) is a gray plastic pipe used as a water supply line in your home. This type of pipe was installed extensively in the early 1970’s until the early 1990’s. It was thought to be a great material at the time, and much cheaper than copper. However, around about the mid-80’s, homes with Poly-B plumbing began to spring leaks. Not good.”
How Long do Poly B Pipes Last?
“There are many reports that Poly-B piping began to leak around 10 to 15 years after installation. Most experts recommend replacing Poly-B plumbing with the much more durable copper variety. Poly-B is no longer an approved plumbing material under the National Plumbing Code, so is not used in any new plumbing installations.”
When Should you Replace Poly B Pipes?
“Leaking can happen without warning and can result in flooding and serious damage to a home’s interior if it is not immediately stopped. PB pipes installed behind Drywall can leak unnoticed for long periods of time and cause mould and water damage. InterNACHI believes it is far cheaper to replace polybutylene pipes before they fail and release their contents onto floors, appliances and furniture.Homeowners might face higher insurance premiums or be denied coverage entirely. For homeowners who are concerned about this problem and wish to replace the PB piping in their home with copper or other material, there are companies that specialize in this type of work.”
For more information on what Poly B pipes are, how to tell if your home has Poly B piping, what you can do to extend their life and what your insurance company needs to know, check out Shawn’s Article on Poly B Piping.
The Inspectors – Home Inspection and Consultation