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Poly B™ FAQ Videos
Poly B™ FAQ
Poly B™ Replacement – Know The Facts
Poly B™ Piping Services
What is Poly B™ (Polybutylene) Piping?
Poly B™ piping, also referred to as polybutylene piping, was a plastic grey plumbing pipe commonly used in residential water systems throughout North America. Typically, Poly B™ piping is found in homes built between 1985-1997 and with homes that received renovations during that time frame.
Poly B™ piping turned out to be a very temperamental product. The piping breaks down over time due to Chlorine, Fluoride, excess pressure, and environmental factors including exposure to UV rays.
Brief History of Poly B™ Piping
Shell and Dupoint struck up a partnership plumbing deal in the early eighties and quickly engineered a flexible grey plastic pipe called “Polybutylene” or “Poly B™” for short. They wasted no time putting this product to market and we are not claiming that were paid off, but there have even been reports that state members of the CSA and ASA were paid off in order to have the plumbing pipe quickly put on the market.
Poly B™ Piping was Revolutionary at the Time
This new Poly B™ pipe was praised by plumbers as the most revolutionary plumbing product of the century. Poly B™ was inexpensive, very easy to install, and required less joints typical of copper piping.
Because things that are too good to be true often aren’t what they seem, Poly B™ received its first documented lawsuit in 1991 where a community in the southern USA came home to find their Poly B™ pipes leaking and their homes flooding with water. Since then we have seen Poly B™ piping be the cause of the biggest lawsuits ever in North American plumbing history.
How to Identify Poly B™?
Ways to Identify Poly B Piping
It is crucial to know how to identify Poly B pipes in your home, especially if you are living in an older home or you are interested in purchasing one. Here are a few things to check through when trying to figure out if you have poly b piping in your home.
Find Out When Your Home Was Built
The first way to know if Poly B piping was used in your home is to check when your home was built. If your home was constructed between 1985 and 1997, and that you have not carried out extensive plumbing renovations in the home, you may have poly b piping in your home.
Identify Poly B Piping by Color
Look out for Poly B in your home by its colors. Polybutylene piping comes in silvery gray, blue, and blank colors. Silvery gray and black colors were used interchangeably for both indoor and outdoor uses while blue poly B pipes were mainly used for cold water.
Look for Poly B Stamping on the Plumbing Pipes
Poly B pipes have identifiable stamping on them. Although they are flexible and sometimes have color codes as explained above, they are also made from plastic material and have the letters “PB” preceding a string of numbers imprinted on them. The most common stamping on polybutylene pipes is “PB2110.” If you see these numbers, contact a plumber and have them quote you on a poly b replacement for the building.
Checking Plumbing Installation Locations
There are certain areas to check in the home for Poly B pipes. For the outdoor location, check the main water shut-off valve for Poly B pipes, especially at the water meter when coming in from the basement. For indoor area, check the basement ceilings and walls, feeding into sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and also around the hot water heaters.
Check Hidden Places for Different Plumbing Pipes
You have to look further for Poly B by removing the panels behind the toilets, tubs, and showers and under sinks to expose the plumbing pipes. There may be galvanized steel or copper pipe fittings used to connect Poly B pipes behind the walls.
Check Plumbing Fitting Locations
Another way to know if Poly B pipes were used in your home is to look out for aluminum, copper, or brass crimp fittings that plumbers used to link different Poly B pipes to plumbing joints and fittings. The sight of these fittings is a good place to check if there is any poly b piping connected in your home.
Hire a Professional Poly B Plumber
If you are unsure how to check, you should hire a professional Poly B plumber who has the right training and experience in finding the Poly B pipes in homes. As long as the age of your home falls within the time frame when Poly B piping was introduced, do not take chances; let a professional help you out.
Poly B pipes do not show signs of wear and tear from the outside, even when they look completely okay. Poly B pipes are damaged by oxidants in the public water supply, harsh weather, and water pressure. So, there is no way you can tell that the polybutylene pipes in your home are in perfect condition. Avoid water damage by a sudden burst of Poly B pipes may require emergency plumbing and timely poly b replacement. Contact us if you require any assistance.
Cost of Replacing Poly B Piping
Poly B Replacement is becoming more and more common however determining the Cost to replace poly b piping can get a little complex. The damage from having Poly B piping your home is no longer breaking news. Most houses that contain Poly B piping are now replacing them with PEX piping.
Read More: Poly B to PEX Piping - Making the Switch
The damage caused by Poly B piping is as a result of the chemical properties used in the production of this pipe. Ready to change your Poly B pipe to PEX pipes and you do not know how much it will cost you? This article breaks down the cost of replacing Poly B.
Replace Poly B Piping with PEX Piping:
The size of the House that Contains Poly B Piping:
The bigger the house, the more the pipes to be used in replacing or fixing the Poly B piping. If you own a big structure, you should think of increasing your budget.
The Materials that the Poly B Replacement Will Need:
The more materials that need to be replaced the more cash required to purchase these items. Given a structure that has much plumbing fittings like showers, sinks, toilet, etc, there will be a need for more replacement piping to connect to all the plumbing features of a home.
The Type of Poly B Replacement Materials used:
Considering the fact that you have chosen the PEX pipe, there are different types of PEX pipe, and their prices are different, you might want to check the less expensive option or the most expensive one. This is going to affect the total cost of replacing the Poly B pipes.
Read More: Differences Between Classes of PEX Piping
Amount of Drywall Removed and Replaced during Poly B Remediation:
The more drywall removed, the more the drywall that will be replaced. This will determine the quantity of drywall that one will buy. Buying more drywall means an additional cost to the total cost of your Poly B replacement work.
The Plumbing, Drywall and Painting Labor:
Getting poly b piping replaced by an unskilled roadside plumber may end up doing more damage and later on costing you more. One should be extremely careful not to contract quacks. Urban piping has done more Poly B replacement work than any other company and all work is done 100% by Urban Piping Ltd. We do not subcontract.
Read Warning About Sub-contracting Poly B Replacement Here: https://www.poly-b.com/poly-b-contractor/
Number of Bathrooms that have Poly B Piping:
The number of bathroom will have an effect on the cost of poly b replacement. If the plumbing system of a home has the bathrooms stacked on top of each other this may reduce the cost of replacement services.
The cost of things, in general, are usually effected by the location of your property. If materials have to be shipped far distances this can effect cost and one should take into account the provincial tax rates that come along with acquiring the plumbing materials.
The cost of replacing Poly B piping runs typically from $7000-$20000 CAD:
This is for a complete replacement including replacement piping, labour, parts, drywall, painting, and clean-up.
- The cost of the parts for replacement runs from $2000-$3000 based on the above-mentioned factors
- Labor charges $4000-$8000 also based on the factors mentioned above, ranging from the local plumber to the corporate professionals.
- Dry Walls cost $4000-10000 still looking at the above-mentioned factor which is the number of drywall to be replaced.
- Painting after the job is done runs from $400-$900, of course, the size of the house to be painted matters and the quality of the paint.
- Total cost from start to finishing runs around $7000-$20000
Tips for Hiring a Poly B Contractor:
Find a Plumbing and Poly B Replacement Contractor with Experience:
The years one has stayed in a business should be considered while hiring. Years of practicing is what makes one an expert. Plumbers that have stayed long in the business have upper hand because they have encountered more problems than the other startup plumbers.
Ensure the Poly B Replacement Company has a Proper License:
This is key, get a licensed contractor if you can’t get one stay in the house with the Poly B pipes. The license shows that they have been approved by the government of that jurisdiction to take on plumbing jobs and they have met all necessary requirements.
Check the Plumbing Company for Insurance:
Getting a contractor with insurance is usually not considered by homeowners. But this is a very important aspect of hiring. Your contractor should not just have insurance alone but liability and workers compensation just in case. So you won’t be incurring liability charges. This might also protect your property in case of any damages.
Always Check Poly B Pipe Replacement Reviews and References:
While hiring make sure you work with reviews of those that have been clients to the plumber you intend hiring. Most high-rated plumbers have websites where you can actually check for their customers’ review.
Ask for Photos of Poly B Replacement Work:
Ask for pictures of your contractor’s previous works, if they are good at what they do they happily share the pictures with you.
WARNING: Don't Hire a Poly B Pipe Replacement Company that Subcontracts!
Check if the contractors are subcontracting parts of the job. This has become a huge problem. At Urban Piping, we do not subcontract and all plumbing, painting, and drywall is done in house 100% by Urban Piping.
Poly-B.com has a great article to read about warning signs of hiring a poly b contractor. This article can be found here: https://www.poly-b.com/poly-b-contractor/
Poly B to PEX Piping
Poly B to PEX Piping – Make the Switch!
Suffering water leakages caused from Poly B Piping? It’s probably one of those structures built in the ’80s and ’90s and was piped with the legendary Polybutylene also known as Poly B. Poly B piping. Majority of home owners are now renovating and switching to PEX A piping to ensure no surprise leakages will effect their homes.
What is Class A PEX Piping
PEX is polyethylene that has all it’s polymer chains joined chemically as it undergoes a transformation process in the molecular structure. The polymer chains are cross-linked with each other creating a three-dimensional network. This process leads to flexible thermoset polymer, having enhanced chemical, thermal and mechanical properties that proves itself to be long lasting when dealing with plumbing systems.
PE means polyethylene while the X symbolizes the cross-linking. You can as well say it’s cross-linked polyethylene.
Commercial cross-linking was started in 1968 with the use of high-pressure peroxide known as PEXa. It requires the addition of liquid peroxide in a small quantity to HDPE in a monitored building under normal temperature. The next cross-linking achieved a higher and better result with pipes cross-linked up to 85 percent. Some PEX pipes have the unique ability to expand under pressure and contract back to normal when the pressure is not present. This occurs because of the flexibility of the PEX pipe.
Some Comparable Qualities – Poly B to PEX Piping
- The brief information above shows that PEX is as a result of the reaction gotten from a High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This piping is used all over the world, and it is currently the best approach on the market to replace Poly B piping.
- The process of manufacturing anything at all is very important. Let’s examine the manufacturing process. During PEX production, the polymer chains connect with each other, and this connection is called “Cross-Linking,” this is not applicable in Poly B manufacturing processes.
- One of the significant and outstanding qualities of the PEX A is pressure tolerance. The PEX A has a high-pressure tolerance capacity unlike the Poly B piping systems. The manufacturers of Poly B pipes previously tried to improve the pressure tolerance but did not have any success.
Other important factors to consider...
- The PEX A pipe does not react with chlorine, but Poly B does reacts with chlorine. When one Poly B gets in contact with water containing chlorine, it results to slow deterioration, ruptures and leakages. This is different for the PEX A piping.
- Both of these products are strong to water pressure when they are newly installed but the PEX A pipe is known to be stronger, lasts longer, and is more flexible.
- The cross-linking feature in the manufacturing process of PEX A has left the pipe to be known as the most favorable and reliable plumbing pipe today. The Poly B does not have this cross-linking feature.
Why use PEX A Piping for Poly B Replacement
We will discuss some exceptional qualities of the PEX A pipe, that makes it the perfect pipe for Poly B replacement.
The PEX A pipe is seen to be the best because of the ability to stand impacts and freezing. It’s flexibility also allow it to withstand pressure more than any other pipe. The feature of expanding and contrasting of the pipe under pressure is as a result of its flexibility.
Resistance to ChemicalsChlorine comes to mind. The PEX A pipe is highly resistant to many chemicals; these are silicones, glycols, urethane foam, acid and bases, and latex paints.
PEX A Piping is Easy to installThe PEX pipe is easy to install because of its Flexibility and a unique joining technique. This pipe requires no glue nor soldering in the process of installation, and they also do not tend to produce a flame.
PEX A Piping is a Very Strong PipeThe PEX A pipe is proven to be the strongest pipe plus a top of the range pressure ratings. This means the pressure or weight of water in it does nothing to the pipe
PEX A Piping is Very ReliableThis PEX A pipe is reliable in the sense that it has been in usage for over 40yrs, which makes it the right replacement for Poly B piping.
PEX A Piping is Resistance to CorrosionThe PEX A pipe is strong and not open to corrosion from soil or water. This pipe barely leaks no matter how bad the situation is.
PEX A Piping is Environmentally FriendlyPEX A pipe is the only pipe that has been recorded to be environmentally friendly because of the following stated reasons Bellow;
- The weight is light, and the cost of transporting it is very low
- There is no chlorine added in the production process of this PEX A unlike that of Poly B
- Efficient and fast delivery of hot water through the pipes
- Heat loss is reduced and as well as condensation
- The durability and the longevity of the PEX A pipe have passed the test of time. 50 years on the average that sounds like forever
- Production of the PEX A does not require mining of ore as do other pipes
The difference is now made know you can now choose which is your best pipe among these. PEX A pipe is generally accepted everywhere for piping projects while the Poly B is no longer accepted. PEX A is the best replacement piping for Poly B plumbing systems to date.
Be sure to read this article from www.poly-b.com on choosing a Poly B Contractor and adhere by the warning against hiring a plumbing company that subcontracts there work: https://www.poly-b.com/poly-b-contractor/
Why Does Poly B Leak?
What Causes Poly B Piping to Leak?
- High levels or free chlorine exist in the water supply causing leakage throughout the piping system.
- Improper installation of the piping in homes where fittings were installed too tight causing hairline cracks eventually ending with leakage and damages to homes.
- Improper installation of piping. When improperly installed pipes are put under stress they will cause leaks and damages to homes. This will end up in you needing poly b replacement plumbers to come into your home and access the problem.
- Installation near high heat areas including hot water tanks, in the attic, and other areas of extensively high temperatures.
- The use of acetal (white or grey) fittings to connect pipes rather than the preferred metal fittings.
Other Articles Related to Leaking Poly B Piping:
Lifetime of Piping
What pipes are used for a Poly B Replacement?
Installing a new plumbing system into a building requires adequate knowledge about the right material to use for performance, efficiency, safety, and durability. Different types of pipes are available for piping purposes, and they come with different estimated life expectancy. Not much was known about Poly B’s life expectancy at the time it was introduced into the market. The fact that it was a cheaper alternative and freeze-proof was all anyone wanted to know.
Choosing the right pipe for Poly B Replacement
Knowing the life expectancy of the piping material you want to use in your home will give you an insight into when you should replace them to avoid any leaks or warranty issues. Different piping materials react differently to the oxidants found in the public water supply. Some of them can withstand chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride, chloramine, and other types of oxidants used for water filtration while other materials become brittle and fail over time. Lets go over the different types of plumbing pipes that could be used in a poly b replacement service.
Class C PEX Piping
These are cast-iron pipes that are designed for potable water piping. They can withstand chlorine and other oxidants used for treating public water. Class C pipes have a life expectancy of 20 years.
Class B PEX Piping
This is the class B of cast-iron pipes. They are stronger and more durable with an estimated life expectancy of 50 years. This type of pipe handles harsh chemicals correctly and does not fail.
Class A PEX Piping
Class A pipes are the strongest in this group and this is what we use at Urban Piping for every poly b replacement job. They have estimated the life expectancy of 100 years. They are perfect for residential and commercial water piping systems and do not weaken due to the chemicals in the potable water flowing through them.
Copper piping is commonly used for the construction of water supply lines and the refrigerant lines in the HVAC systems. They are resistant to corrosion, and they are reliable. Their life expectancy is estimated at 50 years.
Poly B Piping
Poly B piping was used as a replacement for copper piping. Due to their high rate of failure, their life expectancy rate is pegged at 3 to 25 years.
Led piping is one of the most reliable and durable piping materials. It handles potable water supply effectively and is estimated to last from 80 to 120 years. The only downside of led piping is the danger of having the led filter into drinking water.
Galvanized Steel Piping
Galvanized pipes are steel pipes coated with zinc for protection against corrosion and rust. The life expectancy of galvanized piping is 60 years.
During The Replacement
What Happens During Poly B Replacement?
During remediation we find it is not the most habitable place to live, there is hikes cut in the walls and ceiling through the house, plastic isolating areas of the house and the water is off, our best recommendation is that our customers find other living arrangements for the duration of the poly b replacement and drywall work. a Poly B Remediation is typically done completely in 5-8 business days.
That being said we are flexible with our customers needs and would be more than happy to come to an agreement that works best for both parties.
Poly B Legal Info
Poly B Insurance Problems
In recent years insurance companies have started to get nasty with poly b leaks and poly b replacement. Ever since the class action lawsuit was settled in 2005 insurance companies have become exempt from legally having to cover damages caused by poly b.
Paying More for Poly B Insurance
There are some companies that do cover poly b damage for an "extra fee" but beware that insurance companies will usually do whatever it takes to try and get out of loosing money. We have seen in Calgary and Edmonton numerous recent examples where an insurance company will issue a "Multi Instance Deductible" clause, where some customers have reported having to pay 5-8 deductibles before the insurance companies will start the repair. Doesn’t sound like savings to us.
At Urban Piping Ltd. we are registered with most insurance companies and highly regarded as the number one choice for full remediation.
Poly B Lawsuits
In Canada and Calgary AB, trying to get reimbursement through a lawsuit or through insurance is no longer an option. This may be a new issue to you as a home owner but the reimbursements for a complete Poly B replacement system was only available if your system was replaced by 2005 or within 15 years of it being installed. The reimbursement for the complete system was only 25% of the system and 25% of any damages that had been caused.
More information here: A Brief History on Poly B Lawsuits and Litigation
Also refer to www.poly-b.com for more information on Poly B Lawsuits and Poly B Insurance Problems.
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Search Your Home For Poly B™ Piping
A searchable Poly B™ Map containing the homes that have a high probability of containing Poly B™ Piping. Search for your home address in either Calgary or Edmonton, AB.
Due to the nature of data collection, the information may not be 100% accurate. We also recommend contacting our professionals if you are unsure if your home may contain Poly B™ Piping.
Poly B™ Contractors
Poly B™ remediation or replacement requires the services of expert craftsman in four professional trades:
Plumbers, Tapers, Painters, and Texturers
Responsibilities of Poly B™ Contractors
Why is the Experience so Important?
Poly B™ Pipe Replacement
The Poly B™ Replacement Options
Urban Piping only offers the highest quality Class A PEX Piping in All Pipe Replacements