What is Polybutylene?
The 1990s were a time of experimentation in the home. Anything that was once taboo was now being introduced as a new and improved way of life. Polyester clothing, water bottles, and even computers all made their way into everyday homes. The 90s also ushered in new plastics like polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which we now know as “pet plastic” thanks to the soda bottle boom at the time. But one experiment from that decade has come back to haunt homeowners today: polybutylene plumbing fixtures.
These fixtures became so popular because they were cheap, easy to install, had no visible seams or glue joints, and would never need to be painted. The only problem is that these fixtures are also prone to failure after as little as 20 years of use and there is no known remedy for repairing them when they break. If you have these plumbing fixtures in your home, it’s important that you understand why they are dangerous and how to identify them before repair or replacement becomes necessary.
Polybutylene Pipe Repair and Replacement
Polybutylene is a type of plastic that is used in plumbing fixtures, including supply pipes and drain pipes. These materials were first used in the United States in the 1980s, as an alternative to lead and copper. They were used for another 20 years before being linked to significant plumbing problems. It is estimated that about 75% of residential plumbing fixtures are affected by this issue. Polybutylene plumbing pipes are prone to cracking, which can cause leaks.
When this happens in your home, it can cause significant property damage. In extreme cases, it can even lead to structural damage. Many people who have polybutylene plumbing fixtures in their home don’t even know it because the original builder never disclosed this fact. These fixtures are generally grey or black and can be spotted by looking for any seams that are pressed flat rather than being “stacked” into one another.
Why Is Polybutylene a Problem?
For decades, polybutylene fixtures were a popular choice for home plumbing systems because they were inexpensive and easy to install. However, they were not designed to last as long as other types of fixtures. Polybutylene pipes have significant flaws that make them prone to failure over time. These pipes are prone to cracking, fracturing, and corrosion. Each of these damages can cause leaks in the line or complete system failure. When leaks occur inside a home, they can cause significant property damage.
In extreme cases, they can even lead to structural damage. Leaks in the water line system may go undetected for long periods of time, which can lead to significant health problems. Certain microorganisms, such as coliform bacteria, are commonly found in water and can cause infections or gastrointestinal diseases.
Signs of Faulty Polybutylene Plumbing
Leaks in your water system can be a sign of a problem. However, there are other signs to look out for that are specific to faulty polybutylene plumbing. One of the telltale signs of faulty polybutylene plumbing is a sticky or “sticky” water line.
If the water pressure in your home drops significantly, this may be due to a slow leak in the line. You may also notice that the water in your home tastes “metallic” (like pennies or saltwater). This is a result of corrosion in the pipes. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important that you act quickly to prevent further damage.
Repairs for Polybutylene Piping
Unfortunately, there is no known repair method for faulty polybutylene piping. The only known solution is to replace the piping entirely. This is obviously not an inexpensive solution, but it is the only way to correct the problem. If you have faulty polybutylene plumbing, you will need a professional plumber to determine the extent of the damage and recommend the best course of action for a full repair or pipe replacement.
Replacing Polybutylene: How to Know If You Need To
If you notice any signs of faulty polybutylene plumbing, it’s important that you have it inspected right away to determine the extent of the damage. If the leak is small, it can be repaired, but you will want to act quickly. Once the leak has been contained, your next step is to have the plumbing system inspected.
Your inspector will be able to tell you if you need to replace faulty fixtures or repair them. If your plumbing system is made of polybutylene, there’s a good chance that it’s nearing the end of its useful life. You may want to consider replacing it with a more reliable system.
Are you searching for more information on polybutylene pipe. You’re in the right location: we’ve replaced polybutylene pipes in thousands of homes throughout Calgary. When you install an entirely new plumbing system that is constructed from an extremely durable and non-corrosive material will improve the safety of your home, increase its durability, and decrease the chance of experiencing the unexpected and sudden crisis.
While polybutylene plumbing fixtures were cheap and easy to install, they were not designed to last more than a few years. Over time, they are prone to cracking, corrosion, and other failures that can lead to sudden leaks in the water system. Fortunately, these fixtures can be easily identified by their pressed-flat seams. Once they’ve been identified, they can be replaced with a more reliable system that will provide reliable service for decades to come.