Polybutylene (PB) is a kind of plastic used in the manufacture of plumbing pipes from the late 70s through the mid-90s. At the time, PB pipe was regarded as revolutionary because of its low cost and easy installation, but today’s experts recommend replacing it because of its higher tendency to fail, and for the reasons listed below.
If polybutylene leaks occur within a wall, water damage is inevitable. When water leaks into a home, it can damage drywall, flooring, AC and heating units, personal belongings, furniture and more.
In homes built before 1980, asbestos was the primary health concern. It was used in siding, insulation, ceiling and floor tiles, shingles and more, and it can cause cancer and other issues. Today’s biggest threat is mold, which can also cause health problems. If the home suffers water damage because of a ruptured polybutylene pipe, mold can grow in walls, inside ducts and beneath the carpet.
Exterior Pipe Breakage
If pipes break on the outside of a home, soil may erode under sidewalks, walkways and driveways. This can not only cause cracking of surfaces, it can cause the ground to give way and lead to serious injuries
Higher Utility Bills
Even a small, undetected leak can cause a serious problem in the long term. For instance, it can increase the homeowner’s monthly utility bills, and the problem will only get worse as the leak gets bigger.
A Lack of Hot Water
When brittle, leaky polybutylene pipes are providing the home with water, the family may occasionally have to deal with a hot water shortage. Replacing these pipes can benefit everyone, especially larger families.
Increased Home Value
With new, upgraded and reliable piping, a home’s value will automatically increase. For those who may sell in the future, new piping is a strong selling point and it provides negotiating power.
Deciding to Replace Old Polybutylene Pipes
There are many reasons to replace polybutylene pipes, but it’s not a decision to make lightly. Polybutylene pipes usually start to leak after about nine years, and the first step is to hire a professional plumber to determine the type of piping the home has. Call a local plumber for a professional inspection and possible replacement.