Housing is important. And like everything considered to be important, all its features must be examined in detail. This includes the plan, structure of the house, nature of the area, fixtures, building materials, etc. The aim of this article is to familiarize the reader with the pros and cons of the choice of plumbing materials used in a house; with specific regard to poly b piping.
How to Identify Polybutylene Piping in Your House
The best and probably the most convenient way of identifying a polybutylene pipe would be to hire a professional. Not every grey pipe found in the house is a polybutylene pipe. There is also no certainty that a proper home inspection will yield a productive result in identifying polybutylene pipes because some inspectors may not be educated on identifying polybutylene piping.
Many plumbers installed copper stubs which passed through walls thereby hiding the polybutylene pipes in the walls. Some even used polybutylene as the main water line, disguising it as copper at the street or house ending. This makes it even more difficult for an inexperienced person to identify this kind of plumbing, solidifying the case to hire a professional.
Disadvantages of using Polybutylene Pipes
- Polybutylene pipes easily become brittle when chlorine oxidants used in the treatment of public water reacts on them.
- The fittings of polybutylene pipes are problematic. They are blown off easily by intense water pressure, and this results in leakages. We have encountered several cases of leakages from these fittings. Sometimes these leakages destroy household properties worth thousands of dollars.
- Polybutylene pipes are outdated and have been banned in some jurisdictions. By have them, you could possibly be at risk of pinhole leakage or pipe bursts.
Factors To Consider When Buying A House With Polybutylene Pipes
Possible Damage and Consequent Cost
It is common knowledge that polybutylene pipes have weak fittings. Some real estate inspectors and even plumbers have said that it is almost certain that the pipes will fail. As a potential buyer of a house with polybutylene pipes, one may want to consider the possibility of the pipes failing and the consequent cost and damage of such failure. For instance, if there is a leakage, the house may have to be re-piped. If the leakage causes damage to any household property, this would have to be replaced as well. The cost of repairs would amount to spending tens of thousands of dollars.
Currently, insurance companies are refusing to insure houses with polybutylene pipes. The reason for this is simple. Polybutylene is outdated! Many homes have replaced their polybutylene piping with PEX piping. Homes still having polybutylene pipes are at risk of property damage. These polybutylene pipes can “reduce a home’s value or prolong its time on the market.” According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Many insurance companies being fully aware of these facts refuse to insure homes with polybutylene pipes.
Another factor which should not be overlooked is the time it would take to uninstall the polybutylene pipes in a house and replace them with PEX. The process involves cutting out drywall coverings, removing old pipes, installing new ones and returning the walls to their original state. Urban Piping Ltd is the #1 Poly B Contractor in Canada, it typically takes days to complete a remediation of a house (depending on the size of the house). Where does one stay while all the repairs are ongoing on and who bears the cost?
Polybutylene has been the subject of lots of litigation
Judicial precedence has set out two class-action lawsuit settlements that used to could cover some or all of the cost of refitting houses built with polybutylene pipes and in some cases reimburse a claimant for damages from leaks.
These was the Spencer v. Dupont and Cox v. Shell rules. In both rules, compensatory awards may have been granted to homeowners who have suffered loss as a result of leakages, but action could not be brought for an anticipated loss.
The deficiency of this rule as regards this issue is that one may have encounter an irreparable loss.
The difference between the two rules is that the Cox v. Shell settlement covered the total cost of re-piping whereas the Spencer v. Dupont settlement covered only 10% of the cost of re-piping.
Despite the fact that this legal channel may have provided some relief, the government expenditure for this has been exhausted and is no longer available to home owners. Currently the home owner is responsible to incur all costs in regards to a poly b replacement.
Why Urban Piping Ltd.?
From the insightful exposition above it can be deduced that there are two main types of plastic piping. These are polybutylene and cross-linked polyethylene. The basic difference between both is that the polymer chains in the latter are bonded to each other thereby establishing a cross-link. The effect of this cross-linking makes polyethylene (PEX) a better option for piping. PEX has more resistance to high pressures as the cross-linking increases its pressure limits. Again, PEX more tolerance for harsh temperatures. Extreme weather conditions and water temperature does not affect the durability of polyethylene pipes. More so, the issue of corrosion does not affect PEX. The greater chlorine resistance of PEX makes it last longer even with high chlorine concentrations. More than ten million homes in the U.S. and Canada were built using polybutylene piping from 1978 to 1995, but this was before its unreliability was discovered. Today these pipes are no longer in use.
This leaves us with only one option, and that is repiping! The best company for this as far as Calgary, Edmonton, Burnaby, and the surrounding areas are concerned is Urban Piping Ltd. With a track record of eleven years experience, character-worthy, punctual and licensed personnel, we offer you a customer friendly service. Our services are also insured. Urban Piping Ltd. is well-known for the replacement of polybutylene pipes because they have literally pioneered the industry offering a complete in house service without the need to hire different contractors.
- First, we plastic wrap and cover the floor and furniture of your home.
- Then we initiate the remediation process by gaining access to the pipes via the drywall. Pull out old lines from the walls & ceiling where necessary & replace with new piping.
- We then patch up all holes in the ceiling and drywall where necessary. Also, paint-match your house paint to its original colors.
- We then clean the house and ensure that it is in the same condition that is was upon our arrival. After a walkthrough by you inspecting our work we then fix up and your poly b problems are no more.
Read more about our Complete Poly B Replacement Service.