gray polybutylene water pipes


Old 09-06-16, 04:53 PM
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gray polybutylene water pipes

My home I just bought has some plumbing issues so had plumber out today to fix some. Was surprised when he told me my water supply in concrete slab foundation was gray polybutylene which is no longer manufactured. My home inspector did not note this is his report. I guess if my pipes fail, I will have huge repair bill. The class action lawsuit that stopped the use of polybutylene water piping had $950 million dollar fund to help homeowners have homes repiped. But fund ran out years ago. It typically costs $2000-$3000 to replace polybutylene. I better start a "pipe bursting fund". Homeowners insurance will cover property damage but not the cost of repiping if pipes fail.

I live in Mississippi where polybutylene pipes are common in homes built 1970s to 1995. My home was built in 1993. Seems to me my home inspector should have found this and reported. I guess FHA inspector didn't note it either.
Old 09-06-16, 05:33 PM
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The contract you signed with the home inspector probably had a clause to the effect that he(she) was only liable up to the cost for the inspection in cases of errors or omissions in the report. I think you need to go back to the "inspector" and ask for a refund because of missing such an important item.

For what it is worth, I have a polybutylene faucet connectors in my back bathroom. I have never had a problem with them in the 16+ years I have lived in this house.

You might want to read this: Polybutylene Plumbing - Myths About Polybutylene
Old 09-06-16, 05:37 PM
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Water pipes where I am are not run in the slabs. They are run in the attic. I'd run them in the attic ans/or buried outside of the slab before I'd bust up the slab to replace them. You might want to start replacing them now as you have the time and money. The you can just abandon the old ones in place.

Pex is easy to run. You do have to be sure to insulate both hot and cold lines in the attic and to drain them before going to bed on very cold nights.
Old 09-06-16, 06:01 PM
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Ok so what's the question?
Yes it should have been mentioned in the report, it's old Quest plumbing.
Old 09-06-16, 06:06 PM
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Poster did not bother adding there location in there profile which is important when posting this type of question.
In this case Quest tubing and the fittings can burst or at least least leak under any conditions.
Old 09-06-16, 06:20 PM
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It typically costs $2000-$3000 to replace polybutylene.
Around here it might cost around $8,000.00, $3k is rare.

The Quest lawsuit is over. If you don't have a slab leak, you are lucky. The pipes in the walls are iffy at best, but there are still plumbers who are certified to make the proper connections or adapt the pipe and that's better than a slab leak any day.

At $3k I would consider a full re-plumb including bypassing the slab, or like you said, start a fund.
Old 09-06-16, 06:27 PM
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I think I would contact an Attorney and have him/her assess the situation. The HUD Building Inspector may have carried E&O (Errors and Omissions Insurance) which could cover the costs of your re-plumbing the house.
Old 09-06-16, 06:42 PM
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Slight side track. Pardon my hi-jack.

Home inspections. It has recently come to my attention that home inspectors have very little liability and it's very tough to go back to them with a "breach" or complaint about their inspection. Of course a lot depends on the integrity of the inspector and the company he works for. But my understanding is that depending on conditions they will not look at everything and may skip many things unless you ask specially to look at an item. And any of their recommendations are not bound by any local codes, as long as they don't advise against a code.

Case in point is roof inspection. They are not bound to climb a roof and certainly are not responsible for what's under the roof shingles. Same as with the polybutylene piping. If the install from his or her perspective is sufficient and working they have no obligation to advise if it might be faulty. Asbestos and lead paint is similar. As long as it shows that the material is sealed and not a health hazard they are not required to comment on it. Home inspection is not a "fail or pass" test.

Home inspectors can not make you or the seller repair or replace anything. This is not to be confused with a municipal home inspector who can enforce a corrective action.

What FURD says: "For what it is worth, I have a polybutylene faucet connectors in my back bathroom. I have never had a problem with them in the 16+ years I have lived in this house." Why ask for trouble if it's not yet manifested.

I don't think you should be overly concerned but be ready for a possible repair in the future.

Most home inspectors will limit their liability to the cost of the inspection. That in turn will usually be limited to what they inspect and is on their check list. If a furnace is checked but does not work the inspector will be liable for cost of inspection, not the furnace replacement.

Home inspectors are a good thing to use, but they are not an insurance policy. You will need to shop around for a good one and you should ask for previous clients as a reference. Also, generally speaking cost will reflect quality.

To get back on topic, the polybutylene sytem works. What is the problem? At the time of installation it was considered to be OK. You can't turn back the clock.

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