Question about Polybutylene pipe in house we are moving to

Old 06-12-20, 04:50 PM
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Question about Polybutylene pipe in house we are moving to

I'm getting ready to buy a house in the eastern panhandle of WV that was built in 1993 and has polybutylene piping. I am at least going into this knowing this info ahead of time and I am aware of it. The price has been adjusted to compensate for it. I don't know of any current leaks or problems. The house inspection is next week some time.

After reading a lot of the posts on this site about PB, Am I understanding correctly that chlorine and other chemicals are the major contributor to PB failure?

This house is on a well. Do you think I am still at risk of failure? How urgent do I need to be in getting this stuff replaced? I am planning on doing the pipe replacement myself.

Any other tips or info is much appreciated. Thanks
Old 06-12-20, 05:55 PM
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The problem with polybutylene plumbing is well documented. It is not a question as to will the pipes leak but when will they leak. Make sure you can get a home owners insurance policy that covers damages due to polybutylene plumbing in case you don't get it changed before a failure occurs.
Old 06-13-20, 05:32 AM
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The other problem with PB leaks is that sometimes/often when they occur, the pipe fails and it's a flow, and not just a drip. If you've ever had a broken pipe, a lot of water can come out before you realize it.

Also some (most?) homeowners policies won't cover damages from PB pipes as it's considered a hazardous condition. Similar to knob and tube wiring, and a handful of other interesting construction methods. Definitely check your policy - this obviously varies between carriers.

I don't know that I would be working on it day one of moving in, but I would definitely make it one of my first house projects. Using PEX (or copper if that's your plan), you can upgrade in sections, using a temporary SharkBite PB transition. Replumb the main line and kitchen, and connect temporarily to the existing PB baths with a SharkBite. Then next step, continue from there to bath 1, etc. You should be able to do it in sections so you're never without water for more than the time you're actually working on the plumbing.

Good luck and congrats on your new place!
Old 06-16-20, 03:20 PM
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Zorfdt, That sounds like a good plan. A little at a time and get it knocked out. I will also check my ins. policy for coverage in case of rupture.

Old 06-16-20, 04:59 PM
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If you do decide to replace it in sections make sure you use the correct fittings, installed correctly to make the transitions. The two types PEX/QUEST are very close in size so it's easy to use the wrong fittings or to use the transition fitting backwards.
Old 06-17-20, 12:45 AM
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Also put 1/4 or 1/2 turn ball valves in where ever you can A quick shut off can save a lot of future problems.
Old 06-17-20, 06:57 AM
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I'd find another house. ..............

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