What is Polybutylene Pipe?

During the Sun Belt building boom from 1978-1995, polybutylene pipe (PB pipe) was promoted by manufacturers as an affordable and straightforward replacement for copper plumbing. Unfortunately, these plastic pipes proved prone to failing over time due to chlorine exposure in water supplies.

Easy to install

Polybutylene pipe is a type of plastic resin commonly used in plumbing. During the 1980s and 1990s, polybutylene was an attractive choice for builders due to its cost-effective production, long life expectancy and ease of installation.

Unfortunately, these pipes were known to break and leak, which could be hazardous for homes. When this occurs, a lot of water is released into the house and causes extensive damage to flooring, drywall, air conditioning and heating units, furniture, and personal belongings.

If you suspect there may be issues with polybutylene pipe, the first step should be calling a licensed plumber to inspect it. They can tell you any potential issues and estimate how much it would cost to replace all of your piping system with new pipe.

Your local plumbing expert will then turn off your water and repipe the pipes with either CPVC or copper, depending on which is available in your area. He or she can also assist with any necessary repairs that need to be done.

Once he completes, you can safely use your water again and feel confident in the plumbing of your home. Your pressure should be improved, plus you’ll gain the advantages of a new system that won’t leak.

In conclusion, if your polybutylene pipes are damaged, it’s essential to replace them immediately. Doing so can prevent extensive damage and save you money in the long run.

If you need more information regarding what to do if your polybutylene pipe is damaged, reach out to the plumbing specialists at Black Diamond Experts today! We would be more than happy to come out and assist you.


Polybutylene pipe (PB pipe) was a cost-effective material popular during the 1970s and 1980s due to its ease of installation, resistance to freezing temperatures, and non-rusting nature. Unfortunately, plumbers soon noticed an issue with PB pipes causing them to crack and leak over time.

It is essential to determine if your home contains polybutylene piping so you can take necessary action if needed. This is especially true if the building was constructed between 1975 and 1995, when polybutylene became increasingly common.

To determine if your home has polybutylene piping, start by inspecting the mechanical room of the house and the water heater area. If you see mostly grey piping, this could indicate polybutylene.

Additionally, check for copper connectors and see if your piping has an identification stamp. If so, the most likely designation is PB2110.

Another way to determine if your piping is polybutylene is by checking your water bills. If the amount charged seems unusually high, that could indicate that there’s polybutylene piping deteriorating underground.

If you’re uncertain if your home contains polybutylene pipes, contact a professional to inspect and confirm. If they confirm, they can replace them for you and help prevent costly damage in the future.

Polybutylene pipes may be cost-effective to install, but they don’t last very long and could potentially break down at some point. Therefore, it is recommended that you replace them sooner rather than later if you want to avoid costly plumbing repairs in the future.

Easy to repair

Polybutylene pipe was widely used in plumbing systems from the 1970s to the 1990s, but its inability to withstand chlorine and fluoride found in many municipal water supplies led to cracking and bursting of this brittle material.

Particularly with poly pipes fitted with metal fittings, plastic flaking and corroding was a major issue due to its tendency for flaking and corrosion. This would eventually lead to leaks that were difficult to locate and fix.

Fixing a leak inside poly piping systems necessitates taking out the old fittings and replacing them with newer ones. While this task may seem costly at first glance, the homeowner will ultimately save money on water damage repair in the long run.

Furthermore, homes re-plumbed with PEX pipes will have a better chance of selling at higher prices in the future due to fewer potential leaks and reduced property damage.

If a homeowner has poly piping on their property, they should consider replacing it immediately before the damage becomes too extensive to manage. Not only will this save them time and money in the future, but it also guarantees that no other homes will be affected by leaking poly pipe in the near future.

Leaks at the connections

Polybutylene pipe first gained popularity in the 1970s, being touted as “the pipe of the future.” It had many advantages – flexibility, heat/cold resistance and cost effectiveness. Unfortunately, a class action lawsuit revealed that polybutylene pipes and their fittings are prone to leaks and cracking.

Studies published on the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ website indicate that leaks are caused by a chemical reaction between plastic and chlorine commonly added to drinking water. Chlorine, used for disinfecting harmful bacteria in our drinking water, can react with polybutylene and cause it to flake apart at any location within PB piping systems.

A small fracture in a pipe can lead to an expanding crack, allowing water to seep out of the pipe. Leaks can range in size from small (like in a cabinet) to major events like burst pipes that cause extensive home damage.

Leaks in hard-to-reach places require the use of an infrared camera for identification. If the leak is concealed behind sheetrock, it could slowly seep out over weeks or months and cause extensive mold and water damage to the interior of your home.

Polybutylene pipe leaks can have a significant impact on your home’s value and insurability. Some Real Estate Agents won’t show homes with PB pipe, while some insurers do not include it in their policies due to its potential risk.

If you uncover a leak in a polybutylene pipe, contact a plumber immediately to stop the damage before it worsens. Not only could repairs to this issue cost thousands of dollars, but replacing your entire plumbing system including new pipes and fittings may be necessary as well.

Leaks inside walls

Polybutylene pipe leaks inside walls when they fail, leading to extensive property damage and even decreasing your home’s value. When this occurs, it’s essential that the leak be fixed promptly.

A common issue with polybutylene pipes is they react with chlorine and other chemicals in tap water, breaking down the plastic over time. This causes fittings to become brittle and flake apart, leading to deeper cracks which eventually lead to polybutylene pipe breakage and severe water damage to your home.

Polybutylene pipes can corrode and rust over time, necessitating replacement. Corroded pipes may be difficult to locate and repair on your own, making it a wise idea to hire an experienced plumber to inspect your system for you.

Polybutylene pipes that corrode can contaminate the water, leading to serious health issues for you and your family members. Not only this, but it could cause more medical expenses as a result of having sick family members.

Leaks in a home can cause extensive damage, such as to wood framing and drywall, air conditioning/heating units, flooring, furniture – plus spread mold spores throughout your property. Not only does this reduce its value but it may also raise insurance rates.

If your home was constructed between 1978 and 1995, be aware of polybutylene pipes. This type of pipe can deteriorate quickly, so make sure to inspect for it when buying or selling your property.

Thankfully, there is no legal requirement to remove polybutylene pipe from your home when you purchase or sell it. Nonetheless, make sure your home inspector checks for this material beforehand.

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