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Should Polybutylene Pipes be Replaced?

Polybutylene (PB) is a flexible plastic pipe used in the 1980’s and early 1990’s for water distribution systems within a home. Polybutylene was an inexpensive piping that offered ease of installation, resistance to freezing and versatile flexibility.

Research showed that oxidants within the water would cause the polybutylene to become brittle, and start to flake. This caused deterioration from inside of the polybutylene (PB) pipes which, in turn caused small cracks and eventually leaks. Because the damage to the piping was internal, it remained undetected until the piping ruptured under the pressure causing serious flooding problems and property damage.

Possible Cause of Leaks

When polybutylene piping was first installed, plastic fittings were utilized. The plastic fittings started to split and snap which initially was thought to be the culprit of the leaks. The fittings were changed to copper, which fit more securely around the pipes and had more resistance to splitting and snapping (see photo above) but the polybutylene pipes still leaked and many homes had catastrophic pipe failure. As a result, polybutylene piping was discontinued in new home construction.
Other issues that are believed to increase the potential for polybutylene pipe leak failure include:

• Polybutylene pipes left in the sun for longer than 30 days
• High levels of chlorine in the water
• High levels of solvents and oils in the water
• Pipe Dope (a thread lubricant that seals metal pipes to form leak-proof joints)

How do I know if I have polybutylene pipes in my home?

If your house was built during the time period that polybutylene piping was utilized; during the 1980’s and 1990’s and you can access your water distribution piping, you can check the pipe coloring.

Polybutylene came in three colors. If you have grey, you have polybutylene. If your pipes are black, it is rare, but could be polybutylene. If the pipes are white, like the pipes themselves have been painted, it is most likely polybutylene. If you are unsure it is best to have a certified plumber come out and take a look.
Okay, my home has polybutylene piping, now what?

The only thing to do if your home has polybutylene piping is to replace it. Most plumbers consider polybutylene piping a ticking time bomb and will explain it is not IF the polybutylene pipes will fail but WHEN. This is not meant to be a scare tactic to increase business, but a caution flag to homeowners with polybutylene piping.
Once the polybutylene piping is removed, it will be replaced with PEX or copper piping that typically comes with a nice warranty.

If you would like more information or you have any questions, please give Andy’s Pipe Dream a call. Andy and his team are expert plumbers are here to help you in any way they can.

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14034 W. 107th Street
Lenexa, Kansas 66215
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7 days ago
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We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service possible – on each & every service call.

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2 weeks ago
Andy's Pipe Dream

We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service possible – on each & every service call.

We love hearing feedback from our customers.

Have a plumbing problem? Call us, we are here to help!
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We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service possible – on each & every service call.

We love hearing feedback from our customers.

Have a plumbing problem? Call us, we are here to help!
CALL TO SCHEDULE SERVICE: (913) 210-2086
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3 weeks ago
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4 weeks ago
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We pride ourselves on providing the best customer service possible – on each & every service call.

Thank you for trusting us over the years, we love hearing feedback from our customers.

Have a plumbing problem? Call us, we are here to help!
CALL TO SCHEDULE SERVICE: (913) 210-2086
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Its the Final week to take advantage of Andys Pipe Dream Quarterly Discount Promotion - $50 OFF Discount when you schedule your new garbage disposal install!  https://bit.ly/plumbing-discounts

If your garbage disposal is older, keeps seizing up or just doesn’t perform like you need it to, now is a good time of year to replace or repair your disposal.  Its better to look into your options now vs. waiting until the holidays hit when you need your garbage disposal working overtime.

We recommend made in the USA, super reliable, whisper quiet InSinkErator brand garbage disposals backed by a rock solid warranty.
Learn More: https://bit.ly/garbage-disposal-units

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