The Problem with Polybutylene

There are a wide variety of pipes used in residential plumbing. Different types of pipes were used in different decades, depending on what material was popular at the time. Now, plumbers know not all pipes are equal, and one in particular should be eradicated from homes completely.

This pipe is Polybutylene, which is often referred in short as poly. This type of pipe is either gray, black, or blue in color. Many homes built during the 1970’s and the 1980’s were plumbed with Polybutylene, and might still have it. Here’s why that is a problem:

Poly pipes have an abnormally high rate of failure under typical operating conditions. They tend to wear out from contact with oxidants that can be found in public water, such as chlorine. Polybutylene pipes flake from within because of the water flowing through them at a constant rate. This makes it extremely hard to determine the condition of the pipes by looking at them.

When poly pipes become weak and start to degenerate, it causes them to leak. Depending on where they are located, leakage can continue for a long period of time without the homeowner’s knowledge. This can create hundreds or thousands of dollars in water damage.

On average, it takes about 12 years for poly pipe to start revealing signs of severe deterioration. Homeowners with homes built within the 1970’s and 1980’s should determine if they have Polybutylene plumbing and have it removed before it starts showing signs of failure.

The team at All Star Plumbing and Restoration can help homeowners determine what type of plumbing is in their home. If it happens to be Polybutylene, they have the knowledge and capability to re-pipe the home with a newer, safer type of plumbing instead of waiting until it fails.

If homeowners find that the poly pipes in their home have deteriorated to the point of leaking and water damage, All Star’s restoration team can assess the damage and restore the home’s structure.


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