If you have an older house, you may be wondering what polybutylene pipes are and the applications they were utilized for. Polybutylene pipes were a popular choice for plumbing in the United States from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s due to their affordability and ease of installation. However, these pipes have been known to fail and cause extensive water damage.
As a homeowner, it’s essential to understand what polybutylene pipes are and the risks they pose. To help you identify outdated pipes in your house, we have created an outline of the ways to find polybutylene pipes and will be discussing the benefits of replacing them.
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What Are Polybutylene Pipes?
Traditionally, pipes have been made from metals, such as copper, for use in home plumbing systems. However, in the past few decades, polybutylene pipes were introduced and became popular, particularly in southern states, due to their affordability and ease of installation.
Unfortunately, in the late 1990s, it was discovered that these pipes had a higher likelihood of leaking and bursting compared to traditional metal pipes, resulting in emergency plumbing issues. Eventually, the problems with polybutylene pipes became so severe that building codes no longer permitted their use.
How to Find Polybutylene Pipes
Polybutylene pipes are distinct, to the point where you should be able to identify them with relative ease. They are small pipes, usually ½” or 1”, and are flexible. They are usually either gray or blue but come in several other colors, like off-white, silver, and black. However, the easiest way to identify poly pipes is to look for the stamp signifying it. This stamp will read “PB2110” and is usually found on the side of the pipe.
While you may be able to determine if some of the pipes in your home are polybutylene pipes, you won’t be able to do this with all of them. Some pipes are underground or located within the walls. As a result, you won’t be able to identify them quickly and may not be able to at all. However, if you have found polybutylene pipes in other areas of your home, you can assume your other pipes, like water lines, are polybutylene too.
Should I Replace Polybutylene Pipes?
While you don’t have to replace your poly pipes, it is probably worth the investment. These pipes have a significant risk of breaking, bursting, or leaking. If this happens, you may end up paying more for cleaning and restoration services to fix water damage than you would have paid to replace your pipes.
If you aren’t planning to replace your polybutylene pipes, you should at least have them inspected. By scheduling a plumbing inspection, you can identify any significant issues that may be looming. Additionally, you can also schedule other plumbing services, such as drain cleaning, in conjunction with the inspection.
Other Types of Dangerous Pipes in Homes
While polybutylene pipes are a problem, they are not the only type of dangerous pipe that could be in your home. Other types of pipes are just as dangerous, if not more so.
1. Lead Pipes
Lead pipes are incredibly dangerous. The lead in the pipes slowly leaches into the water running through them. This introduces lead into your drinking water. Lead in your water supply can cause numerous health problems that can affect the brain and nervous systems, or problems affecting the reproductive systems.
2. Galvanized Steel Pipes
Galvanized steel pipes have a zinc coating on them that erodes over time. When this happens, the pipes are open to corrosion. This corrosion builds up in the pipes themselves to the point where it restricts the flow of water.
Restricted water flow is already a problem. However, if the buildup of corrosion continues, it will prevent the pipes from working at all. The pressure within the pipes can then go on to cause leaking and may even lead to the pipes bursting.
Water and Sewer Line Replacement Services
If you have dangerous pipes in your house, whether polybutylene or some other material, you should look into replacing them. Our team of skilled plumbers offer comprehensive water line replacement and water line repair services and will remove the problematic pipes and replace them with safe, new ones.
If you need help removing outdated pipes, give our team a call at 1-800-642-4419 to schedule an appointment. Whether it’s drain cleaning services or emergency plumbing services, we have you covered. We employ a team of well-trained technicians with the experience necessary to complete the job. We also have a staff large enough to accommodate your schedule and replace your pipes at a time that works for you.