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I am looking at houses to buy and I was curious as to peoples thoughts on polybutylene. I hear things that it deteriorates quickly but I have not talked to anyone that it has actually happened too. Any thoughts will be appreciated because I love this house I am looking at and the piping appears to be polybutylene.
 

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Dan said:
I am looking at houses to buy and I was curious as to peoples thoughts on polybutylene. I hear things that it deteriorates quickly but I have not talked to anyone that it has actually happened too. Any thoughts will be appreciated because I love this house I am looking at and the piping appears to be polybutylene.
As in PVC?

Actual polybutylene is junk, was a massive law suit years ago about it.

Polybutylene is going to be greyish blue in color and is of a flexible nature.
 

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I've got polybutylene in my house and the piping is fine. What you have to watch out for is failing copper crimps and tees. My house is about 20yrs old and I've had to replace several tees. If you have easy access to the plumbing through a crawl space then I wouldn't be too concerned.

If you have to replace a tee all of a sudden go get some shark bite fittings and a pex cutter from home depot. Pex is easy to work with and the shark bite fittings are compression type and work in a pinch. You may wish to keep a tee, a coupling, and a quarter turn shutoff valve in your parts stash for field-expedient fixes.
 

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hkdave said:
In other words, just a matter of time.
:shakehead: No, it does not.
 

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I had the poly replaced in my front yard as part of the lawsuit about 10 years back.

The water line sheared at the foundation while I was on vacation. My neighbor noticed I had a new fountain in my yard when the jet of water dug through the dirt to the surface and sprayed up into the air. She cut off my house's water at the street valve. Excellent neighbor!

25' of blue-poly piping replaced by copper.
 

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I wish I could count on my neighbors to do that. One of my neighbors had it bust and he had spent a few days fixing it. Needless to say his family was without water in the house till it was fixed.
 

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It's all in the installation. We had a house several years ago that I ended up stripping it all out and replacing it with PVC. The plumber had bent the poly instead of using 90s, there were bad crimps, etc, etc.

The house we are in now has poly installed correctly, not so much as a drip from any of the lines.


Depending on how the house is built it may not be a huge issue replacing it. Call in a plumber and have it inspected and a quote to repair / replace anything that may be of issue.
 

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hkdave said:
Poly will look fine. It eats from inside out. Then flood...
This. We had all the poly replaced in our house years ago. We got tired of either going out and coming back to a leak or waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of running water. It is not just at the joints that break. It will break from the inside out. One time the plumber took out about a foot above a leak and when we looked inside the piece with a flashlight, you could see tiny cracks all inside the piece of poly.
We finally just got plain tired of it and had it all ripped out and replaced with copper.

Do what you want, but I would not go near a house with that stuff in it.

Edited to add: We had a leak one time inside a wall with insulation. Eventually, the insulation got saturated and it started coming out at the bottom of the wall and soaked the carpet. Until the carpet got wet, we had no idea the leak was even there.
 

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It's easy to say stay away from any house with poly but if you look most houses built from the early 80s to the mid 90s will have poly. It was very popular.
 

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Master plumber for 18 years. Poly is junk. The pipe. And fittings. Junk. It all leaks at some point and no rhyme or reason when. Some lasts longer than others but it all leaks. Id skp anything built with poly unless its a steal and your cool with a repipe.
 

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robfromga said:
Master plumber for 18 years. Poly is junk. The pipe. And fittings. Junk. It all leaks at some point and no rhyme or reason when. Some lasts longer than others but it all leaks. Id skp anything built with poly unless its a steal and your cool with a repipe.
I'm not a master plumber but I have replaced more than my share of PBL. If you think the old galvanized was bad it looks great next to the PBL. People who failed to have the PBL replaced during the time limit should be held to replace it on sale of the house. It's just too bad they're not. It's a let the buyer beware situation now.
 

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I live in a subdivision where all of the houses have poly pipe. You can not sell a house here unless you change it out for copper. Better to do it early instead of at the last minute. While the change out was disruptive you can not tell that it was done and we now show copper on our insurance record instead of poly.
jplapp
 

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jplapp said:
I live in a subdivision where all of the houses have poly pipe. You can not sell a house here unless you change it out for copper. Better to do it early instead of at the last minute. While the change out was disruptive you can not tell that it was done and we now show copper on our insurance record instead of poly.
jplapp
How will anyone know if you have changed the pipe or not before you sale? What difference does copper make on insurance than pvc? If I have my choice I'm taking pvc over copper any day due to the price of installation.
 

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robfromga said:
Master plumber for 18 years. Poly is junk. The pipe. And fittings. Junk. It all leaks at some point and no rhyme or reason when. Some lasts longer than others but it all leaks. Id skp anything built with poly unless its a steal and your cool with a repipe.
This. Can you get the re-pipe built into the sale? I would think that would be possible given the present housing market.
If you do go with a re-pipe, insist on copper. Cpvc is a cheaper alternative, and is up to code, but copper installed properly will last until the house falls down.

If you can't get it re-piped as part of the deal but still want the house the type of house can greatly impact the cost of re-piping. A one story house over a crawl space would not be that bad to re-pipe. A GCO buddy like myself might even be willing to help after hours or on the weekends. At the opposite extreme would be a two story house on a slab with lots of plumbing on the second floor. At the least you would be looking at a much more difficult re-piping job with possibly extensive drywall repair on top of that. Think several, if not more, thousands of dollars
 

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budone1967 said:
If I have my choice I'm taking pvc over copper any day due to the price of installation.
In my opinion this is short sighted. You are changing to a material that is not a whole lot better than what you started with. Any plastic becomes brittle with time. They say pex doesn't, I guess we'll see.
 

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budone1967 said:
How will anyone know if you have changed the pipe or not before you sale? What difference does copper make on insurance than pvc?
I think the seller must disclose.
 

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PBL (polybutylene) is not PVC, CPVC, ABS or PEX. Pex has it's uses but I would ot want to repipe a whole house in it. Copper is the ultimate choice but CPVC runs a close second. CPVC has only one advantage over copper. It's quieter when water flows through it. When I installed a tankless water heater on my house I totally repiped in CPVC. I have repiped other houses in CPVC over the years and it is a proven system that will last. I would not however use it underground. That's just me though. Many use it underground with great success. PBL on the other hand has proven itself to be nothing but trash. Those who wated past the deadline to have it replaced FREE because they were not at the time having a problem were idiots. New problems are still coming up and doing lots of damage to homes and in many cases the insurance companies will not step in unless they have a PBL risk rider attached to their policy. This leaves the homeowner on their own to pay for the cost of the repipe when (not if) it does fail but the added cost of the damage.

A fair example of what it would cost to repipe a simple one story 2 bath and kitchen on a crawl space will run about $3,800 to $4,800 for copper and $400 to $500 less for CPVC (plumbing only). On slabs and 2 story houses can easily tripple and add a lot more for drywall repairs. You might be able to find a cheaper plumber in this economy but it wont be that much.
 
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