Should I Buy a Home With Polybutylene Piping?

2017 Jun 15
Posted in: Plumbing

The short and simple answer? No. 
 
Why? Because polybutylene pipes will fail, it’s just a matter of when it will happen. And if you’re not home when a pipe bursts (and it will), this can result in thousands of dollars in water and structural damages.
 
So, if you’re absolutely in love with a home with polybutylene piping, have your real estate agent ask the seller to either:

  1. Repipe the home with PEX plumbing OR
  2. Reduce the price of the home so that you can replace the polybutylene piping before you move in

Note: While we aren’t real estate agents, we’re offering our professional advice as Arizona plumbers who have seen the devastating effects of polybutylene pipes.
 
Need a professional plumber to estimate the cost to replace polybutylene piping? Just contact us.

“Is polybutylene piping really that bad?”

Yes. In fact, these types of piping are no longer accepted by U.S. building codes and manufacturers have stopped the production of polybutylene pipes in the States altogether.
 
Why? Because various disinfectants in the public water supply react with polybutylene piping, causing the pipes to become brittle and develop small fractures. Over time, those fractures will eventually break through the outer layer, causing water leaks.
 
But here’s the worst part: over 10 million homes in the U.S. were built with polybutylene piping from 1978 to 1995 (before experts knew how unreliable polybutylene was). 
 
Now, a lot of those homes have replaced their polybutylene piping with safer piping (usually PEX piping), but many homes still have the original pipes. And those homes are at risk of property damage due to ruptured polybutylene pipes.

“I’m trying to sell a home with Polybutylene piping, what should I do?”

If you’re trying to sell your home but currently have polybutylene piping, we suggest you go ahead and repipe your home with PEX plumbing
 
In fact, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, polybutylene pipes can “reduce a home’s value or prolong its time on the market”. 
 
Why PEX? Well, PEX plumbing is a strong, flexible tubing that doesn’t corrode or scale and is unaffected by disinfectants in your water. PEX pipes last over 50 years, are cheaper than copper piping and aren’t prone to pinhole leaks like copper pipes are.

Need pricing on replacing polybutylene piping? Ask an AZ plumber

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home with polybutylene piping, you should seriously consider whole-home repiping.
 
Want to know how much this will cost you? Just contact us. We’ll send over a professional plumber who can inspect your home and give you an estimate.

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