The Importance of Inspecting for Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene pipes are made from a plastic resin and were in use from 1978-1995. It was used very frequently and was very popular because it was so cheap. But as the years progressed, problems with this type of pipe became apparent. It deteriorates quickly and develops oxidization, scale, cracks, and holes which can cause significant damage to homes and businesses. These pipes can fail without warning and often do so in dramatic ways rather than starting out with a slow leak. These pipes may last anywhere from six months to 20 years. It is not a question of whether they will fail or not, it is a question of when they will fail.

It is important to have homes and businesses constructed between 1978 and 1995 for polybutylene pipes. It is far less costly to get pipe replacement before pipes fail than have to do significant home repairs as well as replacing the pipes after a failure. Damage may also be caused by mold infestation from slower leaks. As long as an inspection is being done, it is also a good idea to look for other potential problems in plumbing like old pipes, lead pipes, PVC, or cast iron pipes. These may also pose a danger of failure or health hazard.

Class action law suits regarding polybutylene piping have resulted in some of the largest settlements ever. One settlement was nearly $950 million. Anyone with polybutylene pipes was able to get them replaced and was covered by the settlement until May 1, 2009. Though discoveries and failures of polybutylene pipes continue, home and business owners are forced to pay out of their own pockets for pipe repair, or repiping. It is estimated that nearly ten million homes were built with polybutylene. There are plenty of that number that are still unaccounted for.

It is also important to check for polybutylene for insurance purposes. Many insurance companies have denied benefits for damages done because of failed polybutylene pipes. Some insurance companies have canceled homeowner policies when damage was caused by polybutylene pipes. And others were denied coverage on new policies because the home had polybutylene. Insurance companies give wide berth to any structure with polybutylene. It is a good idea to get rid of any and all potential problems with plumbing before damage is done. Home sales have also been affected. Potential buyers turn tail and run when faced with polybutylene. Many sales are contingent upon the removal of the piping.

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