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Plumbing Issues from Polybutylene Piping

Posted on: September 9, 2016

Phoenix plumbersIf you’re a homeowner in the Phoenix area or looking to build your own home using a builder similar to Saussy Burbank, you might be experiencing problems with your polybutylene piping. If so, don’t stress! The team at AC by J is here to deliver some peace of mind. Let’s dive in.

What Is Polybutylene Piping & What’s It Used For?

Polybutylene tubing is a form of the plastic resin that was invented in 1970 as a replacement to traditional copper plumbing. Polybutylene was used extensively in the making of water supply piping from 1978 until 1995. Originally called “The Pipe of the Future,” polybutylene is a semi-hard grey-colored plastic pipe that allowed builders to build homes a little faster and at a lower expense than if they used copper piping. Although copper isn’t used as much for making pipes, there are still many different uses of copper, particularly within industrial settings. Copper has a high degree of conductivity and it’s also corrosion-resistant, which is why it’s a great metal to use for electroplating, for example. But in these instances for builders, this is why polybutylene is more commonly used instead.

The Downside of Polybutylene Piping

Phoenix plumbersThe problem with polybutylene plumbing is that chlorine in municipal water supplies reacts with the plastic, making it brittle. This results in breaks and failures that can flood Phoenix area homes along with other plumbing issues. The most common place of failures is leaking at fittings and joints. On some occasions the piping itself may fail because of being exposed to chlorine in the water that is constantly running through the pipe. This makes it almost impossible to identify from an outside examination if the pipe is genuinely in bad condition.

Polybutylene pipe generally takes 10 to 15 years to begin to exhibit signs of severe deterioration. It’s hard give a reliable assessment on the condition of poly piping unless there is a visible problem with the exterior of the pipe or its installation. Although some poly piping problems occur from improper installation of the fittings, most complaints stem from the integrity of the piping itself.

Polybutylene Piping Lawsuit

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In 1995, a big class action lawsuit was settled against Shell Chemical Company and several other polybutylene and fitting companies. A fund of over $1 billion was set up to execute repairs and to re-plumb houses that qualified. The time for claims to be filed under this settlement has now expired, so you can no longer file a claim for reimbursement.

Poly Piping Alternatives

Phoenix plumbersToday, PB-type piping, PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, remains popular because it has overcome all the problems and dangers of poly tubing and is much easier to install especially for remodeling projects. The new poly piping is popular among many home builders because it offers savings of $200 – $600 per home compared to PVC and copper piping.

If you plan on purchasing a home that was built between 1978 and 1995, have your home inspector thoroughly check for polybutylene plumbing. Otherwise you could wind up with costly repairs and have difficulty obtaining homeowner’s insurance. Insurance premiums could spike or insurance companies could cancel coverage in homes with polybutylene leak claims! If this is found in your home, speak with BST Insurance Brokers or your insurer of choice to ensure they are aware, and make sure you remove this piping as soon as possible. Oftentimes, transparency can help give you some breathing room with them on the matter, which could help lower rates down the line.

Call AC by J’s Phoenix Plumbers Today!

Phoenix plumbersRegardless of the size and scope of your plumbing needs, the experts at AC by J can make your Arizona home a place of comfort complete with a fully operating plumbing system. No matter the time of day, customers throughout the Arizona area have come to depend on us for all their plumbing, air conditioning, and heating needs. As a local, full-service plumbing and HVAC company, we are ready to help solve any home comfort problem you have. We even have emergency plumbers available in the Phoenix area, including Carefree, Cave Creek, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and more!

If you have any plumbing issues, let AC by J help! Plumbing customers get the same three hours or it’s FREE response time guarantee for emergencies that our HVAC customers get. Be sure to tell us that this blog post brought you to our company for $100.00 OFF any plumbing service!

Give us a call at 602-266-3678 to schedule an appointment in the Phoenix area-or book online!

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