The longer polybutylene is in use, the greater the risk of serious complications and catastrophic failure. Between 1978 and 1995, this gray plastic resin (also known as “poly” or “poly-b” for short) was used in the manufacture of pipes and fittings that were installed in close to 10 million low-rise apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes throughout North America.
In 1995, manufacturers paid out a billion-dollar settlement due to alleged product defects and resulting pipe failures, but only a small percentage of properties were actually repiped during the settlement period, which has long since concluded. As a result, there are still millions of buildings across the country faced with failing poly piping.
If your property was built between 1978 and 1995 and you have polybutylene pipes, it’s almost a guarantee that your property is facing a threatening combination of a defective product and an aging piping system that is between 23 and 40 years old – a recipe for potential disaster.
The primary problem with poly stems from common water additives such as chlorine, that attack poly pipes and fittings, causing cracking and stress fractures. These cracks and fractures lead to catastrophic leaks and flooding, resulting in property damage, mold infestation, higher insurance premiums or canceled coverage, overall higher expenses and upset residents.
In addition, the existence of poly pipes in a property is impacting real estate transactions from both the buyer side (inability to secure financing or insurance) and the seller side (decreased valuation and increased risk). Many lenders now require polybutylene pipe replacement as a condition of a buy, sell or refinance property transaction.
So how do you know if your property is at risk? Consider the age of your property and look for polybutylene pipes that are usually gray and visible near water heaters, sinks, and toilets. And, even if you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist on your property. They may have been used in conjunction with copper pipe behind the walls, ceilings and foundations.
Don’t wait until this threat becomes a reality. Pipe up and give us a call for a free consultation to learn more about our One Call Repipe Solution for replacing polybutylene piping systems.