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Polybutylene Pipe Replacement Cost

Polybutylene Pipe Replacement Cost

The price of replacing existing polybutylene piping in a house depends on a few factors:

  1. Size of the house and more specifically the size and complexity of the actual plumbing – all pipes going from the supply line (utility water intake) to all the different water appliances: faucets, showers, washer and drier closets, bathrooms, hot water tubs etc.
  2. The complexity of the walls behind which the current pipes are; not all current pipes get actually replaced many of the current pipes can simply be disconnected and then bypassed with the new plumbing (from a longer lasting material than polybutylene); this a great way to reduce repipe cost in many situations.
  3. The new piping material used. Some modern options are copper, PEX, PVC (or CPVC).

AMA Repiping can do a free estimate for your polybutylene repipe project. So Call us!

The Problem with Polybutylene

We love plastic. It’s cheap and easy to manipulate. We make utensils, bags, glasses and water pipes out of it.

How Polybutylene Came About

Copper piping, preferred for home plumbing for years, got a bit expensive in the late 1970’s. So, plastic suppliers focused on plastic resins for use in home plumbing. They recommended one resin, polybutylene, and touted it as the home plumbing pipe of the future. Builders installed it in millions of homes from 1978 to around 1995.

We found out a bit late this wasn’t a good idea. Many plastic resins such as PVC, or PEX are excellent choices for piping. However, there is a problem specifically with polybutylene. Chemicals in water such as chlorine react with polybutylene causing deterioration. This deterioration isn’t detectable by cursory inspection. The pipe needs specialist’s inspection to confirm it’s about to fail.

The Problems Polybutylene Causes

Polybutylene piping failures cause more than minor leaks. If the piping is behind sheetrock and springs a leak, the damage hides until the wall comes apart or mold sets in. Sudden failure is common and costly, damaging the structural integrity of the home.

How do you know if your home’s plumbing contains this piping? Take a look at the pipes you can see. If they’re gray, black or white and curved, call an inspection service who knows this piping and its issues. Many types of reliable plastic piping resemble polybutylene, and only a well-trained plumber or inspector recognizes the difference. Better safe than sorry in these cases.

What to Do if You Have Polybutylene Piping

It’s recommended this piping be replaced before catastrophic failure occurs. It’s costly but ignoring the issue is more expensive. In addition to lowering your home’s value, it’s likely to spend more time on the market if you sell.

As far as covering the expense goes, check with your home insurance company for coverage limits. In addition, there is a class action suit against polybutylene manufacturer’s which has paid out to homeowners, so you may wish to consult an attorney.

The best news is there are companies in your area who excel at replacing this piping to help save your home.

Polybutylene Repipe

What are the dangers of polybutylene piping?

The trouble with polybutylene, apart from the fact that it’s in millions of older American homes, is that some of the additives in the public water supply can damage your poly pipes from the inside out. And you won’t know you have a problem until water starts leaking.

If the leak is inside your drywall, you’ve got a major problem on your hands because it may not be immediately apparent. As the water seeps out of the fractured pipe into the house, the damage bill can go through the roof.

If the leakage starts under the floor of an upstairs level, well, the whole of your lower level may become waterlogged. Or even flooded over time if, for example, the leak develops while you’re away on holidays.

Often it’s the plastic fittings that go first, or the point where the piping joins the fittings or at sharp bends in the piping. Those bends create mechanical stress on the pipe and it’s believed that adds to the rate of deterioration.

What happens is this: municipal water contains antioxidants (including chlorine and chloramine compounds) that wear away at the inner surface of the pipes. It happens every time the water is turned on.

“What’s gray and black and blue all over?”

Sounds like the opening line for a joke, doesn’t it?

But no, this is no joking matter. Those are the colors of the poly piping that was installed in millions of homes and commercial buildings back when it was legal to do so. Gray was used inside. Blue was the main color used outside.

You can take a look at your pipes, and on the surface they look okay. There is no visible sign of an impending leak.

But what is happening out of sight, inside the polybutylene piping, is that the oxidants in tap water are making the poly fragile. Flaking or scaling may be taking place. After the inner surface of the pipe is first fractured, the rate of degeneration increases.

Worried? There’s an easy way to get peace of mind

Now, poly pipe was not used in every home built between the late 1970s and middle of the 90s, but unless you know for a fact that your home has no poly piping, it would be in your best interest to get it checked by experts. AMA Repiping will come and examine your home or business at no cost and with no obligation.

Give ua a call and secure your peace of mind.

The low-stress way to replace polybutylene pipes

If our experts determine that you have polybutylene pipes in your home, they can give you a fixed price (and a fixed time frame) for the remediation work.

And don’t worry. It’s not as disruptive as you’re probably thinking it will be. Read the testimonials here on our site and you’ll see how relieved (in fact, delighted) our clients have been with our workmanship.

Our polybutylene repipe services are second to none. It’s the only thing we do – and we’re really good at it.

Polybutylene Video

Learn more about polybutylene by watching this video