Polybutylene - Why Should I Repipe?
Polybutylene was popular in construction between 1978 and 1996. In 1995, the Cox vs Shell Class action polybutylene lawsuit was settled – with over $1 Billion committed from Shell Oil Company.
Polybutylene is found in homes, hotels, multi-family housing, and mobile homes constructed between 1978 and 1996. Polybutylene was an inexpensive, easier to install alternative to copper. Builders welcomed the pipe as efforts to maintain profits in a slumping economy increased in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There were approximately 10 million installations of Polybutylene pipe across the United States. Installations include interior potable (consumable) distribution, and hydronic (radiant) heating.
Polybutylene is alleged to fail and cause damage to the home and/or property. The pipe is extremely susceptible to degradation from chlorinated water. The plastic shrinks and become brittle, causing the crimp ring to lose calibration over the pipe and the fitting. Because Polybutylene corrodes from the inside out, failures occur without warning and often go undetected for some time. Below are original pictures from the Shell Oil Company class action suit.
Conduct an inspection of your home to see if your property has Polybutylene piping. Look for dull gray (or in rare cases black) piping near the water heater area, running to the fixtures (toilets, sinks, etc.). You will also find acetel (grey plastic) or copper fittings, with aluminum or copper crimp rings.
Don’t be fooled by copper “stub outs” which may appear under sinks and toilets, quite often they have been transitioned to Polybutylene via crimp behind the wall.
Buying A House With Polybutylene Piping?
We recommend negotiating the repipe with the seller during the home inspection. This mitigates risk of water damage, solidifies insurability and increases the value of the home. Your real estate agent should be able to walk you through the necessary steps.
Why Choose Us To Repipe Your Polybutylene System?
Family owned, the Team at Replumb Specialties Inc. has repiped Polybutylene, Kitec, Copper, Galvanized, Entran, and other failing plumbing systems across our service area since 1992. We are the original repipe contractor for the Polybutylene Class Action Settlement. Our Turnkey process includes the permit, repipe, drywall, texture, paint and tile repairs. We’ve successfully repiped systems in 28,000+ homes, condominiums, apartments, and hotels – including over 2,200 hydronic heating applications.
“In May of 2011, my husband and I sold our home and one of the requirements to close on the home was to replace the polybutylene piping. James and Replumb Specialties were hired to do the job and we were more than pleased with the result. They did a great job, were very efficient, a pleasure to work with and the work was done at a reasonable cost. Would definitely recommend James and Replumb Specialties!”
-“More Than Pleased”