Poly-b piping: what it is and why to consider replacing it

One of the important aspects of being a homeowner is being familiar with the working systems of your home. This means things such as your furnace, HVAC system, what lights you have installed and even your plumbing system. With plumbing, it’s particularly important to know if you have poly-b pipes in your home.

If you’ve already had to do repairs on your pipes and they are poly-b, it may just be the first of many repairs. This is because the pipes are prone to breaking and spouting leaks, so many companies recommend simply replacing the pipes.

Always Plumbing and Heating Ltd. in Edmonton provide full home pipe-replacement services to ensure your home is safe from leaks or breaks. They also share what poly-b piping is and why you should consider replacing them.

What is poly-b piping and what is the issue?

Poly-b or polybutylene pipes were used extensively in homes during the 1970s and 1990s as a cheaper alternative to copper. In appearance, poly-b is a light gray, flexible plastic that may be stamped with “PB2110” somewhere along the pipe. The problem with poly-b pipes is that they began to spring leaks shortly into their lifespan. This led to mold developing behind walls in homes and in some cases full-blown floods, resulting in serious and costly water damage expenses.

The cause of the leaks was because the interior of the piping wasn’t, and isn’t, able to handle hot water or chemicals without rapidly breaking down. The lifespan of the pipes as well, only lasts for 10-15 years before they need to be replaced. Unfortunately, because of the series of leaks and resulting damage, insurance companies nowadays are reluctant to insure homes with poly-b plumbing.

In addition, having poly-b plumbing in your home, can affect your home’s resale value, due to the pipe’s unstable nature. You can check if your home for poly-b by looking around any exposed plumbing for the grey pipes. Read more on how to identify poly-b pipes in your home.

What can damage poly-b plumbing? 

While poly-b plumbing should last between 10-15 years, there are things that can cause further damage and shorten the lifespan. Both high water pressure and exposure to hot water temperatures can cause early failure. The water pressure can create stress cracks and leaks, while the hot water speeds the interior breakdown of the piping. Chemicals in your water system, such as chlorine, will also cause the piping to break down even faster.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the state of poly-b just by looking at it. The damage occurs on the inside, so unless a leak springs, you can’t guess its state.

Maintaining or replacing? 

If you do have poly-b piping in your home, it’s likely that eventually you will have to have it replaced. With the risk of leaks and water damage, and the reluctance of insurance companies to offer coverage, many homeowners opt for a full house replacement. While the initial replacement and installation may be costly, you’ll save plenty of money in the long run. New pipes guarantee a long lifespan and peace of mind that your pipes aren’t going to spring a leak suddenly.

If, however, you decide to make the most of your poly-b pipes while you have them, there are some ways to help maintain them. Replacing any plastic fittings with copper or brass, will help protect against cracks in the pipes. Lowing the water pressure and temperature, will help alleviate the stress on the pipes and slow the deterioration from hot water. Also, installing a filter to reduce chlorine levels in your water will help prevent interior pipe deterioration.

Plumbers in Edmonton

With 20 years of experience and service, the professionals at Always Plumbing & Heating guarantee only the absolute best for their customers. They strive to provide absolute peace of mind in any situation, so you can rest assured your home is cared for. Whether it’s a pipe replacement or routine maintenance, Always Plumbing & Heating are the ones to call.

Don’t hesitate to contact them today for any questions or concerns!

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