Real Estate

How to recognize if you have polybutylene pipes in your house

Polybutylene pipe was widely used in home construction during the period between 1975 and 1995, due in large part to its low cost and ease of installation. Polybutylene pipes can cause several problems, mainly due to the fact that they can react with water and become brittle, breaking loose and causing pipes to fail without warning. Because they can fail, it’s important to know if you have this type of pipe, and here we’ll go over a few ways to recognize polybutylene pipes in your home.

Obviously, the best way to recognize polybutylene is to have a professional plumber or home inspector take a look at it. You may be able to tell if your house has this type of plumbing by looking on your own, but it’s hard to tell if it’s damaged just by looking if you’re inexperienced. However, there are a few things you can look for to find out if you have this type of pipe. Once you’ve confirmed it, you can have a professional check for any potential damage and help you find a solution.

Polybutylene groundwater mains tend to be blue in color, but can also be gray or black. Black poly should not be confused with polybutylene. Pipes tend to be between a half-inch and an inch in diameter and can be seen entering the home through the basement floor or wall, through a concrete slab, or even through a basement. You will usually pass through the house near the water heater, which is a good place to start looking. There are some cases where copper pipe is used near the house and polybutylene pipe is used near the water meter, so it is important to check both ends.

Polybutylene pipe can also be used inside the house and is most easily found near the water heater. It can also be found running along the ceiling in incomplete foundations and coming out of the walls to provide water to sinks and toilets. Some areas use copper fittings, so if you see copper near the fitting, it doesn’t mean polybutylene tubing isn’t used for the rest of the plumbing. If you find this type of pipe, it’s usually a good idea to replace it, but this should usually be done with the help of a professional plumber, especially if it’s damaged.

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