January 15th 2020
Valleyshore Plumbing and Heating has been providing Red Seal certified plumbing and gas fitting services out of its Langley, B.C. office to residents across the Lower Mainland for many years. Whether you need expert attention in response to a leak, or advice on how to prevent one, we’re equipped to handle diverse plumbing projects with ease. In this post, we will talk about the benefits of letting us use our knowledge and experience to evaluate the condition of your home’s existing plumbing system to determine if it was built using Polybutylene (Poly-B) pipes, as we come across this in our service area frequently.
Many homes built in British Columbia and Alberta in the 1980s and 1990s were constructed using Poly-B pipes for interior water distribution and underground water mains. According to industry experts, Poly B pipes were installed in more than 6 million homes, or one in every five homes constructed during that time.
Poly-B pipes are made from polybutylene, a form of plastic resin. This material was commonly used in the manufacture of water supply pipes from 1978 until 1998. The main reason for the success of this material at the time was its low cost and the ease of installation. Poly-B pipes were used to replace old heavy copper piping systems and were considered to be the pipe of the future.
The residential use of Poly-B pipes was eventually discontinued due to poor performance; they began to leak and cause subsequent damage to homes. Here are some of the reasons Poly B pipes have failed in residential plumbing systems:
·Poly-B pipes are prone to damage from the high levels of chlorine added to residential water supply, which can ultimately cause leakage.
·Improper installation of Poly-B pipes can lead to hairline fractures in the pipes, resulting in leakage and damages.
·Where Poly-B pipes were used for interior water distribution, the pipes may have been bent, which places a lot of stress on the piping system, leading to cracks and breaks that result in water leaks and damage.
·High temperature areas of the home, such as the attic and water tank rooms, are not suitable for the installation of Poly-B pipes, pointing directly to their inadequacy for interior water distribution systems
Before you think about fixing your Poly-B pipes please consider our advice; it will vary depending on your specific problem and we can help the best when we get in to have a good look first. If you haven’t encountered problems with your Poly-B pipes, we advise you to wait until you begin home renovations to replace your piping system. However, because the working pressure of polybutylene is very low, we advise testing the incoming water pressure to ensure it’s within what we know the pipes can handle – otherwise you will be calling us for one problem or another.
Complete replacement of Poly-B pipes is not inexpensive, but you may find yourself facing much higher costs related to leaks and damages caused by the Poly-B pipes if you don’t replace them. At Valleyshore Plumbing, our approach to Poly B is to rip it all out whenever it makes sense. So, if you are renovating your bathroom or kitchen, or opening the walls for some reason, we advise replacing all of the Poly B piping and fittings.
The average cost of replacing Poly-B pipes varies from home to home due to house size, accessibility, where fixtures are placed and the type of replacement pipe used. An estimate from a highly qualified technician will be required for accuracy. While it can be costly, it’s a wise investment against the risk of future leakage and unknown damages to your home due to pipe failure.
Whether we discover old copper or, equally problematic, old Poly-B pipes, our aim is to advise you on the health of your plumbing system and provide solutions if we discover any concerns. Valleyshore Plumbing and Heating offers reliable and efficient service in the replacement of your old Poly-b pipes. Contact us today if you’d like to know more about your piping system and what it needs to keep your home in good shape for years to come.