Polybutylene... what is the final say?

These message board pages are now for archival purposes only. Please visit https://www.nachi.org/forum/ for our most recent forum discussions.

Polybutylene... what is the final say?

AuthorMessage
jpeck
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Very Active Poster
Posts: 2335
Posted: Apr 13, 2004 10:07 AM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
Richard,

The way you described it, it sounds like PEX. The best way to tell is to read what is written on the pipe itself.

PEX is available whitish, mostly clear, red, blue, an earthen ware color (reddish clay color), many different colors.

Go here and take the tour: Vanguard PEX Tour

Mike, Habitat for Humanity would not intentionally install a substandard product, however, they could install a product which could end up as being failure prone over the life of the product. The codes and builders who installed PB did not install a substandard product at the time it was approved for installation (by the codes) and at the time it was installed. It turned out to be failure prone over time. The same goes for FPE and Zinsco, I would not call them (or PB pipe) "substandard", only failure prone and problematic. That is all based on hindsight, which is much more accurate in telling the past than foresight is in predicting the future.[url][/url]

--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Back to Top
Mike Parks
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Very Active Poster
Posts: 819
Posted: Apr 13, 2004 9:19 PM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
Jerry

Yes.

Mike P.
Back to Top
Richard Moewe

Comprehensive Home Inspection, Inc.
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 595
User: rmoewe
Posted: Apr 14, 2004 5:50 AM       Post Subject:
Jerry,
Thanks that sure looks like it. I will take the tour and see what they say. Does anyone know what the plumbers are saying about it.

So, how would you right it up in the report.


I told my clients that it is a lot like pb. I also told them that it was new type of piping and that only time would tell. I did tell them that if it needed replaced that the manufacturer, usually had to pay for the cost of replacement. Which comes from a class action law suit.
Back to Top
David Suelflow
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Inactive Poster
Posts: 80
Posted: Jul 28, 2004 10:17 AM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
The State of North Carolina requires us to say the following:


Polybutylene plastic plumbing supply lines (PB) are installed in the subject house.
Polybutylene has been used in this area for many years, but has had a higher than normal failure rate, and is no longer being widely used.
Copper and Brass fittings used in later years have apparently reduced the failure rate.
This subject house has brass/copper/plastic fittings. For further details contact the Consumer Plumbing Recovery center at 1-800-392-7591 or the web at http://www.pbpipe.com
Additional information can be found at http://www.polybutylene.com/ - http://www.gahi.com/Polybutylene%20pipe.htm
Back to Top
Dennis DiVito

Apex Home Inspections, LLC
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 150
User: ddivito
Posted: Aug 5, 2004 6:47 AM       Post Subject:
I don't recall the specific section but poly is still in the IRC 2000 code as an acceptable pipe
Back to Top
Larry Schmid

First Choice Home Inspection
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 219
User: lschmid
Posted: Oct 7, 2004 6:34 PM       Post Subject:
I just inspected a house built in 1907 with some of the old plumbing having been replaced. They used Vanguard Plastic Potable Tubing - 100 psi sdr-11 6-25-91. It is grey in color and uses the crimp on fittings. Is this different from poly? Thanks.

--
Larry Schmid
First Choice Home Inspection,Inc.
South Carolina Chapter President
www.1stchoicehomeinspection.com
A SAFE HOME IS A HAPPY HOME

Back to Top
Blaine Wiley
President
NACHI Member: Staff
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 4008
Posted: Oct 8, 2004 6:57 AM       Post Subject:
Vanguard makes Pex piping which isn't the same as polybreakaline. Here is a link to their tech info.

http://www.vanguardpipe.com/techfaq2.htm
Back to Top
Larry Schmid

First Choice Home Inspection
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 219
User: lschmid
Posted: Oct 8, 2004 7:15 AM       Post Subject:
Blaine, thank you for the confirmation. This is the first time I have come across it and wanted to make sure. Hope you have a great weekend.

--
Larry Schmid
First Choice Home Inspection,Inc.
South Carolina Chapter President
www.1stchoicehomeinspection.com
A SAFE HOME IS A HAPPY HOME

Back to Top
Steve McIntire
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Inactive Poster
Posts: 1
Posted: Oct 11, 2004 4:45 PM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
http://www.pbpipe.com/photos.htm
Back to Top
jpeck
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Very Active Poster
Posts: 2335
Posted: Oct 14, 2004 7:53 PM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
Larry,

Go here Handbook One and go to Adobe page 9 (Handbook page icon_cool.gif. Compare those identification markings to what you found.[/url]

--
Jerry Peck
South Florida

Back to Top
Douglas Brown

Brown & Associates Building Inspection Services Inc.
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 35
User: dbrown1
Posted: Oct 30, 2004 2:17 PM       Post Subject:
The following is a report by the Governmet in Alberta addressing the issue of PolyB used in plumbing a house.

Plastic Plumbing: Tempest in a teapot?
Chlorine is added to list of suspects... as lawyers solicit claimants.

Polybutylene (PB) Plumbing used for hot & cold supply piping in homes, also known as "Poly-B" has attracted considerable attention lately, most notably in B.C., Alberta and some U.S. States. Recent alarming media coverage has whipped many home owners into a state of panic.
Plastic pipe problems are like a "tempest in a teapot" said the president of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program. "The rate of incidents is insignificant - and our experience with it has been zero."
The Canadian Association of Home Inspectors, the Home Builders? Association and the New Home Warranty Program, among other organizations, have all investigated and researched this issue. PB appears to be an excellent plumbing system with a relatively low incident rate of failures, most of which have been attributed to poor workmanship or improper choice of materials.
So why the sudden burst of media attention?

Info packages have been sent to media sources and home owners, claiming experts have stated that such systems are failing. The lawyers who sent the packages have been soliciting home owners to join a potential class-action suit against the makers of PB tubing and associated fittings.
There have been very few documented cases of PB failures in Canada, and most authoritative sources indicate that the problems lie with the plastic "acetal" fittings, very few of which are encountered in Canada.
Chlorine levels above 2PPM may cause damage to PB tubing, however this is unlikely because this is a much higher than normal chlorine level, and would certainly elicit a flurry of complaints from residents.


Metal insert fittings, typically made of copper or brass.
Aluminum crimp rings have also been blamed, and these are also rare in Canada, where primarily copper fittings and crimp rings have been used. Many U.S. failures occurred in southern areas where plumbing was run in attics, which has not been practiced in Canada, and some plumbers took old brass fittings and used them for plastic... a likely mismatch.
In Alberta, where the level of concern is at its highest, the Labour Department reports the problem rate at less than a fraction of 1% of all installations. In fact, only two cases have been cited, and both of these were reportedly due to poor workmanship.


HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE:
Polybutylene (PB) piping used in Canada is grey in color, with blue lettering on it and a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) stamp. Some installations will have plastic fittings at the joints, where other will be connected with copper fittings and crimp rings.
C-PVC is a more rigid plastic piping with glued joints. It is white or creamy colored, with black or blue lettering, and a CSA stamp.

IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT PLASTIC PIPING:
Extensive investigation, including contacting the national research centres in Canada and the U.S. has triggered no alarm bells. Although the jury is still out on plastic plumbing, the issue appears to be blown out of proportion at this time.
If homeowners are concerned about the type of plumbing in their homes, and would like to set their minds at ease, they should contact their plumber or builder.
In the event that repairs or replacement are recommended, second and third opinions should be obtained.
A prudent home owner may also want to contact their insurance carrier to determine if there are any limitations to coverage, based on the type of plumbing in the house.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND LIMITATIONS TO USAGE:
? Do not use plastic piping in a continuously circulating hot water plumbing loop.
? Do not use where water temperatures could exceed 180 degrees F.
? Do not use in an application where the plastic pipe will be exposed to direct sunlight.
? Do not allow pipe to be left exposed to direct sunlight for more than 30 days during or before construction.
? Do not use acetal (plastic) fittings.
? Water heater connections should be made with metal (copper) connectors at least 18" long.
? Pipe must be kept at least 6 inches from hot water tank or furnace flue pipes.
? Polybutylene piping is not suitable for swimming pool piping systems, or where more than 2ppm of chlorine (free residual) will be routinely encountered.
Back to Top
dspencer
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Active Poster
Posts: 411
Posted: Dec 6, 2004 12:11 AM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
I have installed PEX and is a GREAT product. My distrbuitor supplies RED PEX for hot and Blue PEX for cold(all I have ever seen here). Pex crimp rings and crimper must be used to secure fittings. When installed properly this is great stuff especially in old home remodel jobs when you have to replace the old pipes! the CPVC is what I don't like.
Back to Top
Mark Timpani

PRIDE PROPERTY INSPECTIONS - SOUTHERN ARIZONA
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 647
User: mtimpani
Posted: Dec 6, 2004 9:04 AM       Post Subject:
I am in AZ and pex is what is used in new construction. Can they use pex in NY with the freeze/ thaw cycles?

--
Thank you, MarkTimpani

www.pridepropertyinspections.com

Back to Top
tgocze
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Inactive Poster
Posts: 2
Posted: Dec 6, 2004 7:49 PM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
We have used PEX tubing in Maine for almost 20 years. It can tolerate freeze thaw cycles, although it is not a great design idea to plan on allowing it to freeze. Wirsbo makes an expander tool for connecting to fittings, relying on the natural ability of PEX to expand and shrink back to its original size.
PEX has been reported to have a potential life expectancy 200 years at 100psi and 180F. It is after all a cross linked version of what we install in the ground to deliver well water to ones house.
Back to Top
Brian A. Goodman
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Active Poster
Posts: 463
Posted: Dec 6, 2004 8:04 PM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
I've only seen one house with PB myself. It was in a crawl space, all in good order without a sign of a leak, past or present. I asked the seller about it, turns out he did it himself. He said he put the stuff in, turned the water on, and had leaks all over. He called a plumber friend, who came by and took one look and said "You did it wrong." He shows the guy exactly how to do it "right", the seller does it all over that way and it all held up first time. It had been in 7 years when I saw it. I can't help but wonder how many of these "bad" systems were put in wrong to start with.
Back to Top
tgocze
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Inactive Poster
Posts: 2
Posted: Dec 7, 2004 7:04 AM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
I used to be in the solar business. We did many solar DHW systems with PB and the only leaks we ever had was with the plastic acetal fittings.
We refit those that were (most were done with copper and brass fittings) and never had a leak in hundreds of systems.
I have no doubt that high chlorine in water systems had caused tubing failures, but they never happened up here in Maine. PEX is a far superior material, that is harder to work with, but I have no doubt that it will work as suggested when installed with some common sense.
I was fascinated many years ago when 60 Minutes did a piece on PB (in the late 80's--I must be getting old). One of the things they showed was Quiktite fittings (Qest's plastic compresssion fitting system) installed in inaccessible areas like attics in Texas.Arghh!! I have and still do use these fittings for temporary repairs where I can see them. They can and do loosen when used in hot water lines. You just twist them a little by hand if they dribble and they work fine.
All these systems have their strong points and weaknesses, we just need to know them and accurately explain them to our clients.
Back to Top
Go to page: Previous 1 2 Next