plastic?? (posted by Terry)

[ASKNACHI]This question was posted on by Terry (from penticton,bc). [/ASKNACHI]is grey plastic okay for entrance and plumbing lines


The grey plastic of which you speak is intended to be used as electrical conduit. It is a schedule 80 material, with thicker walls than that which is normally used as water supply or drain pipe. Whether you *can *use it or not depends largely on your local authority having jurisdiction. Check with them. For the difference in the cost of materials, schedule 40 pvc and cpvc (for hot water) is more than adequate for water supply, when properly installed. Hope this helps.

Gray plastic is generally indicative of Polybutylene (PB), which has been the subject of class action law suits. PB piping was installed in homes between 1978 and 1995. It is easily recognizable as a flexible, gray, blue, or black plastic, which include metal fittings that are connected by aluminum or copper bands. You can learn more about these pipes on the Web at

Electrical conduit should NEVER be used for plumbing purposes.

Thanks for that clarification, Jeff.

Good text for every inspector who finds Polybutylene:

It appears that the home contains polybutylene plumbing. Some polybutylene plumbing systems are the subject of Class Action lawsuits and settlements funded by the manufacturers. This home inspection report may provide supporting documentation needed to file a claim. A home inspection cannot determine if polybutylene pipes are about to leak simply by looking at the outside of them. Pipes deteriorate from the inside and can split under pressure. They can leak anytime without warning destroying furniture, family heirlooms, and even causing structural damage. Leaks can go unnoticed and lead to mold.

The condition of the polybutylene pipes and fittings cannot be determined by any inspection method since there are no visible signs of deterioration until failure occurs. There is no single course of action that is recommended for consumers with polybutylene plumbing. Many recommend replacing the entire system even if there have not been any problems. This course of action should be considered taking into account your personal level of risk aversion, the types of materials used, the age of the system, as well as past performance.

I cannot determine if the type of polybutylene plumbing system discovered qualifies for polybutylene Class Action settlements, which are due to wrap up in 2009. However, you can find out more by contacting the Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center at (800) 356-3496 or visiting their website at