Polybutylene Okay Anytime?

This system has copper fittings and is **only **used with well water which has a water softener. It only goes to the exterior hose bibs, shop, and drinking water for kitchen. City water supplies the rest of the home in copper pipes. (No Cross-over) Will the PB tubing survive here or should it “always” be recommended for replacement? The owner and buyers should be made aware of its presence at the least.

Vanguard Thermoguard Potable Tubing PB2110 SDR-11


I always recommend replacement of PB 2110 when found.


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It my understanding that chlorine and fluoride are the suspect culprits causing the deterioration of the PB. Since this system is not exposed to that, deterioration should not be a major concern. It is always wise and prudent to disclose that there have been issues and educate the client to the point where they can make a good/bad decision. If you make it for them you assume the liability for that decision.


Re: Polybutylene Okay Anytime?

Yes, it is okay until it leaks…then the damage the leaking causes can be substantial.

I agree with Joe in recommending replacement of PB 2110 when found.

That’s why I thought the PB would not deteriorate as quickly too. And in this usage it was not as great a safety concern to me. It is setup as a seasonal system too. I plan to give the clients some background about PB and leave the decision to them.

Thoughts from anyone else?



You can minimize the consequence of PB 2110 all you like.

You can point out the decreased likelihood of failure in Well Water Service.

You can point out the Seasonal factors of use of the property.

Bottom Line. You will be News at 11 when the Pipe Fails.

What will be your defense then?

also too many recalls on pb (from what i’ve read here in the past) for me to say it’s ever o.k. well that’s wrong, is o.k. to use PB in one area…the dumpster. (ha ha ha. i kill me.)

It is only a recomendation or suggestion. It costs you nothing to give it but may save you hundreds maybe thousands of dollars. What they decide to do with your recommendation is immaterial. Once you have given it the onus is on them to make a decision. I had a fella last year that did not take mine on PB and his dog woke him up at 3 AM and the hall bathroom was flooded on an off-grade house. He called me to tell me he wished he had listened to me but figured he had plenty of time to get around to it later. He was wrong. I always tell them, it will usually break on a 3 day week-end and you can’t get a plumber until Tuesday. They always laugh but they get the point.

There is still disagreement among many people, including plumbers. Here’s what I use (note that plumbers are licensed in the State of California, and home inspectors are not, which fact is the underlying cause for my specific recommendation).

In PA, Home Inspectors are required to be certified and insured. Contractors (Carpenters, Plumbers, Electricians etc…) are not. The greater burden of responsibility here is on the Home Inspector in making the right call.

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For helpful information about PB pipes and a class-action lawsuit, click here](http://www.usinspect.com/car/1203plumbingpb.asp), click here](http://www.polybutylene.com/), and click here](http://www.pbpipe.com/index1.htm).

Ah yes, it would be nice to be able to give the client links within the report, but alas, I am using Inspectvue.

Can’t put links in the report w/ inspectvue? I did not know that.

I used what Russel wrote above and recommended replacement of the tubing as Joseph suggested. I also gave the clients links to 3 websites that discuss this. And I contacted Vanguard, the vendor. They confirmed PB (of course =D>) and gave me the information about the lawsuit. The client will receive that too.

Thank you to everyone for your direction!


Received a recent email and call from an individual… (not my client)
questioning an Inspection Report…
(from someone in another State / Province…

That Polybutylene Pipe / PB 2110 is somehow “Acceptable” and “Grandfathered” under some sort of perceived Building Code…

**Polybutylene PB2110 must always be recommended to be replaced under all circumstances. **

I Repeat…

Polybutylene PB2110 must always be recommended to be replaced under all circumstances.

Obviously someone is writing soft reports.

PB 2110 should always be documented to the buyer when found in any home, and recommend replacement. Always. It is on you if it fails later.

When I see aluminum wiring, I recommend evaluation of the entire electrical system by a licensed electrician. When I see PB, I recommend evaluation of the entire plumbing supply system by a licensed plumber.

In neither circumstance do I recommend replacement. Frankly, in my mind that’s overstepping. Why not simply call it out as a significant item, state the risks and problems PB has had, and recommend evaluation by a plumber?

By the way, we also give out an information sheet on it so the client can read further.

Who resurrected this old thread?

It doesn’t need “evaluation”, and you know it. That’s why you give out a “information-sheet” to warn clients of the problems. I imagine you don’t give out an “information-sheet” for PEX or CPVC pipe.

You have evaluated the system, found a defective product, and should tell them what that entails. There is no “fix” other than replacement.


Well frankly I give out a lot of information sheets. On subterranean termites, how heat pumps work, aluminum wiring… PB is just another thing that requires information. If I don’t see leaks and damage, I recommend evaluation. As with anything else where I recommend an expert, I’m covered. By the way my summer home (manufactured) has PB and I’m not replacing it. It hasn’t leaked in 20 years.

That’s the trap every PB homowner falls into. It isn’t fine wine that gets better with age.

It doesn’t warn you before it splits open and floods your house. I wish you luck, but don’t be surprised when that day comes.