Does anyone have any good Verbiage (narratives) and or good stuff to say when you discover Polybutylene in a 1988 home?



Here is one someone ( don’t remember :oops:) shared on the board.

*Polybutylene plumbing supply systems may fail without warning, damaging properties and personal belongings, and disrupting lives. Factors that may contribute to poly’s failure include: chemicals in our water supply, such as chlorine, that slowly destroy the structural integrity of poly pipes and fittings; the age of the pipe, the older the pipe the more likely a problem will occur; and faulty installation.

You must prioritize your home maintenance requirements and budget accordingly. Unlike most other maintenance issues, delayed replacement of poly may have substantial consequences. Due to the many documented cases of leaks, plumbing experts recommend replacing poly pipes.* *
You should also be aware that you may face higher insurance premiums, limited coverage, or may even be denied coverage. In addition, homes with poly often take longer to sell, and sell for less.*


This is the sugested verbage from NC

Home Inspection Report / Summary Page – Recommended language for Polybutylene piping (PB)
Polybutylene plumbing supply lines (PB) are installed in this house. PB was used as water distribution piping in many homes built from the mid 1980’s until the mid 1990’s. The piping and associated fittings have had a failure rate and subsequent leakage sufficient to have been the subject of several nationwide class action lawsuits. Copper and brass fittings used in later years seem to have reduced the failure rate, but the piping may still fail due to problems with poor installation, improper handling, or chemical reaction with the water supply. The piping in this house has (circle which apply) **[FONT=Calibri,Calibri][size=3]Brass/Copper – Plastic **[/size][/FONT]- fittings. The class action suits have expired and there is no longer any monetary relief for homeowners that experience a polybutylene piping failure. For more information visit: http://www.pbpipe.com . You may wish to have the plumbing system evaluated by a licensed plumbing contractor.
**[FONT=Arial,Arial][size=2]Standards of Practice/Rules/Interpretations Committee

In 3, 2, 1…

Polybutylene Piping (PB2110)

  • Recommend obtaining estimations for Replacement of all PB within the Home prior to closing.


Dear Client:
It appears that the home contains polybutylene plumbing. 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.

Joe Inspector

“Remove and Replace”
works for me… :slight_smile:

If I Did Not,
Every Plumber in Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Bucks Counties, etc, would be suggesting (along with their insurer’s) that I am responsible for payment of replacement.

May be the difference where E&O insurance is Legislatively / State / Provincially required.

Not recommending replacement of PB
will cost you $1500…
(your deductible)
…(Maybe more if you did not report presence of PB2110)

each and every time…

That Replacement is Not Recommended and a Client Files after Plumbing Failure and/or Closing…

Yesterdays client said he had poly for 21 years with no leaks. That has got to be close to a record in Tucson. Any longer years that you are aware of?

I have used that before Nick and thank you, that is a good one.
The last one I inspected, I made sure that the client understood what this type of pipe is and added this;

This home has Polybutylene Plastic Pipe being utilized as the Main Water Supply Pipe throughout the home, connected to Copper Pipe where the Polybutylene would other wise be stubbed out of the walls to accommodate a water valve, the Polybutylene Pipe is inside the walls at valve locations so a Water Valve can be attached to Copper Pipe rather than Plastic Pipe, which makes the connection more reliable.

Many people have heard about Polybutylene piping.

But what is it? Why do we always hear about problems with it? And is it still a problem? Polybutylene piping has caused a lot of headaches, but still has come a long ways since it was initially introduced. Let’s take a closer look at it and see what the concerns are is about the pipe.
What is it? Polybutylene piping is a gray or blue non-rigid water supply piping. Production and sale of this piping began in 1977. It was used because it is relatively inexpensive and easier to install than traditional copper or even CPVC water piping. The original joints utilized an acetal resin (an adhesive) with crimp rings to secure the pipes to the metal fitting.

The issues started surfacing in the early 1980’s in the form of leaks and major ruptures of the piping. The majority of these leaks occurred at the pipe joint fittings. The manufacturers of Polybutylene piping concluded that the majority of the leaks were the fault of improper installation. They believe that many plumbers used improper fittings to join the pipes and that the use of semi-skilled laborers has led to improper pipe joint installation. This may have contributed to the problem, but given the amount of problems seen, many feel strongly that there is more to it than shoddy workmanship. One current theory is that chemicals in the public water supply react with the piping and acetal resin in the fittings, weakening the pipes and joints.

Class action lawsuits against the Polybutylene piping manufacturers began in the 1980’s. The largest lawsuit to date was Cox vs. Shell Oil, in 1995, which resulted in a settlement fund near $1 billion. The manufacturers started a third-party administrator known as the Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center to handle the individual settlements. Additionally, the manufacturers sponsor the Plumbing Claims Group, which replaced the plumbing in homes with Polybutylene pipe leaks.

There were two major design differences created to correct the problems. First they changed the design of the pipe joint fittings. Now they are joined with a piece of copper tube with the pipe affixed to it by means of a crimped copper ring at each end. Also, the manufacturers changed the plumbing schematics to eliminate the majority of the “T” unions, since most problems occur at the joints. The new method utilizes a central manifold from which all the pipes originate. However, some in the industry are still leery about this product and suggest that these design alterations are not enough to solve the problem.

Unfortunately Polybutylene pipe makes the decision to purchase a house that has Polybutylene piping more complicated. It can not be overstated that the condition of a Polybutylene system cannot be determined in the course of a normal home inspection, since virtually all of the system is hidden behind walls and in the attic under insulation. Even if the home has this kind of plumbing there is no single course of action that is yet recommended for consumers with a Polybutylene system. Home buyers should be aware that problems might occur, and should arm themselves with as much information as possible about the Polybutylene system in the house.

My recommendation is for you to call at least three different Licensed Plumbers and ask them what they think of the pipe, is there a sincere need to replace the Pipe? Could the pipe begin to leak in the future? Would I be better off having the Pipe replaced with Copper, PEX Plastic, or CPVC Plastic Pipe?

I have my own personal opinion of the Pipe because I have witnessed failures in many homes and commercial buildings in the last twenty five years, I have never witnessed Copper, PEX, or CPVC Plastic Pipes fail because of the pipe in and of itself, therefore you should come to your own conclusion about the Pipe after talking to as many experts as possible before the Home Inspection contingency. If you have concerns, I suggest having the Polybutylene Pipe replaced before you close escrow.

And to say the least, they did not buy the home. :slight_smile:

Thanks to all who chimed in here. I forgot a few pics.


Yep, that’s PB.