Polybutylene, or Poly-B plumbing is a type of grey plastic water pipe widely used in construction projects. This piping system isn’t used anymore but was popular during the 1970’s and homes built through the 1990’s. This might seem like a problem of the past but there are still plenty of properties across Canada dealing with this unreliable construction material. For most property owners, this means a complete replacement of their system. Before ripping out pipes and incurring a bunch of additional costs, it is important to understand the ins and outs of your system. Who better to consult than an experienced plumbing professional?
What To Know About Poly-B
Like many construction materials, poly-b water pipes seemed great at first but proved to be faulty over time. It took 10-15 years after installation to realize that this “cost-effective” alternative was not as efficient as it seemed. Because pipes are made from plastic and not metal, they are unable to handle high pressure or heat. This is bad news for a water pipe! Whether these pipes are visible or hidden behind the scenes, leaks are dangerous for properties along with health and wellness.
What Is Causing Leaks?
The signs that you are dealing with leaks can be anything from dripping water, to the damage it leaves behind – or even mold! Identifying an issue is one thing but tracking down its source is another. When dealing with Polybutylene plumbing, the main reasons for leaks are:
Water Pressure: This type of plastic cannot handle high pressure water flow. If there are weakened or damaged areas inside a pipe, additional pressure can make the situation worse. Dropping water pressure in fixtures that use poly-b might be inconvenient but it can help get the full life span out of these touchy materials.
Heat: Whether it is the pipe itself, or its fixtures, plastic can’t handle the heat. This type of material is often used alongside water heaters, making temperature sensitivity a major issue. Water temperatures can be brought down to accommodate tubes and fittings but if they are too low, bacteria can contaminate water. Don’t sacrifice the condition of your hot water tank when you can have help from a local professional instead.
Improper Installation: Plastic fittings are not as strong as metal ones, that much is obvious. Installing fittings too tightly can cause cracks or fractures that can let water pass through.
Plastic pipes will eventually need to be replaced with metal, there is no question about it. Major maintenance issues are often and unexpected expense and the cost of replacing poly-b pipes can throw budgets into a tailspin. Instead of trying to tackle issues all at once, plumbers create a plan of attack for your space. This can mean prioritized repairs or tips to prolong the lifespan of materials for the time being.