Polybutylene was a plumbing material that was used from the 70s up until 1995 when it was considered no longer a viable material to use for plumbing. Now, it is not used at all because it does not meet code. It is important homeowners who have this type of plumbing know what to look for to determine if they have an issue with polybutylene leaks. These leaks can become costly so it is imperative homeowners with this type of plumbing seek repiping services as soon as possible.
A homeowner needs to inspect their pipes to determine if they have polybutylene. This type of plumbing is gray in color and features a distinctive crimped copper band at each end, which helps secure the pipe to fittings. Unfortunately, there are no major warning signs that develop as a precursor to leaks because the damage begins to occur on the inside and works its way out. Once the damage is visible, this means leaks have likely begun occurring.
Common signs of hidden leaks include:
- Higher than normal water bills
- Water meter moves even when no water is on in the home
- Mold and mildew areas on walls outside of the bathroom
- Water stains on walls or flooring
- Musty smells
A visual inspection can sometimes reveal problems with polybutylene piping. Checking the fittings will often reveal corrosion. If the band end and fittings are rusted, leaks are likely to begin occurring. If any signs of leaks are occurring, it behooves a homeowner to seek the services of a plumber before major water damage occurs.
Most plumbing experts agree polybutylene plumbing should be replaced, even if it is not showing signs of problems. It has been determined this material does not hold up well under exposure to corrosives in water and will eventually begin to break down over a period of ten to fifteen years.
If your home has this type of plumbing, you are urged to seek a replacement right away. Call a plumber so you can schedule your inspection and determine the best method to take care of your plumbing issues. With replacement, you can rest assured leaks will be a thing of the past.