Poly B Repair & Replacement
What is Poly-B Pipe?
Polybutylene also known as poly-b is a flexible plastic plumbing material that was popularly used in home construction between 1978 and 1995. Poly-b is generally identified by its light grey colour and copper connections and elbows. Poly-b was popular for home builders because it was a cheaper alternative to copper piping and was installed in over 700,000 Canadian homes.
Is it Bad to Have Poly-B Plumbing?
This really is determined on a case by case basis. It is true poly-b has come under a lot of fire, but a lot of its shortcomings are situational.
In Canada we do not see a lot of problems with poly-b that the southern states did. A lot of leaking occurred with the plastic fittings but most Canadian installations used copper or brass fittings and elbows. Another claim was that poly-b could fail or deteriorate when exposed to extreme heat, very hot water and where water has high chlorine levels. The chlorine levels in Canada are much lower than that in the U.S. so failure due to deterioration has not been quite as much of a concern north of the border.
Although some of poly-b’s shortcomings don’t usually affect Canadian houses there are some reasons why you would want to have your poly-b plumbing replaced. Poly-b is permeable to oxygen. Poly-b used in circulating hot water loops is prone to deliver oxidized water which can be very hard on water heaters and boilers, and drastically shorten their life. Poly-b can also breakdown when exposed to sunlight over an extended period of time. This means if your home builder installed poly-b in your home that was not stored indoors or protected from the sun it could have a much shorter lifespan.
Can Poly B be Replaced?
Poly-B can certainly be replaced if it is currently installed in your home. The expert plumbers at Lone Star Plumbing and Heating can remove the poly-b pipes in your home and replace them with copper or pex piping. This can be a major and costly project but can protect you from substantial leaks and damage in the future. If you are experiencing ongoing leaks and problems with your poly-b piping it may be time to replace it.
Can Poly-B Plumbing be Repaired?
Repairing poly-b piping can be tricky because the fittings for poly-b pipe are no longer made. However if you are experiencing a leak with your poly-b plumbing and do not want to undertake a full repipe there is ways to repair the failing sections. Poly-b can be transitioned to different types of piping such as copper or pex.
Can I Extend the Life of my Poly-B Plumbing?
You can extend the life of your poly-b piping. Here are some examples of some steps you can take to protect your poly-b plumbing:
- Check all visible joints and ensure they are copper or brass and not plastic
- Ensure your home water pressure is between 40 – 60 psi
- Ensure no Poly-B pipe is connected directly to a hot water heater
- If your Poly-B distributes hot and cold water throughout your house set your hot water tank to about 52 – 54C
- If you have a recirculating hot water system in your house, you’ll want to make sure poly-b is not serving it. The constant circulation of hot water through poly b will most definitely shorten the life expectancy of this faulty piping.
We Can Help
If you have any questions or concerns about poly-b piping in your home please do not hesitate to contact the experienced plumbers at Lone Star Plumbing and Heating. We are ready to help you handle any problems you may be encountering with your poly-b plumbing.