Polybutylene piping was used in many homes in Calgary throughout the late 70’s to early 90’s, it is grey in colour and can have plastic or metal fittings. The reason you might be asking yourself if you should be worried about the poly-b piping is that you have probably heard that it is prone to leaks or you have experienced a leak yourself. The short answer to this question is that while it is extremely hard to tell, that being said here are some warning signs that it might be time to get your poly-b removed:
- There are multiple spots in your home where poly-b pipe has been removed and replaced
- You have had more than three leaks in your home
- The poly-b piping feels brittle to touch
- There are water marks or calcium buildup on visible sections of pipe
The reason it is so hard to predict if the polybutylene piping in your home is about to degrade is because the failures occur within the pipe. While there are many causes for the pipe to fail you cannot visibly see any defects until a problem occurs. When purchasing a home, it is prudent to check over the pipes in the basement and look for sign of repairs or damage. We have seen many houses go decades without problems while some have multiple leaks in a year.
So, what are your options?
Replacing all of the poly-b piping in a home can be costly but it is the most sure-fire way to get rid of the risks the piping poses. Replacement may also result in lower insurance costs.
Install a water monitoring device. There are several devices that can be installed on your main waterline that detect leaks and turn the water off to your home reducing the damages one of these leaks can cause. The Aquatrip is our personal favorite and is far cheaper in comparison to a whole house re-pipe.
So should you be worried? Its possible, however having a professional come out and asses the piping in your home could help to ease your mind.