The Dangers of Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene Piping also known as “Poly Pipes” or “Poly-B” pipes is something as a buyer or seller you should be aware of. In the late 1970s to mid 1990s poly piping was the pipe of choice most plumbers used in new homes. Plumbers used this type of plumbing instead of copper plumbing for easier installation. It is flexible and more cost efficient than copper plumbing. It is black, blue or gray and looks like a flexible water hose.

When buying a home, this is something you should ask your home inspector about. Most inspectors will be able to quickly tell you if a home has poly piping. When viewing homes with your Realtor, you can find out if the home has poly by checking in the basement, under sinks, near hot water heaters or asking your Realtor to get the Sellers Disclosure. The sellers are required to disclose this if they are aware. Sometimes, the interior of home does not have poly, but the water supply line from the street to home does. Sellers usually are not aware of what type of plumbing comes from the street to the house. During your due diligence period while you’re under contract on a home, it’s best to double check the type of plumbing.

Why should I be concerned about poly pipes?

They are known to leak. The pipe tends to wear away from contact with oxidants discovered in public water materials. Often, failure of the plumbing pipe occurs at the plastic fittings. It’s hard to spot which areas of the pipe are starting to deteriorate because this begins from the inside out. When the pipe becomes fragile it will begin to leak and cause water damage.

If your home has poly piping or you are looking to buy a home, this should not be a deal breaker. You can have this plumbing replaced but be aware this can be expensive if you have to re-plumb the entire home. This is one of several *crucial* items you need to be aware of when buying a home. Choosing a great Realtor who is aware of the importance of such items and hiring the right inspection company is critical. The Peters Company has great recommendations for inspectors that we know and trust. We also offer our clients a list of preferred vendors – call us today!


  • Amy Wade

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