Polybutylene Replacement: Well worth it
Many of our pipe replacement clients contact us for the first time after one or more bad experiences with polybutylene leaks. It’s common to have multiple problems in a relatively short period of time and it’s very tempting for a homeowner to continue paying two or three hundred dollars for each repair in hopes that the problem with the system will stop. We recently interviewed one such client.
In the months since closing, George’s family had an unfortunate time with the polybutylene plumbing system in their new home located in Marietta, GA.
During the due-dilligence period of his purchase agreement George hired a home inspector who found the polybutylene warned him about its possible failure. The plumbing inspector had said, “It could last you five years, it could last you 20 years, it could all go downhill next week. You don’t know.”
Prior to closing George scoured the web for information. “I mean, we knew there was some risk,” said George. “Most of [the information] I found online was talking about it being problems with the fittings or with the installation. With it being 20-something years old [we] figured the issues of installation probably would have already happened.”
George was correct about the installation errors. After 20 years problems with installation would have already manifest themselves. What George did not anticipate was that over the last 20 years the polybutylene pipe itself had been worn thin through a very slow and inevitable reaction with chlorine. Shortly after closing George’s polybutylene plumbing system finally failed.
Polybutylene pipes work great for a long time and then fail suddenly. The plumbing problems at George’s new home started shortly after closing. Within four months of purchasing the home, a pinhole leak developed in a section of polybutylene in the basement. A plumber came out and made a repair. Two months after that there was another pin hole leak. “We paid plumbers to come out twice and then we had another leak,” said George.
Knowing that a leak could occur at any time stressed George out. “At that point it was almost like [all the time] I was checking the basement to see if there was any water every time I was coming or going, or before I went to bed.”