Any house built between 1980 and 1998 should be checked for polybutylene piping.
Knowing whether or not a home has polybutylene is important. Polybutylene reacts with chlorine in the water and will start to develop pinhole leaks at anytime. Knowing if your home contains polybutylene plumbing is important so you can take precautions.
Beware of gray pipes: Polybutylene is a gray tube that carries potable water through many homes. PB is pretty much the only gray water pipe ever installed in homes. PB tubing found in homes will have a dimeter of 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, or 1 inch. If there is a pipe larger that 1″ diameter that it also gray you may be looking at a utility conduit or drain line. Sections of polybutylene pipe are joined together using crimp rings and fittings. Crimp rings used in polybutylene plumbing are aluminum or copper. Fittings can be plastic, copper, or aluminum.
Now that you know how to properly identify polybutylene the next step is finding it. In many house finding the PB is very easy and in others it can be a challenge. Houses built on a slab or finished basement may require cutting into the wall to ID the piping.
Places to look for polybytlene:
- unfinshed basement areas.
- the crawlspace
- in the water heater closet
- Stubbed out under the kitchen sink, lavatory, or next to a toilet.
This is what polybutylene pipe commonly looks like.
Of course the easiest way to identify PB is to have a company like ours (call us if you’re in Metro Atlanta) come by and do all that for you.