I used to work at a company that installed lots of water service lines. Whenever it would rain severely across the Metro Atlanta Region I knew that there was a strong possibility of upset customers calling in. These people would tell me that our company installed a water service line and that it wasn’t sealed properly or they would claim that the waterline had started to leak not realizing the true cause of the issue. After people figured out that the pipe penetration was to blame they would often become angry. They would be like: “Why would your plumber charge me all this money and do a shoddy job sealing the pipe penetration?” Sometimes they would tell me that the water had ruined their carpet. I remember one person telling me that the water had destroyed his collection of Playboy magazines. He said it was a priceless collection.
Polybutylene pipe replacement costs only get worse the longer you wait…
Here’s a story from one of our customer’s that illustrates the point.
George, our customer, noticed a fine mist spraying out of a gray pipe, in his basement. He did not know much about plumbing, therefore he started making some calls right away.
He did not think it could be anything serious, because the pipe was not dripping. Rather, it was only a fine mist. How serious could that be?
As a result of his calls, George’s family was actually very fortunate.
First of all, leaks on polybutylene plumbing start out as tiny pinholes that spray a fine mist of water. Then, they progress to become a steady drip, which consequently becomes a stream.
George was lucky for two reasons. First, the leak was above his unfinished basement. Second, he discovered the leaks and called plumbers, before the leak got worse. Polybutylene leaks always get worse, and they never get better.
- Polybutylene problems first appear like minor mist spraying from pinholes
- Therefore, the first warning signs appear, as if they are, insignificant
- For example, mist spray turns into drips
- Next, drips turn into steady streams
- Before you know it, thousands of dollars in water damage is done to furniture, walls and personal items
- In conclusion, polybutylene leaks always get worse
Recently we installed a water service line for a family. We were working outside the house exclusively. The job involved turning the water off, installing a pipe, turning the water on. It sounds simple and it was. The customer left before we could turn on her water. We had a choice of making a second trip to turn on the water or turning on the water, watching the meter for water flow, and then moving on to the next job. The water company turns water on and off without their clients being home every day. This is common practice. When we turned the water on at first the meter didn’t move. Then, after we’d gone, something absolutely unlikely happened. At some point a part that had been improperly installed years ago by someone inside an upstairs toilet tank shot up and knocked off the lid. (The toilet had been untouched for five years. The water had been turned on and off during that time with no consequences.) A small stream of water shot out the bathroom door out onto the carpeted landing and ran for an hour or so before the customer discovered it. There was significant damage. The customer felt that we were 100 percent accountable. We tried to explain how this wasn’t our fault. The customer did not believe us. We had a choice of taking full responsibility or going to battle with someone who was very angry and quite willing to hurt our reputation. We ended up not charging her for the waterline and then paying to have carpet pad replacement, carpet cleaning, drywall repairs, and free installation of a new toilet.