Cell: 604-855-2521 |

What is Polybutylene Piping?

If you are buying a house that was built in the 70's, 80's and some even in the 90's, then you will likely find Poly B water pipes. The question I am often asked is whether they leak and will they need to be replaced?

I found this article that explains the issue well.

What is Polybutylene piping?
Polybutylene piping, or Poly-B for short, is a flexible plastic supply plumbing material that was in use in home construction between 1978 and 1995. Poly-B can be identified by its light grey colour and the permanent markings on the tubing. As a cheaper and easier-to-use alternative to copper, Poly-B was installed in over 6 million American, and over 700.000 Canadian homes.
What is the issue? Over the years there were a number of class action suits, primarily in the Southern United States, against the manufacturer of Poly-B due to claims with its potential to leak.
  • Initially there were issues with plastic fittings and elbows, which were prone to crack or break. In Canada we mostly alleviated this problem by using primarily copper and brass fittings and elbows. Plastic fittings, however, can still be found in some homes.
  • Another claim is that Poly-B piping can deteriorate and fail, when exposed to extreme heat, very hot water and where water has high chlorine levels. Chlorine levels in Canada are much lower than those in the United States.
  • Poly-B is permeable to oxygen. Poly-B used in circulating hot water loops is prone to deliver oxidized water, which can be very hard on water heaters and boiler and drastically shorten their life.
  • When exposed to sunlight for an extended amount of time, Poly-B piping can break down. Poly-B should not be used nor stored outdoors.
Should I be concerned? It should be noted that the vast majority of Poly-B related issues were reported in the United States. Very few cases have been reported in Canada and most of those seem to be related to poor workmanship rather than the piping itself. While numbers for British Columbia are unknown, Alberta Municipal Affairs is aware of approximately four Poly-B failures in Alberta over the last 20 years, all of which were related to improper installation rather than the materials. I’ve seen copper and PEX fail too, nothing is 100% guaranteed.
What can I do to make the best of my poly-B?
  • Check all visible joints for leaks or cracks and ensure they are copper or brass, rather than plastic
  • Ensure your home water pressure is between 40 – 60 psi
  • If you live in an area with very high chlorine levels, consider installing a water filter close to where the water enters the home
  • If your Poly-B only distributes hot and cold water throughout the house set your hot water tank to about 125 – 130F
  • If Poly-B is used in a circulating hot water loop have the system assessed for possible corrosion
  • Ensure no Poly-B pipe is connected directly to a hot water heater
What about home insurance? Most insurance companies in Canada do not consider Poly-B with copper or brass fittings to be an added risk factor.


No comments

Post Your Comment:

Your email will not be published

What is a pre-sale?

Example scenario: When the developer intends to build an apartment building and applies for financing, the bank will grant financing under certain conditions. One of them will likely be a certain percentage of pre-sales the developer will need to secure before receiving the funds.
It is common practice for a developer to approach several real estate investors and offer them an opportunity to purchase units of the non-existent building at a discounted price, and on good terms.

Once the number of pre-sales is accomplished, the developer goes ahead with the construction, which will likely take two years or longer to complete. During construction, their marketing team offers the remainder of the units for sale at market value to the public.

If you are a RE investor, you know that it is preferable to be buying at the pre-sale prices, not market value prices.

The question is, how do you get the invitation to buy a pre-sale?
In the past many years, investors have made substantial income by buying at wholesale prices and selling at retail prices even before they needed to complete their purchase. I saw many of them lining up and sometimes even camping overnight in front of the sales center to get a chance to buy at lower prices, but not everyone was lucky enough. You needed to be well-connected to get an opportunity, and you had to act fast.

Today is a bit of a different story. Several projects in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley offer really good prices and incentives to secure a unit now and complete the purchase two or three years later. The list of incentives varies from one project to the next. Besides attractive prices, you can get low deposit amounts (5-15%), low or no assignment fees, free updates, a mortgage rate buy-down program, extra parking and more.

A month ago, I helped a few of my clients purchase a presale in Surrey that sold out in 2 days, and I know of another good developer that will be offering a few units for sale as well.

If you would like to know more about these opportunities, I would encourage you to call or email me, and I’ll be happy to send you details on those projects.
Kind regards,
Tibor Bogdan
Century 21 Creekside Realty Ltd.
45428 Luckakuck Way #190, Chilliwack, BC V2R 3S9
cell: 604-855-2521
Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.