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Polybutylene plumbing  XML
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HomeWorkz inspectors

Joined: 11/23/2014 07:57 PM EST
Messages: 107
Location: Beaufort County, SC and Chatham County, GA

What narrative do you use for Polybutylene plumbing? Does it change if there are copper fittings?

G. Erik Alstad
HomeWorkz Home Inspections

Beaufort County, South Carolina
Chatham County, Georgia
Hilton Head, SC
Bluffton, SC
Savannah, GA
Pooler, GA
Richmond Hill, GA
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Mike Casey

Joined: 06/28/2014 07:21 PM EDT
Messages: 1245
Location: San Diego CA

I let the clients know there is polybutylene tubing in the house with plastic or metal fittings, and that it was not all visible for inspection. While I know the metal fitting system performs better than the celcon ones, I still let them know the system is known to have problems in the past and should be fully inspected by a licensed plumber. There is no money left in the class action lawsuit recovery fund so any re-pipe is on their own. Frankly if still there it's likely nearing the end of its useful life anyway as it would be 20+ years old by now, and they should inquire with the sellers regarding any history of past leaks and repairs. Also they might check with their homeowner's insurance provider to be sure the cover homes with that tubing inside.

A lot of people with PB in their houses had a few leaks, got them fixed, and pocketed the re-pipe money from the recovery fund and did not re-pipe their house.


Mike Casey
Director of Education
Home Inspection University
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Roy Lewis

Joined: 07/01/2014 08:26 AM EDT
Messages: 113

The presence of polybutylene plumbing was observed. This type of piping has a known history of problems with defective connections and the pipe splitting. During inspection I did not see any problems with the polybutylene plumbing that was visible, but was unable to view all piping. Recommend that you consult with a qualified licensed plumber if you have any concerns and/or for additional information.

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Joined: 06/22/2014 09:00 PM EDT
Messages: 100
Location: Dayton OH

We see PB all the time. One of our inspectors had one last month where the PB was installed and the slab poured over it. It also ran out to the street about 50 feet. The people walked when the repair price came in at over 24K. Did I mention that the seller had just laid new tilework all over the house?

Tony Burk
Accutech Home Inspections
937 344-4663
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Infrared Thermography

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Juan Jimenez
Seal Team 6

Joined: 06/18/2014 08:53 PM EDT
Messages: 987
Location: Richmond, VA

I don't have different comments for metal or plastic. It isn't matter of good vs. bad, it is a matter of bad vs. worse. I don't recommend a plumber, because they can't inspect it any better than I can. I just recommend considering replacement.

Jeremiah Anderson
P. Diddy

Joined: 08/02/2014 01:45 PM EDT
Messages: 610
Location: Blaine, MN

Juan Jimenez wrote:I don't have different comments for metal or plastic. It isn't matter of good vs. bad, it is a matter of bad vs. worse. I don't recommend a plumber, because they can't inspect it any better than I can. I just recommend considering replacement.

We just inspected a house that had PB plumbing and the buyer was a plumber. He wanted us to mention it in our report so they could use the information as leverage in negotiations. Most of the time people just keep using the PB as a way to lower the price and the house never gets new water pipe installed. I bet some houses with PB plumbing have had $ in price reductions over the years of being sold and purchased to get them completely re-piped and the money just gets pocketed, used to off set closing costs, or other things.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/11/2017 11:05 PM EDT

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J.B. Anderson Inspections Inc.

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