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Replacing Dangerous Polybutylene Pipes

Replacing Dangerous Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene pipes were an inexpensive option that was easy to install.

Polybutylene pipes were an inexpensive option that was easy to install. Throughout the 1970s and on through the late 90s, many home builders used this material. Estimates project that polybutylene pipes were installed in up to 10 million homes in the US. However, as cheap and as easy as polybutylene pipes were, they were also dangerous to use. Exposure to chlorine and oxidation will cause the pipes to swell and crack, leading to major flood damage in homes. Read on to learn more about polybutylene pipes and the importance of replacing them.  

How Do I Know?

If you’re purchasing a home, many home inspectors to check the plumbing for the presence of polybutylene but they aren’t required to report it. You should ask the inspector specifically about pipes. They are often used in conjunction with copper piping and have a white or gray color. They are often confused with other plastic resin piping like PVC and polypropylene. Check for a dull or matte finish and a stamp that says, “PB2110.” The diameter of polybutylene pipes is about a half to an inch. If the home was built during the 1970s, 80s, or even the 90s, then you should be more vigilant about the potential presence of this piping.  

What Should I Do?

If you find the presence of polybutylene pipes in your home, you’ll need to have them immediately replaced. Even fractures as small as micro-fractures can erupt at any time and expand to cause a major flooding event in your home. It’s important to invest now while you have control over the situation versus waiting until it becomes a situation that you’re responding to. In that case, you’ll also find yourself replacing your personal items and making other major repairs in addition to replacing the pipes. Your plumber will likely replace all the polybutylene with copper or PVC.


Alpha Plumbing is a full-service plumbing and contracting company serving the Baltimore and Annapolis metro area with expertise in all aspects of plumbing. We’re family-owned and operated since 1991 from our office in Pasadena. We offer quality plumbing services at reasonable rates in a timely fashion. Our trucks are equipped with GPS systems to ensure we’re prompt and on time. No job is too large or too small! We maintain a fleet of well-stocked trucks and also own and operate our own backhoes for jobs requiring excavation.

For more information and to get a free no-obligation estimate, you can contact us on our website, send us an e-mail, or give us a call at (410) 255-5998.


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