Various types of materials are used for pipes like PVC, copper, polybutylene, CPVC, plastic etc. Amongst them, polybutylene pipes have had abnormally high failure rate. Polybutylene pipes, or PB pipes, were widely used as construction material in houses and offices from 1970s to 1990s. So, if your house was built during those years, there are chances that you have polybutylene pipes.

How do you tell?

PB pipes are usually grey, black and blue in color, and sometimes it can also be dull white color. Grey color is used in the internal house piping and blue for external piping. These pipes are fitted with plastic joints which also have increase chances of failure. Observe the following things to determine if you have PB piping or not.

  • It is usually half to 1 inch in diameter you may spot it near you basement wall entering your house.
  • It can also be found near the water heater.
  • Check near the water meter, pipes connecting your sink and toilets.

Sometimes copper pipes are used outside and PB pipes are used inside the walls, so to be sure get your piping inspected by professionals.

Why is it bad for your house?

Polybutylene pipes have a bad reputation of failing without warning and causing major damage to the house. Here’s why.

  • They react with oxidants such as chorine in your water supply and become flaky and brittle.
  • A single micro fracture will immediately result in multiple cracks in the whole piping. So when it does fail, it damages a large area.
  • The wall gets damaged from inside and give no sign of damage outside makes it really hard to determine when they will fail.

PB piping has a life of about 12 years, so if your piping is older than that you should consider re-piping. Re-piping will cost you significantly less if done without waiting for a failure since you prevent structural damage. And, you can also save your property from getting damaged in a flooded house.

Reduces value of house

If you are planning to sell your house in future, you must consider changing your pipes. A PB plumbing will reduce the value of your house. It might even be difficult to get an insurance of your house with this piping. Even the hardware stores have stopped selling Polybutylene parts so it is harder to get them repaired or replaced.

Every smart house owner understands the importance of a good plumbing system. You might have faced situations where your plumbing failed at a critical point and landed you in trouble. This situation made you none the less wiser. So have foresight and book an appointment with the best plumbing services in Edmonton. Pro plumbing professionals will provide you quick and affordable services.

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  • joe ngo

    November 20, 2018 | Reply

    I have a 1600 sq ft 2 storey house, looking to replace the poly b pipes. Basement is open suspended ceiling. My cell is 780-910-0520. Thanks

  • Terry T

    March 26, 2019 | Reply

    Great write up on the poly b piping, make sure to include that poly b was only installed in the Edmonton area between 1985-1997 and roughly only 20% of the homes with polybutylene piping in the houses contain the grey piping from the meter out to the city connection. If you need a reference check out

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