Polybutylene pipes: what are they?

Plastic resin is used to make polybutylene (PB) pipes, which were a cheap and convenient response to the 1975–1995 construction boom. With the expectation that they would outlive most other piping materials, they enabled simple to install residential plumbing systems in millions of houses.

Because they were less expensive than other materials like copper pipes and took less time and skill to install, homebuilders regarded them as a godsend. PB pipe was used in the construction of 6 to 10 million homes between the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. The majority of them were in Texas and other southern states.

Identification of polybutylene pipe

Flexible 1 "or ½" pipes made of polybutylene are often gray or blue, but they can also be silver, cream, or black. The mark "PB2110" on the pipe's side is a surefire indicator that you have PB pipe in your house.

Examples of fittings and pipes made of polybutylene

Only water supply lines made and polybutylene shut off valve were put in place. They are not used as vent, sewer, or drain pipe. They may usually be found where:

  • Your water heater is connected.
  • A main shutdown valve.
  • Connected to toilets and sinks.
  • Along exposed pipes in basement ceilings.

It is significant to highlight that throughout the relevant time period, polybutylene was often used to construct the main water pipes in residences. You cannot recognize or determine if these are broken since they are hidden. It's likely that your waterline is polybutylene if your house has other polybutylene lines.

Another crucial point is that installing PB pipe does not rule out the option of installing copper piping next to sinks and other fixtures. Plumbers frequently created "outlets" where they attached more aesthetically pleasing copper fittings to exposed plumbing components in a residence. Your walls or ceilings might still contain PB.

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors advises installing polybutylene pipe in place of copper in all residences.