Poly B Myths

Posted: January 28, 2014

Myth: Only systems with plastic fittings have problems:

For years the public/professionals in the housing and real estate industry have tried to deny that fact that polybutylene piping is dangerous and will eminently lead to pin hole leaks and cracked pipes leaving your house or property in shambles as the leaks cause destructive water damage to your home or property, leaving you only to find that insurance companies are not required to cover the poly b piping damages caused by its failure. In fact by their standards of indemnity, after the 2005 supreme court class action lawsuit, they are not at all required by law to cover anything related to poly b, and can infect deny a persons entire water damage coverage.

This leads me to bring up a major myth, actually perhaps the most notable myth circling around poly b piping. The myth states that “ It’s not the pipe itself that is bad, but the fittings”, this polybutylene myth details that if the homeowner or property owner has grey plastic fittings that they will leak, but if the fittings are made of copper with copper crimps you won’t ensure any damages due to the poly b failing.

The reasoning these people give to this myth is that the plastic grey fittings are made from poly b and will over time become brittle, whereas the copper fittings will stand the test of time and will not break down.

This is completely untrue. This poly b myth is wrong on so many levels, regardless of the fittings that were used when being installed. Myths like these are extremely harmful and can put average people out financially,when it comes as a shock and they still get leaks even with the copper fittings.

Myth: Because of low reported government claims, poly b is safe:

There have been next to no claims filed with the provincial governments stating that people have had leaks in the poly b lines. While that may be true, we ask you the question… How many people file complaints with the government about their hot water tank failing, or their toilet clogging?

Probably the same amount that are claiming damage from polybutylene. Truth is most people just bite the bullet and call in a plumber instead of going through the massive hassle of filing complaints, and sitting on hold with the government.

Myth: If you haven’t had a problem yet, you wont get a leak:

This is completely false. There are so many reasons and factors to take into why poly b leak i.e.; chlorine in the water supply, or how the product was transported from the manufacturing plant to the plumbing wholesaler. What is known is that with time all polybutylene piping will fail, we see even the most stringently transferred and filtered water poly b leak in the neighbourhood of 20-30 years.

Myth: Replacing poly b will destroy my home:

Although replacing poly b can be a very comprehensive job, experienced plumbers with the ability to re-pipe an entire home are educated in minimizing the re-mediation process and have the experienced workers to get your home into the exact same condition it was before. Minus the poly b piping of course. Services that come with a poly b replacement can include drywall and painting and the repair process is much less expensive than the potential leak damages that have been caused.

Myth: Leaking poly b pipes are inexpensive to fix:

In our experience, there have been homes in which a poly b failure has resulted in upwards of $100,000 in damage. When it comes to poly b failures, about 80 percent of homes end up with structural damage. This would mean that you would have to replace some drywall or sections of the roof in your home depending on where the leak comes from. Not only do you have to worry about damages to your home but also in cases where a severe leak is triggered, the contents of your home will also suffer the consequences.

Myth: Insurance companies will cover poly b replacement costs:

Years ago there were scenarios where insurance companies would cover the cost of re-piping a home or fixing a leak but now, because the problem has been around for so long many insurance companies now charge a person a higher insurance rate if poly b is in your home and in many cases refuse to renew your policy. I suggest checking your home for poly b and checking with your insurance company to see what their policy is. Most likely you are better off replacing the pipes and savings yourself the financial headaches that could come from an incident. 

Myth: Poly b was developed and installed from 1978-1998:

This is also wrong, blog sites on the internet who refused to do their due-diligence made this broad spectrum up that. In reality poly b was installed in Canada between the years of 1985-1997, if your house was built before those dates you will have copper or lead piping, and if your house was built after those dates you will have a version of the new PEX piping. that being said 97/98 was a swing year, as that is when poly b was banned from the CSA/ASA, but if your 1998 build house was started in 1997 there is a chance that the poly b piping was installed.

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