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Old 06-17-2009, 08:45 AM
 
186 posts, read 693,507 times
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So in my continuing saga, I found a home but it has polyB plumbing, circa 1993. They have no known leaks, and therefore were never eligible for relief from the class action suit, that just happened to expire a month ago.

That said, it seems that if there were a leak in the walls, you'd not know until it damaged and showed, and could require ripping out walls to repair. How much of a risk is this in a house that old, and how much would it cost to repair?

The one thing I noticed about this plumbing implementation in this house was that each line has it's own off switch. So a leak in the downstairs bathroom has a valve to close it, while the rest of the house will still function. Not sure that really makes all the difference but better than nothing.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
1,149 posts, read 3,691,023 times
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We found the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, back in January. Gorgeous house - italian marble and solid hardwood floors, meticulously landscaped and large lot - it was beautiful.

It had poly piping. The seller refused to remove it - supposedly was a big deal since the house was on a slab, and he probably had to rip up some of those big ticket items. Deal fell through.

Go google polybutylene piping. I think you'd run away from that house as fast as I ran from mine.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:17 AM
 
186 posts, read 693,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedSurprise View Post
We found the perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood, back in January. Gorgeous house - italian marble and solid hardwood floors, meticulously landscaped and large lot - it was beautiful.

It had poly piping. The seller refused to remove it - supposedly was a big deal since the house was on a slab, and he probably had to rip up some of those big ticket items. Deal fell through.

Go google polybutylene piping. I think you'd run away from that house as fast as I ran from mine.
Was your house on a public water supply that adds chlorines? Supposedly that was the biggest cause of issues with polyB, no? My house is on well water with no additives. Does this change the perspective I should take with polyB?
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Sanford, NC
635 posts, read 2,637,620 times
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It depends, but the biggest issue with the PB piping was the connectors, not the pipe itself. If you have the plastic connectors, especially elbows, those are what would often crack and break. If you have the copper connectors/elbows, you are likely fine.

And in fact the class-action lawsuit didn't cover installations with the metal connectors if I recall.

Excessively high levels of chlorine as well as early defective installations have also caused problems, but most residential issues seem to be related to the plastic fittings.

If the pipe is relatively easy to access, and you have the metal connectors, I wouldn't really worry about PB piping too much. Barring some other installation problem unrelated to PB specifically, the metal connector installations will probably hold up a very long time, giving you enough time to consider changing it out when you have the time and resources.

In a case where the piping is inaccessible without major surgery, such as buried in a slab, that might give me pause... although in theory if buried in a slab, the pipe and connectors would be immobilized, and unless frozen at some point probably more durable than PB pipe not in a slab *shrug* But then again, citing the chlorine issues, long term installations with chlorinated water exposure may still be an issue regardless.

Bottom line, I don't think the existence of PB pipe, again especially with the metal fittings, is a sole reason to scuttle a sale or even give one extreme heartburn per se. But it may be something to have on the list of "to improve" later if the currently installation seems sound, and the municipal water supply has no or low chlorine content.

After all, it is estimated that 6 to 10 million homes have PB pipe installed.

Some more info here:

http://www.polybutylene.com/poly.html



Al
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:20 AM
 
Location: In the woods
3,314 posts, read 8,409,161 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potatosoup View Post
So in my continuing saga, I found a home but it has polyB plumbing, circa 1993.
Potatosoup, is this the house you are now buying? Just curious, I knew you were looking and had several prospects.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:32 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
1,149 posts, read 3,691,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al_roethlisberger View Post

Excessively high levels of chlorine as well as early defective installations have also caused problems, but most residential issues seem to be related to the plastic fittings.

Very true.

In a case where the piping is inaccessible without major surgery, such as buried in a slab, that might give me pause... although in theory if buried in a slab, the pipe and connectors would be immobilized, and unless frozen at some point probably more durable than PB pipe not in a slab *shrug* But then again, citing the chlorine issues, long term installations with chlorinated water exposure may still be an issue regardless.

That's why we ran from it.
See above.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:32 AM
 
186 posts, read 693,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by South Jersey Styx View Post
Potatosoup, is this the house you are now buying? Just curious, I knew you were looking and had several prospects.
Well my saga continues, I'm afraid to say because I will get quite a bit of blowback but I am back to the original house with the slanted floors. I found a restoration expert who feels that once the sagging joist is sistered to an LVL, that the upstairs flooring and door framing can be straightened by popping out the framing and flooring and redoing the subflooring, without having to jack the floor up.

I know it's not the *right* way of doing it, but for all intents and purposes it works.

The only issue is this house also has polyB, and it has lasted fine for over 15 years with no known leakages. Idiotically the sellers failed to take advantage of the class action suit, but it seems they'd need to have a leak of some kind to have done that anyway. The class action relief expired last month

Anyway, I'm concerned that polyB will lower the home's value.

I've had just a very hard time finding another house that meets my requirements for location and all other aspects.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:34 AM
 
186 posts, read 693,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedSurprise View Post
See above.
So it was the fact that the house was on a slab, and the fact it was chlorinated water? Or just the fact that it was on a slab?

What does that mean to be on a slab? How do I tell if a house is on one? Sorry if that is a dumb question, I haven't come across that term yet.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
1,149 posts, read 3,691,023 times
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Good article, which I forwarded to my realtor after my inspection. I recommend you read it, it isn't ridiculously long:

http://www.homeinspectoratlanta.com/...ylene_Info.pdf

Just the first paragraph would make me rule out your house:

The presence of polybutylene pipe can severely affect a home's value on the real estate market. Poly pipe generally takes 10-15 years to begin to show signs of severe deterioration; therefore it is important to know what problems can be caused by its presence, and what can be done about it before it does pose a risk.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Summerville, SC
1,149 posts, read 3,691,023 times
Reputation: 1117
Quote:
Originally Posted by potatosoup View Post
So it was the fact that the house was on a slab, and the fact it was chlorinated water? Or just the fact that it was on a slab?

What does that mean to be on a slab? How do I tell if a house is on one? Sorry if that is a dumb question, I haven't come across that term yet.
The house was on a slab, as opposed to a crawl space, meaning the pipes were buried in concrete. Read the article I linked above. I had no interest in ripping up italian marble and solid hardwood, nor tearing open walls, in order to get this house. I would have to consider not only plumbing costs, but the cost to replace the tile and wood, paint, etc.
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