Over the past few weeks, with multiple transactions in the works, we have noticed a HUGE issue with polybutylene piping in the Central Florida area. A lot of the time, our clients had no idea their house had “poly” and that it was costing them a fortune. So we’re here to save you the time and money that poly piping can cost you!
What is polybutylene piping?
Polybutylene piping is a type of plastic resin that was used in the building of water supply piping throughout the late 70’s and into the early 90’s. It was believed to be the “pipe of the future” due to it’s low cost and ease of installation. It was primarily used in places like Florida, where construction boomed in the 80’s. Statistics show that at least one of every four houses was built with polybutylene piping, meaning that A LOT of people can have a potential issue with their water supply and piping.
What is the problem with polybutylene?
The problem with polybutylene piping is that it can burst, deteriorate, and malfunction under many different circumstances. Often times, oxidants such as chlorine that are found in the public water supply can react with the polybutylene and cause it to deteriorate and/or micro-fracture, which results in a weaker infrastructure of the piping system as a whole. A lot of cases have shown improper installation in homes and commercial properties that have also caused damage. Many cases were filed about polybutylene piping and the damages it caused, but until 1995, there was no regulation on it and it’s use in piping systems across the nation. That is until a $1 Billion lawsuit filed between Cox vs. Shell Oil in 1995. Following this lawsuit, the U.S. Building Codes no longer accepted polybutylene piping and manufacturers agreed to no longer produce the product.
How does this effect me?
You need to be aware of polybutylene whether you’re buying, selling, or investing. Not only can it put you and your family at risk, but your entire property can be severely damaged. Once a polybutylene pipe/piping system has acquired enough micro-fractures due to disinfectants, oxidants, etc. the piping will rupture and cause serious structural damage to both a home/office building and the personal items inside. These are also dangerous because you can hardly detect it before it’s too late. The piping is underground and not visible until it has already caused detrimental damage. Unfortunately, since poly piping isn’t accepted by U.S. Building Codes, insurance won’t cover much of it. Therefore, if you have poly and it ruptures, damaging your home, the average deductible is around $50,000, much more than most people can afford out of pocket.
Another reason you should consider your piping is because polybutylene can dramatically decrease the value of your home due to the liability of it rupturing. When selling you may want to consider replacing it before the sale to guarantee a good sale price that you deserve. Vice versa, if you’re buying, you may want to ask the seller to replace the poly piping before you close on the home.
If you have any questions or concerns about your home or the piping you might have, feel free to reach out to a local plumbing company or call us at 321-348-8720 and we can help you further!