Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Beaches of South Walton, FL
    Posts
    55

    Default polybutylene pipe service life?

    Hey - I recently completed a Four Point Inspection (standard FABI form), that got bounced back with the Insurance Carrier demanding that I include the "estimated remaining service life". This isn't too difficult for roof, electrical and HVAC, but when I put the estimated service life for the water heaters, the Carrier rejected it again, saying they want the remaining service life for the water system.

    The problem is, the water supply system is polybutylene. I have searched for some documentation on the estimated service life of polybutylene (PB) pipes, and the best I can find is a post on this web site:
    Polybutylene Pipe: Should I buy a home with polybutylene pipe which estimates the life of PB at 25 years....in a 30 year old house.

    Does anyone have any valid information on PB service life? Thanks much - JD

    Similar Threads:
    Member Benefits1
    JD Johnson
    Beach To Bayou Property Inspections

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    That sounds about right, it should have been changed out about 5 years ago
    Seriously, I don't get involved much in service life but PB is a leak waiting to happen in my area and I recommend changing it out.
    The NAHB does not list any plumbing supply pipe.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
    Posts
    2,481

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Quote Originally Posted by JD Johnson View Post
    Hey - I recently completed a Four Point Inspection (standard FABI form), that got bounced back with the Insurance Carrier demanding that I include the "estimated remaining service life". This isn't too difficult for roof, electrical and HVAC, but when I put the estimated service life for the water heaters, the Carrier rejected it again, saying they want the remaining service life for the water system.

    The problem is, the water supply system is polybutylene. I have searched for some documentation on the estimated service life of polybutylene (PB) pipes, and the best I can find is a post on this web site:
    Polybutylene Pipe: Should I buy a home with polybutylene pipe which estimates the life of PB at 25 years....in a 30 year old house.

    Does anyone have any valid information on PB service life? Thanks much - JD
    I have a problem with websites that have egregious spelling errors. Just unprofessional.

    I also have a problem with estimating service life. There are factors that we as home inspectors cannot anticipate, no matter how much experience and knowledge we might have. I cannot imagine how anyone can estimate a service life on a defective product.

    Estimated remaining service life: 0 years

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    As a Florida inspector, I'm surprised they care about "service life". Around here, if you have poly, they won't write a policy at all. I suppose someone, somewhere will write it.

    Service life or estimated life expectancy for PB would be N/A... It's done.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Beaches of South Walton, FL
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Thanks for your responses. The client was made aware of the PB in the property at the time of inspection, and now I am going to decline the Insurance Carrier's request to provide an estimate on the remaining service life for that material. It is frustrating that the Client is caught in the middle, but there isn't anything else that can be done.

    If anyone finds or comes across any formal documentation that can be referenced to give credence to the limited service life for this material, I would appreciate notification.

    Peace - JD

    JD Johnson
    Beach To Bayou Property Inspections

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Service life expectancies can vary based on many factors that we have no knowledge of. I have bounced back and batted away more than a few requests when somebody or a bank has tried to pressure me into stating a set time frame life expectancy. If the system fails prior to your stated life expectancy, who do you think the bank is going to come after? They want somebody who is willing to put themself out there. No thank you.

    Don't ever let a bank, lender, mortgage company, realtor, buyer, etc dictate how you report your findings.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Posts
    885

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Polybutylene expected remaining life: On treated water, one minute or less; On well water, one hour to 15-20 years

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St. George, UT
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    My brother's house has PB pipe. House was built in 1986 (abt 26 years old). He has had several very small leaks that started about 7 years ago. These leaks are in the pipe itself not the fittings. They have always been on the Hot side. the leaks are so small that you really can't see them, less than a pinhole. He says usually he will just see a we spot on the ground...(followed by much bad language).
    (I really should scan his walls with the IR.)

    He just bought his very own crimper the other day...tiered of paying for the rental at Lowe's. His next project...replacing all of the pipe. Luckily his house has a crawlspace and not a slab like 95% of the homes around here.

    I have seen some examples of this pipe on websites that show it eaten away from the inside with lots of white flaky residue on the inside. the pipe that my brother has taken out, looks as new on the inside as the day it was put in. So go figure.

    PB pipe would be a deal breaker for me if buying a home, or at least a problem I would say would deserve a negotiation on the price. Insurance?? Heck of a gamble for them. I can see them balking at this.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Hi All!

    Thanks for the informative topic. I am in the process of purchasing a home which, I found out yesterday, has Polybutylene piping throughout the house for baseboard heat.

    I have a formal inspection scheduled for 6 days from today. Is there anything I should tell my inspector to look out regarding the PB piping?

    Thank you!


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    1,181

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Lema View Post
    Hi All!

    Thanks for the informative topic. I am in the process of purchasing a home which, I found out yesterday, has Polybutylene piping throughout the house for baseboard heat.

    I have a formal inspection scheduled for 6 days from today. Is there anything I should tell my inspector to look out regarding the PB piping?

    Thank you!
    Theres really nothing to look out for, it's bad and it's gonna fail. If your inspector dismisses the PB piping I would fire him, and then search every web site, and chat board relating to it, then contact a couple plumbers in my area to get bids to replace.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin Lema View Post
    Hi All!

    Thanks for the informative topic. I am in the process of purchasing a home which, I found out yesterday, has Polybutylene piping throughout the house for baseboard heat.

    I have a formal inspection scheduled for 6 days from today. Is there anything I should tell my inspector to look out regarding the PB piping?

    Thank you!
    Make sure you know the difference between PB and PEX piping. PB is bad and has a proven track record of failure while PEX is pretty much the opposite and is the system of choice by most builders today given the price of copper.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St. George, UT
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    Theres really nothing to look out for, it's bad and it's gonna fail. If your inspector dismisses the PB piping I would fire him, and then search every web site, and chat board relating to it, then contact a couple plumbers in my area to get bids to replace.
    True, This should be one of the "biggies" we look out for. In my opinion this should not be a deal killer but a seller should realize that if PB pipe was not disclosed to the buyer before the original offer was made. The seller should not be too surprised that the buyer would drop their offer by the amount expected for a re-plumb after the inspection turned this up. I also think the seller, after finding this out should add it to the disclosure. If they don't they may find this a stumbling block after every poetical buyer has an inspection.

    I have a home to inspect Monday that was built in 1988, and I will bet you dollars to donuts that it will have PB pipe unless it was re plumbed.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: polybutylene pipe service life?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Make sure you know the difference between PB and PEX piping. PB is bad and has a proven track record of failure while PEX is pretty much the opposite and is the system of choice by most builders today given the price of copper.
    Jim
    Not coming down on you

    Saying that PEX is " the system of choice by most plumbers", in my opinion is not much of a testimonial. A few years ago the same plumbers praised PB plumbing. Many (most) plumbers like whatever is the easiest to install, then the cheapest.
    PEX has it's share of problems, from bad fittings to poorly trained installers.
    Every manufacturer of PEX has its own line of fittings, crimp rings, and tools. Have they been tested (approved) for other manufacturers products?
    This by itself raises concerns about the long term reliability of mixing different manufacturers PEX components. Of course a plumber would never mix components.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •