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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Polybutylene or No

    I saw these water supply pipes in a 14 year old townhome yesterday and I can't tell if they are ploybutylene or not. The name stamped on them is "Themoguard" but whe I do an internet search, the poly pipes are stated to have a name of "Thermoguard".

    Do these look like polybutylene? I see very little of it in my travels.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    York SC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    yep, gray pipes are PB pipe with copper or brass crimps.
    White one is PEX

    If city water with chlorine, pipe will likely fail.


  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Orlando, FL
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Most definitely poly.

    Dom.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Thanks guys.


  5. #5
    Zach Cogburn's Avatar
    Zach Cogburn Guest

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    I recently did an inspection where I found similar looking pipes except they were all wrapped in insulation. I noted that they appeared to be PB piping which has a known history of failure and recommended a licensed plumber. I am glad I trusted my instincts that it was in fact PB. Believe it or not, the buyer didn't seem to think it was that big of a deal.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Zach, I once had a client who thought a 10+ foot long horizontal crack on an interior concrete block foundation wall with inward bowing was "normal settlement" and not worthy of the cost for a structural engineer.

    We can lead the horses to water but can't make them drink.


  7. #7
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    25,313

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Don't forget that white plastic dryer duct (or whatever it is being used for) is not allowed to be used for dryer duct (or whatever it is being used for).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Sheryl Davidson's Avatar
    Sheryl Davidson Guest

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Definately PB pipe. I have inspected PB claims for the class action suit these are under. You might want to alert the customer that these are under suit and may be able to qualify for a replumb. The dates for filing the claim vary dependant on house age, etc. so the customer should look up the information online. CPRC, Inc. (default page)


  9. #9
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    Mar 2007
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    York SC Licensed in NC and SC
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Has anyone found any good proof that PB pipe with the updated fittings AND on well water without chlorine is actually an issue?

    All of the PB info I can find only pertains to plastic fittings and chlorine issues with this pipe.

    Many inspectors may choose (or be required by the state) to report the same verbiage on all PB installations but there is this particular setup that has not been addressed at all it.


  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Has anyone found any good proof that PB pipe with the updated fittings AND on well water without chlorine is actually an issue?

    All of the PB info I can find only pertains to plastic fittings and chlorine issues with this pipe.

    Many inspectors may choose (or be required by the state) to report the same verbiage on all PB installations but there is this particular setup that has not been addressed at all it.
    I had PB in my home that I lived in for fifteen years. Never had a problem with the PB pipe. All of the fittings and crimps were copper. I was on city water that was chlorinated. I'm not so sure that chlorine is the main culprit. Many chemicals are added to the water during the cleaning process. Our water was from a deep well and all the was added was chlorine. Ammonia is added as well as this keeps the chlorine in the water longer.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
    Randy Moore's Avatar
    Randy Moore Guest

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    I own a home built in 1986 that was plumbed with PB pipe and it was an immediate disaster. Our problem was not the pipe itself but the fittings at the pipe junctions. When the plumbers secured the pipe to the fittings with copper bands the fittings were cracking inside the pipes. The whole house was leaking everywhere and it was brand new. We got a small settlement from the class action suit but it was a nightmare. We still have a lot of PB in the house but it hasn't given us any more problems since the fittings were replaced 20 years ago.


  12. #12
    Zach Cogburn's Avatar
    Zach Cogburn Guest

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    As an inspector, when I come across items like this, systems that have a known history of failure (PB piping, Fed Pacific breakers and boxes), I always note it in the report and recommend the system be further evaluated by a licensed professional. That way I have protected myself from any further issues. The decision is for the buyer to make. How does everyone else handle these sorts of things.


  13. #13
    Sheryl Davidson's Avatar
    Sheryl Davidson Guest

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Has anyone found any good proof that PB pipe with the updated fittings AND on well water without chlorine is actually an issue?

    All of the PB info I can find only pertains to plastic fittings and chlorine issues with this pipe.

    Many inspectors may choose (or be required by the state) to report the same verbiage on all PB installations but there is this particular setup that has not been addressed at all it.

    I can't say for sure anything about chemicals in the water, but what I can tell you is that I would estimate 90% of the leaks I found during inspections were at the fittings (both copper and plastic) on the hot water lines. Cold water lines did not seem to be as bad so I think perhaps the heat caused the pipes to expand too much causing splits at the fittings. I have also seen where pipes literally blew off the fittings. Nasty stuff indeed.


  14. #14
    Patrick Martinez's Avatar
    Patrick Martinez Guest

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Nick,

    those my friend are PB pipes...Check out this site...

    Polybutylene Plumbing - What is Polybutylene?

    Pat


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    York SC Licensed in NC and SC
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    596

    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Inspected a house recently where the seller is a plumber contractor.
    He had PB with plastic fittings on a community well.

    Some of the fittings had weeping evidence, white deposits.

    He had the pressure adjusted to cycle between 35psi and 45 psi.
    I think he was trying to prevent a major leak by lowering the pressure.

    He agreed to get his crew out to replumb the house....

    Most of the PB I see has the updated crimps with metal inserts.


  16. #16
    Patrick Martinez's Avatar
    Patrick Martinez Guest

    Thumbs up Re: Polybutylene or No

    Nick,

    keep in mind, should you find the PB lines, emphasis shall be placed on maintaining the <80 psi requirement. Though this is code, emphasis in particular on the PB, it can become really bad news really quick.

    All water supply systems should be maintained <80, also it is a good idea to recommend WH Expansion tanks to help prolong the life of the system through out the home.

    Pat


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Polybutylene or No

    Thanks Patrick. I had found that same site myself while doing a little research of my own. And as luck would have it, the 30 year old townhouse I looked at yesterday also had poly pipes.


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