Polybutylene Plumbing & Water Damage
Some things just go together, peanut butter & jelly, popcorn & movies, and springtime & baseball. I think we can all agree that these are things that are destined to be together. Another thing to add to the list is Polybutylene plumbing & water damage. Some of you may not be aware of what Polybutylene plumbing is, where it may be in your home, how to identify it, and what it can cause.
What Is Polybutylene Plumbing?
Polybutylene is a polymer or plastic material that was widely used to make piping for plumbing in commercial and residential buildings during the 1970's. When new it is a tough but flexible material and was deemed perfect for all types of plumbing. Traditionally copper was used for piping, but because of the cost of this metal polybutylene became the material of choice for home builders through the mid nineties. Extensive testing was done in the 1970's to test the durability of this new, space-age material and it passed with flying colors. Sometimes, scientific testing fails, especially if a key point is missed. The labs that were carrying out the testing failed to recognize that public water supplies typically contained elements like chlorine. Over time this chemical causes this plastic to become brittle and deteriorate from the inside out. Eventually, (15-20 years) this plumbing will fail and water will begin leaking into your ceiling and walls.
Where Is Polybutylene Plumbing?
This type of plumbing is typically found in areas where housing booms were happening from the early eighties through the mid-nineties. Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah are some of the states where Polybutylene plumbing was widely used. Tucson, AZ in particular was a boom town during this time and water damage issues as well as mold damage are common place. A plumber can tell you for sure if your home or office was plumbed with Polybutylene. This type of plumbing, if used in your home, can be found in basements, entering your hot water heater, under sinks in you bathroom or kitchen, or in your attic. It is commonly used for water distribution within your home and may be hiding behind walls.
How Do I Identify Polybutylene?
If your home or office was constructed in the last 15 years the liklihood of polybutylene plumbing used is very low. If your structure was built from the mid- seventies to the mid-nineties you may want to do some snooping around. This plumbing is typically 1/2" to 1" in diameter and may be blue, grey, or black. If you find piping in these colors, first look for a stamp marked "PB 2110 M". If you see this mark it is a great idea to call a plumber. Blue Polybutylene was usually used for underground water mains, but you may see this entering your home through your foundation or inserted in your water meter. Black distribution piping, although less commonly used than grey, may be 1/2" to 1" in diameter but may not be polybutylene. Polyethelene plumbing is also black and a professional plumber should be called to identify this piping.
Polybutylene Failure Leads To Water Damage & Mold Growth
Over time this plumbing will fail if not addressed in a timely manner. Water damage and eventual mold growth will occur in ceilings and walls leaving you with insurance claims or expensive out of pocket costs. If you have a water leak in your home call a plumber to repair and replace the faulty plumbing. When the plumber is finished with their repair, a water restoration company like SERVPRO will be needed to restore and repair your flood damaged ceiling, flooring, and walls. Our restoration techniques are unrivaled and we will thoroughly dry you home and it's contents with our time tested techniques. SERVPRO Tucson & water damage restoration is kind of like peanut butter & jelly, we just go together.