Greg shares tips for assessing polybutylene piping in your home in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.
Here's a full transcript of the episode.
Rob Carnie:We've all heard of cast iron water pipes, of course, we've been dealing with that, and we'll be dealing with replacing those for years here in Moose Jaw. But today on Ask the Expert, we're talking about polybutylene pipes. They react with oxidants and tap water. They become fragile. They occasionally scale or flake, and it's making an impact on home insurance locally.
Greg Marcyniuk, tell us the story.
Greg Marcyniuk: Yeah, if you have a commercial or home building was built in the '80s, chances are your pipes could be in trouble. And polybutylene water pipes are the culprits. Now, polybutylene pipes were banned from new construction after 1995. You do not have to remove it at this time.
But it is important that if you decide to purchase a home that was built between '78 and '95. We certainly recommend that you get a home inspector to go through it thoroughly and check for these polybutylene plumbing. There was a class action suit, Rob, that was filed, and it was settled several years ago. So the only alternate you have if you suspect that you do have these pipes in your home is consider having them replaced before misfortune strikes.
And the fact is that some insurance companies now are not offering renewal because there have been numerous claims and as well policies. If you purchase a home, and if you say that you don't have these polybutylene pipes in there and do have a leak, the coverage would be denied. The other thing with polybutylene piping is that it will affect the value on your home as well.
Now, if you don't know if you have polybutylene pipes in your home, there's a couple of things you can do. You could call a licensed plumber and have them take a look and inspect it. And as well you can look; interior polybutylene pipes typically enter the home through a basement wall or through a cross brace on a concrete slab.
Check your water heater, sinks, tubs, and toilets. The interior pipes are typically 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter, and they're usually gray or white with a dull finish. External polybutylene pipes is usually light blue, but it could also be gray or black. A good place to examine the exterior pipes would be in the basement crawlspace underneath, at the main water shut-off valve or the water meter.
And something else to keep in mind, Rob, is that even if you have copper fittings, it doesn't necessarily mean you don't have polybutylene. Some plumbers continue to use both copper fittings with these pipes. So, it's very important whether you own a home in that timeframe, take a look and see. Or if you're looking at purchasing one, make sure you take a look at it because you could be buying a big headache.
Rob: How can we get more information from you, sir?
Greg: You can go online, where we've got it listed on our blogs. Or please give us a call down here. We'd be more than happy to give you a copy of this.
(Video transcription by Speechpad)