How to Fix Defective Polybutylene Pipes

How to Fix Defective Polybutylene Pipes. Polybutylene pipes were the goof of the 1980s and 1990s. These pipes were installed as plumbing in homes and buildings. They were cheaper to manufacture and were easy to install. But they turned out to cause major problems. Most builders stopped using them in the mid 1990s.

Here's how to deal with these types of pipes when they become defective.

  1. Determine if your plumbing problem may be caused by defective polybutylene pipes by first looking to see if you have these kinds of pipes in your home. Polybutylene pipes were used in both site-built houses and mobile home/manufactured houses.

  2. Think about how your plumbing problem started. If you heard a banging sound and then experienced a sudden drop in your water pressure, you may be facing a defective polybutylene pipe problem. To fix the problem usually requires replacing all the fittings. The fittings in this type of pipe don't hold well over time. Pipes weaken and fittings pop apart.

  3. Replace all the pipe fittings with aluminum or copper fittings. Visit your local home improvement store and ask for adapter fittings that will convert "poly" to "pex." You'll also need a crimp tool to loosen and tighten the pipe fittings at each connection. Be sure to place the correct end of the adapter fitting in each pipe. Adapter fittings are different from the poly so be sure to match ends correctly when you fix defective polybutylene pipes.

  4. Know that replacing the fittings to fix defective polybutylene pipes is a temporary fix at best. Most plumbers agree that the best thing to do is to replace all the pipes as soon as possible. It has been determined that polybutylene deteriorates over time due to the fluoride and chlorine in drinking water. There is a reaction between the additives and the material in the pipes that causes them to break down over time.