Poly B or Polybutylene is a flexible plastic piping that was heavily used from 1978 to 1995 in the construction of many homes. You can generally spot poly b piping because of its light grey color and copper or plastic connectors.
Polybutylene piping was incredibly popular because it was a cheaper alternative to copper piping and was installed in roughly 700,000 homes across Canada.
This type of piping is infamous for leaks or bursts. Here are some common questions we get about Poly B.
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Poly B piping was very popular in homes built between 1978 and 1998. If your home was built before 1975 and has not gone through any major plumbing renovations you should generally be safe.
If your home was built between 1998 and 2005 there is a very low chance that your home is fitted with Poly B plumbing. However, you should still check your plumbing because although the plumbing code has stopped the use of Poly B pipe, that code was not retroactive which means if the pipes were installed they could stay. Also, some plumbers may have had excess Poly B plumbing material that they may have installed.
In Alberta, the government estimates that roughly 148,000 homes in the province are fitted with Poly B plumbing.
If you are looking for a professional trustworthy plumbing company to help with your plumbing needs give us a call at
Poly B is one of the most infamous plumbing materials due to these pipes having an incredibly high rate of failure. These pipes generally do not present an immediate danger, but if or when a leak develops they can cause damage to your home incredibly quickly. If your Poly B pipe happens to be behind a wall or ceiling you can be completely caught off guard.
Poly B piping was widely used when building homes in Calgary and over the years as these homes begin to get older, we are finding that more of these homes are requiring pipe replacements. Although you may have these pipes in your home and they may not have caused any issues, they will eventually begin to leak and cause extensive damage to your house which will require significant work down the road.
Some common problems that you may have with Poly B are:
Over the years many homes in Calgary have replaced their Poly B pipes. Unfortunately, many of these services were not covered through their home insurance companies. If you are hoping that insurance will cover any water damage or plumbing services the chance is very slim.
You can spot a Poly B pipe in your home by looking for grey plastic piping that has a permanent marking on it that says "poly b potable" or "PB2110" across the pipe.
Be careful not to mistake any other piping with Poly B pipes. Some of your other drain pipes may be made out of black PVC or ABS plastic. You may also find some PEX piping which can be a white or clear/translucent pipe. PEX pipe is the product that usually replaces Poly B. While it can look somewhat like Poly B, PEX has a stronger wall strength and a proven track record. It has been used in Europe for decades with few failures.
Be sure to inspect your plumbing and heating system for pipes that look like Poly B and call in a professional plumbing company for a second set of eyes or to replace Poly B piping.
It can be very challenging to determine whether your polybutylene pipe needs to be replaced. This is largely due to the fact that many times damage will occur to the inside of the pipes. The damage occurs because the water supply runs within the pipe. It is highly unlikely your damage would be external unless you are bumping into your pipe and causing damage to the plastic fittings.
For additional peace of mind, you could check your Poly B piping routinely for any leaks or pipe failure. Keeping an eye out will help you spot a leak before it can have time to damage your home. However, we would recommend getting Poly B replaced as soon as you discover it in your house.
In some cases you can find leaks within in-floor hydronic heating systems that use Poly B, this is because Poly B does not handle heat well. Be sure to inspect your Poly B piping thoroughly because your Poly B piping could have a pinhole leak.
If you notice any of the signs we have discussed we highly recommend choosing a plumber to work on your Poly B replacement, our team at Northern Oasis has extensive experience in Poly B service work and leak detection.
Poly B can definitely be replaced if you have it installed in your Calgary home.
Make sure you choose a professional plumbing company when it comes to identifying your leaks or dealing with your pipe replacement work.
Our customers who need Poly B replaced can be reassured that we will be sure to have our plumber install high-quality copper or PEX piping that will be built to last. We are the first to say that these services may not be cheap, but it is a service that can help prevent extensive damages to your house.
Poly B replacement is not as easy to quote as hot water tank or water heater replacement jobs. This is because each service is unique to each home. Before we provide you with a quote for replacement services we need to take a look at the work required in your home.
A rough estimate for each house could be between $1600 to $10,000+. The reason for this huge range is because a Poly B replacement service will generally require drywall removal work.
While we do not perform drywall repairs we can recommend professionals to assist with your renovation.
If you are thinking about finishing your basement or renovating your main floor we recommend taking the extra time to protect your investment and have your Poly B replaced. Replacing your exposed Poly B in an undeveloped basement would be a minimum first step to protecting your home from significant water damage.
We offer easy financing through our website.
Poly B piping has been discontinued for nearly 15 years so it is unlikely that your pipes will be able to be repaired. An adapter can be installed to transition to PEX for short term repairs but the best thing that you could do would be to call in a plumber to replace all the Poly B within your home in Calgary. The replacement services would generally use PEX piping.
PEX piping is much better when handling hot water and water pressure and is not susceptible to heat or chlorine like Poly B or wear from cavitation like copper.
Each Poly B replacement service is unique and our team cannot provide an estimate unless we are able to take a further look into your home. We have worked with several Calgary homeowners and will make sure that your pipe replacement goes smoothly.
Yes, if Poly B piping is connected to your water tank or water heater it can lead to additional damages. If you find Poly B in your home give us a call ASAP so we can have one our plumbers in Calgary help service or work on your system.
Poly B piping was heavily used in Calgary homes from 1978 to 1995, homes built before 1975 will not have Poly B piping unless they have had major plumbing work completed. Homes built after 1995 will also generally not have Poly B installed.
If you suspect Calgary home has Poly B within the plumbing system we highly recommend replacement.
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