We will check for PB piping during your home inspection, and advise you if it is present in the home’s water supply system. To check for yourself, look for flexible pipe that is gray, with copper-color band connections, like in the photo at the top of the page taken under a bathroom sink at a manufactured home.  PB pipe is easier to spot in a mobile home because it extends well into cabinetry. Gray is the most common color used, but polybutylene can also be blue or black in color. It is usually stamped with the marking “PB2110.” The piping is 1/2” to 1” in diameter.

   The easiest place to observe it in a site-built home is at the pipe feeds coming out of the wall to the water heater—like in the photos below, again with the copper rings crimped around connections that are a defining characteristic for identifying PB pipe. Because it can be covered with dust or crud, you may have to wipe the pipe to confirm that it is polybutylene.

   PB pipe can sometimes also be observed under the sinks and toilets, peeking out from behind the shut-off valve. But only a small length of pipe sticks out of the wall at these locations and is often covered up by a chrome escutcheon ring. Polybutylene is not used as drain piping.

   Replacement of the water supply piping in a typical home costs $4,000 to $5,000, and is the only remedy available. Because of the public awareness of the risks involved with PB piping, its presence may reduce a home’s value in the marketplace. It can also cause higher denial of coverage or extremely high deductible for water damage with your homeowner’s insurance.

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.


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