"For thousands of homeowners, polybutylene plumbing has become a recurring nightmare." - Ed Bradley, CBS-60 Minutes

Polybutylene pipe disintegrates internally, leading to catastrophic leaks and flooding.

Polybutylene

Polybutylene is a plastic resin used in the manufacture of plastic pipes and fittings from 1978 until 1995. During this time polybutylene was installed in up to ten million homes and businesses throughout the United States. The main problem with polybutylene is that it fails suddenly, without warning, and often fails spectacularly.

Because this type of pipe was much cheaper and easier to install than other competing materials it was touted by many as being "the pipe of the future". Its widespread popularity spanned nearly two decades, resulting in a recurring nightmare for countless households, businesses, and municipalities, both domestically and around the globe. At the peak of its popularity, certain areas of the country were in the midst of a residential construction boom: the Sun Belt, Mid Atlantic, and Northwest Pacific states. Polybutylene failures continue to be a crisis for households and businesses across the nation.

The unfortunate reality for structures 10 years or older with polybutylene is that they run a significantly increased risk of experiencing a variety of problems. As reported by thousands of our customers, if left unaddressed, polybutylene will result in catastrophic property damage from flooding, mold infestation from undetected leaks, increased premiums or cancelled insurance coverage just to name a few. In fact, a growing trend among mortgage lenders is to steer clear of properties piped with defective polybutylene. A minimum requirement is that it will be replaced as a condition of the sale. Typically, real estate professionals on the front end of the sale (brokers, real estate agents, and home inspectors) red-flag properties with polybutylene and leave it up to buyers and sellers to negotiate the terms of its removal.

"In some cases, homeowners are finding that homeowners insurance companies will either cancel their coverage when extensive damage is caused by [polybutylene] or refuse coverage to homes piped with PB" - Arizona Water Resource, University of Arizona

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A deteriorated section of polybutylene pipe on the brink of failure. You can see an accumulation of oxidized scale and debris that created an obstruction on the interior of the pipe.

Polybutylene News

Homeowners Left to Deal With a Floodgate of Polybutylene Damages

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Watch the latest news story about poly pipes.

Now that the claim filing deadline has expired, homeowners have nowhere to turn but their own pocketbooks to deal with failing polybutylene systems. Exactly how the floodgates of expected damages will be handled remains to be seen.

As a service to our online following of real estate and business professionals, as well as families left to deal with this problem on their own, we've created an in-house research team tasked with seeking out current polybutylene news coverage. If you have a tip, suggestion or story that you think others will benefit from, please email our team at news@polybutylene.com. We encourage you to check this section of our website frequently for the latest breaking news stories and information covering polybutylene problems and solutions.

Do You Have Polybutylene Pipes?

How to identify polybutylene water pipes in your home.

Interior polybutylene pipes are typically gray in color and are usually visible by your water heater and leading to sinks and toilets. In some cases, a combination of polybutylene and copper was used, so even though you may see copper pipe, polybutylene may still be in place behind your homes walls, ceilings and foundation.

Will Your Pipes Fail?

Polybutylene pipes and fittings are vulnerable to internal corrosion from common water additives such as chlorine, leading to catastrophic pipe failure and flooding.

It's been reported that common additives used to fight bacteria, such as chlorine, attack sensitive parts of poly pipe and fittings leading to chlorine- induced cracking and ultimate failure of the system. Unfortunately there's a common misconception that if your poly pipes haven't leaked yet, they never will. Not true. The longer polybutylene is in use, the greater the risk of serious complications.

Class Action Lawsuits

The legal battles fought over polybutylene failures have resulted in some of the nation's biggest class action settlements ever recorded. Some of the more notable class action suits include Robert Beeman, et al. v. Shell Oil Company, et al., Spencer, et al. v. Shell Oil Company, et al., and Cox, et al. v. Shell Oil, et al. The final order approving the Cox class action took place on November 17th of 1995 and resulted in a total recovery fund of $950 million dollars. The deadline to submit claims for a free repipe through the Cox settlement expired on May 1, 2009.