Blue-Gray Plastic Pipes? You Should Probably Have Them Replaced

What color are the water pipes in your home? Chances are, they are either copper — because they are made from copper — or white because they're made from PVC. But what if your pipes are made from a blue-gray plastic? This is a rare finding these days, but any pipes this color should be replaced. Pipes made from blue-gray plastic are usually made from a material called polybutylene, and the best way to deal with pipes made from polybutylene is to have them replaced. 

Of course, you probably want a few more details before you have your home's pipes ripped out and replaced. Read more below for more information.

What is polybutylene?

Polybutylene is a type of plastic. It was used as a plumbing material for a short period, mostly in the 1980s. At the time, plumbers chose it because it was inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to install. These are the same reasons why plumbers like using PVC pipes these days. However, the use of polybutylene pipes came to an abrupt end in the mid-1990s when it was found that these pipes would burst and flood homes all of the sudden. There were several lawsuits filed, companies stopped making polybutylene pipes, and many homes that had polybutylene pipes replaced with pipes made from copper or PVC.

Why should you have your polybutylene pipes replaced?

If your home still has polybutylene pipes, this means they have been overlooked by the previous homeowners. This does not mean they are not a risk. They could still rupture at any point. And polybutylene pipes, when they fail, do not fail quietly. They won't develop a trickle or a small leak. They'll crack into a bunch of pieces, leading to significant flooding and significant water damage.

How can your plumber deal with this issue?

As annoying as having your pipes replaced may be, it is a far better solution than just waiting for them to burst. A plumber can come into your home, identify all of your polybutylene pipes, and then replace them with pipes made from either PVC or copper. This will take a few days, and you won't have running water during the process. However, your homeowner's insurance company may cover part of the cost since replacing the pipes will greatly decrease your risk of flooding and water damage.

Blue-gray pipes may seem innocuous, but they're not. Have them replaced now, or count on repairing a lot of water damage in a few more years.

For more information about plumbing services, contact a local plumbing company.