Polybutylene Plumbing: Waiting to Burst
Polybutylene pipe was thought to be the plumbing product of the future in the late 1970s. It was cheap, flexible and easy to install. What was not anticipated was that chlorine in city water supplies attacks the pipe from the inside out. Bursting polybutylene pipe has caused extensive damage to homes across the country. It is estimated that Polybutylene was used in one out of every four houses built between 1978 and 1995. It was also used in many commercial applications.
Polybutylene pipe generally fails after 10-15 years of use. It is unpredictable when it will fail, but it is certain that it will fail. Piping that shows no outward signs of distress may burst at any moment. The oxidizing agents in municipal water supplies cause the inside of the pipe to become brittle and flake. Small fractures result that eventually burst.
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