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 Polybutylene Condo Plumbing
Author: Uncle Freddy (WA)

hello everyone, my sister in law is looking to buy a condo in the Tampa / St Pete area of Florida, her home inspector has let her know that her unit is plumbed with polybutylene plumbing .....although no issues now nor reported from previous owners, he noted in his report that it is not good and she needs to consider replumbing to update ....can you please give me any advice, facts, recommendations, etc to help her make a decision as to replumb or leave the plumbing as is ...her concern, of course, is if something goes wrong or fails with the polybutylene, not only the damage & expense to her unit, but to units below her for the damage a major leak caused by her plumbing could cause ...THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE HELP !!!

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 Re: Polybutylene Condo Plumbing
Author: sum (FL)

Polybutylene or PB tubing has been banned for many years and the companies who made them have all gone out of business.

I guess my question would be are all the other condo unit PB piping been replaced and she was the last one still in this predicament or it is a mixed bag and some have newer supply piping and some have PB?

Is she worried her own piping having a burst and affecting her (and those below her) or also worried about upstairs PB pipe bursting and raining down on her?

You can find all sorts of info online about these PB piping. I did that a few years ago when I was in this situation but for a single family home so I am not worried about affecting neighbors. My understanding is the PB piping is inferior, but most vulnerable at the joints, the stats seems to suggest most failures occurred at joints between the pipes (and less somewhere in the middle of the pipe), furthermore, the failure is much higher on plastic fittings and lower in copper/brass fittings. Another thing I remember was it fails more on the hot supply side and less on the cold supply side. Not that any of this may be useful or applicable to your case.

If it's a condo, does the condo HOA has an umbrella insurance policy of the entire structure? Most do. Then the individual owners would buy their own insurances for personal contents. I am asking because one of the hurdles I went through, was once inspection revealed I had PB piping, my insurance carrier told me they will not insure me at all except under two conditions: (1) I replace all PB piping first or (2) Their policy will be amended to exclude ALL WATER DAMAGES, meaning if a pipe burst, they will not pay a dime no matter what. So even if there is a leak, say not PB piping related, but my washing machine hose bursted while no one's home, and the place get flooded, they don't care and will not cover. No water damage coverage, and obviously will not cover liability damage to someone below you should your pipe burst. I suggest looking at the insurance carried by your condo building and see what it says. Does it cover everyone? Does it have any PB exclusions?

As for whether you should replace it now or wait till later...the real pros here will advise accordingly.

Edited 3 times.

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 Re: Polybutylene Condo Plumbing
Author: Uncle Freddy (WA)

thank you very much for the highly informative reply, I look forward to any other replies and seeing what any plumbing pros have to say .....and yes: she is worried about the 2 situations you outlined ...thanks again

Edited 2 times.

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 Re: Polybutylene Condo Plumbing
Author: bernabeu (SC)

run ..... run fast ..... run far far away

there will be OTHER condos to purchase

KUDOS for the due diligence, now RUN


"Measure Twice & Cut Once" - Retired U.A. Local 1 & 638

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 Re: Polybutylene Condo Plumbing
Author: 9kl (Non-US)

PB has a thinner wall than pex and i have seen the pipes split and also seen the plastic fittings brake apart. PB is at least 20 years old and is likely getting more brittle with age. I would recommend getting a few estimates. depending on the building it MIGHT be a quick fix for the individual condo, but really, the whole building should be repiped. I would think it should be brought up at your next strata counsel meeting.

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