The Biggest Problems of Poly B Plumbing

Plumber holding plumbing equipment, tools and pipes for repairs

Whether you agree or not, we don’t usually have the complete information when it comes to the piping system of our homes. But homeowners need to be familiar with the working system of their homes, especially the type of plumbing lines. While this is not a fun topic to talk about, there are types of plumbing systems that do not work well with most homes – this is where Poly B comes in. 

In this article, we have gathered the things you should know about Poly B plumbing, whether your home has one, and why you should replace it as much as you can. 

What is Poly B plumbing

Poly B plumbing or polybutylene piping are used commonly in waterworks and plumbing systems in residential areas. Known as flexible and affordable, plumbers thought Poly B was great material for any plumbing works before modern times. In appearance, Poly B shows a light gray, flexible plastic that you may stamp with “PB2110” for identification.

How to identify if your house is using the Poly B plumbing system

In addition to its signature light gray appearance, you can identify if your house uses the Poly B plumbing system by looking for gray plastic pipes when exposed plumbing like under the sink or at the hot water tank. Usually, Poly B plumbing systems have plastic fittings connecting various lines, though copper fittings sometimes appear. To add, look for markings printed on the pipes. Poly-B pipes usually have an identifying code stamped on them like “PB2110” or “CSA-B 137.8.” Keep in mind that the absence of these codes doesn’t automatically mean it’s not Poly-B. If you suspect your home’s pipes to be Poly-B, but there’s no way for you to confirm it, contact a professional plumber to arrange an inspection or consultation.

Hot water tank in the boiler room with Poly B plumbing

What are the problems of Poly B plumbing?

The meat of the matter lies in the problems of having Poly B plumbing.  Generally, Poly B pipes begin to spring leaks into their lifespan. It creates mold growth developing behind walls in homes. Poly B pipes easily compromise in severe cases such as floods, leading to unnecessary damage costs. Note that the average lifespan of the pipes only lasts for 10-15 years before you need to replace them. Unfortunately, insurance companies are reluctant to insure homes with poly-b plumbing because of the series of leaks and damage costs.

 Additional issues of Poly B plumbing

  • Prone to cracking and leaking over time. If you didn’t install the plastic fittings correctly, they would be easily compromised. 
  • Prone to cracking when over-tightened
  • Prone to chemical breakage. Chemicals like chlorine slowly degrade polybutylene. Even in small amounts, such chemicals can harm Poly-B pipes and lead to leaking.

How to repair Poly B plumbing

Repairs to Poly B piping are possible, albeit challenging since neither Poly B plumbing pipe nor the fittings used to connect it sell frequently. The standard solution, then, is to repair the damaged parts of your Poly B plumbing. You can do so by transitioning to another type of pipe or even repiping or replacing the entire system in your home. Here are some ways on how you can do it:

Steps to repairing Poly B plumbing

  1. Use push-fit fittings 
  2. Replace shut-off valves
  3. Slowly replace large sections of the pipes
  4. Use a transition coupling to convert that section to PEX piping. 
  5. Install a washing machine valve explicitly made for PEX tubing.

Close-up of plumber hands screwing nut of pipe with wrench Poly B Plumbing

It is a brief list of how you can repair or replace your Poly B piping. You can consult or ask a professional to help you with the repairing process as this entails a lot of aspects that need professional attention. Also, professional plumbers often shift to new material or piping if the current one is damaged or outdated. In other words, they know what to do with your piping system without you having to spend so much on repair costs.

Are you unsure whether your house has Poly B piping? We can help you determine the issues!  Our team at MidCity Plumbers can help! Our plumbing experts offer a wide variety of plumbing services to all customers in Burnaby and the surrounding areas. We cover all your plumbing needs, from leaks, clogs to water heaters. Our reliable team will deliver every service with excellence, never leaving an issue unsolved about Poly B piping. If you also need emergency services for your piping system at home, give us a call on 📞 (778)-772-8676 today, and we are more than happy to help you.

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