When Polybutylene is present in a home you are reviewing for purchase, it is highly advisable to speak with your insurance agent and a qualified plumber to determine associated costs and the best course of action.
The renovation and new home construction industries are evolving and have seen many successful, significant changes over the years. Like any industry, each is not without its growing pains. In Northern B.C. a new, much less expensive alternative to copper plumbing supply lines was introduced in the early 1990s and quickly became mainstream due to substantial material and labor savings.
Polybutylene is highly distinguishable by its grey appearance, copper bands or crimp rings and installed connectors such as the 90s or elbows that are most often copper. PVC or white plastic fittings have also been used by some contractors.
In other areas of Canada and the U.S., Polybutylene had been in use many years earlier and failures of the product began to surface in specific communities. Many class action lawsuits were launched against Polybutylene manufactures as replacement costs and insurance claims were filed.
When improvements were needed the manufacturer’s solution was straightforward;
design a more durable plastic plumbing supply line product. Polyethylene Cross Link (PEX) was developed and is still in use today. PEX has several variations on the market. Most are white or translucent white with
copper crimp rings which have been darkened using an acid bath to differentiate the connectors from the earlier, first-generation products. P.E.X. or Polyethylene Cross Link.
The insurance industry continues to protect itself against water damage claims due to Polybutylene by increasing insurance policy deductibles or not underwriting homes that contain Polybutylene. For more information regarding Canadian Polybutylene claims and settlements www.PBsettlement.ca