Poly B Replacement In Your Mobile Home
Polybutylene pipe, or its common name, Poly B, is a flexible grey pipe used in residential plumbing and hot water heating systems. Poly B was manufactured from 1978 until 1998 when the resins that the piping was made of were discontinued. Although available for quite some time, Poly B was used more heavily in BC and Canada when residential construction was strong during the 1980’s and the early-to-mid 90’s. Unconfirmed estimates cite that there are in excess of 200,000 homes in BC with Poly B water systems and some 700,000 homes across Canada that have Poly B installed. Independent reports indicate that Poly B was installed in more than six million homes during the 80’s and early 90’s in the U.S. As you can imagine, I inspect several homes every month with Poly B piping.
Poly B supply piping was the first generation plastic piping system that was designed to compete with and be a substitute for copper supply piping. The demand for Poly B was driven by escalating copper prices making the pricing of Poly B attractive. Poly B was also chosen because it was less labour intensive to install than copper.
Here in Canada, Poly B was originally tested and certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) as an acceptable product for potable water systems. As of 2005, the NRC-CNRC National Plumbing Code de-listed Poly B as an acceptable plumbing piping material. NRC-CNRC plumbing codes are not retroactive, so previously acceptable products that are not currently listed still remain acceptable as long as the product does not pose a health/safety hazard.
There has been much to do regarding the reliability and use of Poly B. Although the system has performed as originally designed and intended in many homes, Poly B has struck controversy in those that have experienced failures and that has influenced the way underwriters view homes that have Poly B plumbing systems.
Repairs to Poly B Piping Systems
Repairs to PB piping is very difficult since neither PB plumbing pipe nor the Quest fittings used to connect it are commonly made or sold anymore. The standard solution to problems, then, is to make repairs to the damaged sections of PB is by transitioning to another type of pipe, or even to repipe the entire system.
There are a couple of options when selecting what type of fitting to use for the transition from polybutylene. The outside diameter of PB tubing is the same as for PEX, CPVC, and copper pipe so using push-fit fittings is one option you can use. The other is to use a specific transition fitting designed for transitioning between two different materials.
For accessible areas, push-fit fittings, often sold under brand names such as Sharkbite or Gatorbite, are the easiest way to make a repair.
When you find a small leak in a straight length of pipe under a mobile home or in other accessible locations, a push-on fitting can be used for a quick repair. Simply cut out the pinhole area and push on the repair coupling. Be sure to measure so you don’t end up cutting away more of the pipe than is necessary.
Replacing Shut-Off Valves or Fixture Supply Tubes
Push-on shut-off valves are a good option for this repair, also. With new flex line water-supply tubes and push-on valves, you can change the water-supply lines to a toilet or faucet in minutes. Simply shut off water to the house, remove the old flex line from the fixture, cut back the PB pipe, push on a new shut-off valve, and connect a new flex line. Don’t forget to check for leaks several times after turning the water back on.
Replacing Large Sections of Pipe
When replacing large sections of pipe, you can also use push-on couplings to transition from PB to PEX, CPVC, or copper. It is a great way to break up an overall repiping project into segments if you don’t want to do it all at once. Connect to the PB pipe with a push-on coupling and run the new pipe from that point.
Poly B-to-PEX Transition Couplings
For inaccessible repairs, the best option is to use a transition coupling designed specifically to transition from polybutylene to PEX pipe. The PB-to-PEX transition coupling is made of brass and it compensates for the difference in inside diameter of PB pipe and PEX. This transition coupling also has two different crimp rings, one that is specifically meant to be used to secure the transition fitting to the PB pipe, and the other to secure the transition to PEX.
Leaks Inside Walls
A PB pipe or PB joint that is leaking inside a wall should be repaired by replacing the bad section with a non-PB pipe. The best solution is to use a transition coupling to convert that section to PEX. You can transition close to the leak, but if possible, follow the length of pipe and replace as much of the pipe as you can reach.
Valves Inside Walls
When installing or replacing a shower valve or other valve inside the wall, it is best to use a transition couplings to connect a new PEX riser to the PB system, especially if there won’t be an access panel. This would be a good time, though, to install an access panel to make future work easier.
Washing Machine Valves
Push-on washing machine valves designed for PB are available but they can be difficult to find. A PB-to-PEX transition fitting is often the most convenient option. After transitioning to PEX, you can install a washing machine valves made specifically for PEX tubing.
Mobile Home P0ly B Replacement
Housing is important. And like everything considered to be important, all its features must be examined in detail. This includes the plan, structure of the house, nature of the area, fixtures, building materials, etc. The aim of this article is to familiarize the reader with the pros and cons of the choice of plumbing materials used in a house; with specific regard to poly b piping.
How to Identify Polybutylene Piping in Your House
The best and probably the most convenient way of identifying a polybutylene pipe would be to hire a professional. Not every grey pipe found in the house is a polybutylene pipe. There is also no certainty that a proper home inspection will yield a productive result in identifying polybutylene pipes because some inspectors may not be educated on identifying polybutylene piping.
Many plumbers installed copper stubs which passed through walls thereby hiding the polybutylene pipes in the walls. Some even used polybutylene as the main water line, disguising it as copper at the street or house ending. This makes it even more difficult for an inexperienced person to identify this kind of plumbing, solidifying the case to hire a professional.
If you are looking for mobile home, trailer or residential home poly B replacement anywhere in the Lower Mainland & Fraser Valley call 778.888.6451. At Murrayville Plumbing & Heating we have a team that is ready with 24 hour emergency leak repair. If your pipes burst or you have a poly B leak, call us for all emergencies. We specialize in mobile home poly b replacement. Our technicians are highly skilled and ready to help.