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A large stack of long tubes of grey, plastic piping used for water lines in residential plumbing systems.

What You Need to Know About Poly-B Piping Replacement in Edmonton

Do you know what your plumbing lines are made of? Many materials are used for the lines that run through homes in Edmonton—and not all of them are safe. Poly-B piping is one of those unsafe materials. If you're not sure whether you have Poly-B plumbing, now is the time to check. The sooner you know, the sooner you can schedule an appointment for Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton.

Not all types of plastic plumbing lines are bad for homes in Edmonton, and few materials are absolutely indestructible, but Poly-B piping is particularly problematic. In fact, it's so problem prone, that a series of class action lawsuits were filed against the manufacturers.

It's important to get prompt inspections and professional service from licensed Edmonton plumbers if you think you may need Poly-B piping replacement. Edmonton homeowners who delay are putting themselves at serious risk for extensive property damage. Luckily, the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton are here to help. We've got the information you need about Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton—and the reliable, courteous services you'll want if the time for replacement has come.

What is Poly-B Piping?

Poly-B—a.k.a. polybutylene piping—is a flexible plastic plumbing material that was used across Canada for water lines from the 1970s until the 1980s, and it's now known to be more vulnerable to leaks than other materials. It was originally approved for use by the Canadian Standards Association in potable water systems, with a stipulation that it should not be used for continuous circulating hot water lines. After its defects were discovered, it was removed from use and is no longer approved under current plumbing codes.

Do You Have Edmonton Poly-B Piping?

During its decade of use, it was a popular material for residential plumbing systems. It's estimated that approximately 148,000 homes in Alberta have Poly-B pipes. The most commonly affected homes in Edmonton are those built from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. That means if your home is located in an older community, or had plumbing renovations done during that period of time, you may be at risk. According to the Alberta government's report on Poly-B pipes, if your home was built before 1975 and has not had plumbing renovations since then, it's unlikely that your home is affected.

Where Should You Look for Polybutylene Piping?

It's relatively easy to find out if your home has polybutylene plumbing. The most common places where it will be easily visible are above the ceiling tiles in a finished basement or running above unfinished basements and utility rooms. If your ceilings are covered with drywall, or you're unable to locate exposed plumbing lines, you can check the lines that connect to your water heater, hot water tank or water meter.

What Does a Polybutylene Pipe Look Like?

Poly-B pipes are flexible, light grey plastic lines that are typically fitted with copper, brass, aluminum or plastic fittings connecting the different sections of the line. In Edmonton and other parts of Alberta, it was more common to use copper or brass fittings.

Along those grey pipes with copper fittings, you may also see markings printed on the side. Those markings are there to indicate the manufacturer's name, pressure rating, material designation, and other technical data. Sometimes, it's possible to confirm that your plastic lines are polybutylene by looking for two specific codes, “PB2110” and “CSA-B 137.8.” However, those codes are not always present on polybutylene plumbing lines.

If you find light grey plastic lines in your home that are secured with copper fittings, chances are it's probably polybutylene plumbing, even if those markings are not present. An Edmonton plumber is the best person to call in that situation. They'll confirm which material your lines are made of and let you know if you need Poly-B pipe replacement.

How Long Does It Last?

The estimated lifespan for any polybutylene pipe is 10-15 years from the date of installation. That means every home in Edmonton with polybutylene plumbing is already far overdue for replacement. The risks for catastrophic failures will continue rising each minute. The sooner that you schedule an appointment for Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton, the safer and more secure you'll be.

Why Should You Get Poly-B Piping Replacement in Edmonton?

There are many reasons why you should make an appointment for Poly-B piping replacement. Edmonton homeowners who fail to get replacement service as soon as they find polybutylene are making a choice to put themselves at an increased risk for many problems. Keeping your home safe is always important, and that's easier to do when you make a prompt appointment for services like Edmonton plumbing repair and plumbing replacement.

Safety

Because of the problems associated with these poor plumbing lines, any home that has them is generally less protected against leaks and other associated issues. Leaks come in all shapes and sizes, and they often appear along this kind of faulty plumbing material—especially at connections. Without prompt replacement, you could suffer from the serious effects of those plumbing leaks.

Big leaks obviously put you at risk for issues like flooding, but small leaks are just as dangerous. Even a tiny pinhole leak in your water lines will have serious consequences—especially if it goes undetected. Situations like that could lead to severe property damage and other issues that not only force you to get water damage reclamation service, but also threaten the safety of you and anybody else inside your home. With an early appointment for Poly-B piping replacement, Edmonton homeowners don't have to worry about any of those serious complications.

Insurance

Poly-B plumbing is such a well-known cause of problems that many home insurance providers in Edmonton will refuse to provide coverage for homes that have it. If they do agree to provide coverage, it often comes with higher premiums or water damage deductibles. In the case that you already have home insurance and you suffer damage as a result of having polybutylene lines, you could be forced to pay those higher fees when you renew your policy, or your insurer may simply decide not to renew your policy.

Costs

Some homeowners avoid getting Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton because of the cost that comes with full replacement service, but those initial costs for pre-emptive, complete re-piping will be less than the cost of paying for water damage reclamation and wasted water from Poly-B water leakage.

Even the smallest leaks, no bigger than a grain of rice, could add over $400 to your water bill each month and release as much as 3000 litres in just a single day. Not only could you face higher bills as a result of all that wasted water, but you could also be faced with high costs for repairing property damage.

All that wasted water has to go somewhere. It will inevitably soak into your walls, floors, ceiling and other areas of your home, causing catastrophic water damage. In most cases, the cheaper alternative is scheduling an appointment for professional Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton.

How Long Does Edmonton Poly-B Piping Replacement Take?

The amount of time required for complete replacement will depend largely on the size of your home and the amount of access that your plumbers have to your plumbing system. For smaller homes, Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton could take as few as two or three days. For larger homes with multiple bathrooms, it could take up to a week or longer.

Ultimately, it's not possible to provide an exact time estimate without first examining your home. There are many small factors that affect timespans, so it's best to make an appointment with a plumber and speak to them directly about your home's specific needs.

What is the Cost of Poly-B Piping Replacement in Edmonton?

Costs vary significantly for different homes, and are affected by the size of your home, the number of bathrooms and several additional factors. It's important to know that your overall costs for replacement won't just include the cost of pipe replacement itself. You must also factor in the potential cost of repairing walls and ceilings that must be removed in order to access and replace your hidden lines. Still, it's best not to delay. Those costs only get higher when you're forced to add services like water damage mitigation from an undetected leak.

What Can You Substitute for Poly-B Piping Replacement in Edmonton?

There are two alternative materials that are much better for water supply lines in Edmonton: copper and PEX. Each option has certain drawbacks and benefits, your plumber may recommend one or the other depending on your particular home.

PEX (Cross-Linked Polyethylene)

This material is a preference for many DIY experts and professional plumbers because of its flexibility and relative ease of installation. PEX is a flexible plastic pipe that is generally less costly, both in terms of installation costs and material costs. However, it's not without its drawbacks.

While PEX is cheaper, it also doesn't last as long as copper. PEX has an expected lifespan of 30 – 50 years, and that lifespan could be further reduced by hot household water that exceeds 82 degrees Celsius, as well as trace chemicals such as Chlorine, which are added to Edmonton's public water supply to kill bacteria.

Copper

This is the more expensive option for Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton. Copper is a more expensive material overall, and it also has a more complicated installation process. That extra labour could end up increasing your overall costs for replacement. However, the benefit that copper offers over PEX is a longer lifespan.

While PEX piping typically lasts 30 – 50 years, copper will generally last 50 – 70 years. That longer lifespan means that you won't have to worry about needing replacement piping for much longer than you would with PEX.

When Did They Stop Using Poly-B in Alberta?

Polybutylene fell out of use in Edmonton beginning in the mid-1980s. It was last manufactured in 1998, so it's possible that homes built or renovated in the late 80s and early 90s may have those same bad lines as well. If you're unsure about the age of your home or the possibility of renovations being completed during that time period, it's best to check. A professional Edmonton plumbing inspection can help you confirm whether you need Poly-B piping replacement.

What Causes Poly-B Failure in Edmonton Homes?

As it became more popular and began to age, plumbers started to notice that homes with polybutylene plumbing would experience more leaks than other homes. In many communities, those leaks were linked to the cheap plastic fittings that were commonly used for installation.

In Edmonton and other parts of Alberta, where brass fittings were more popular, additional issues began to arise as those bad pipes got older, leading to more bursts, leaks and other serious plumbing problems. With the availability of safer alternatives like copper and PEX, and the filing of a class action lawsuit in the early 2000s, plumbers moved away from PEX and began using superior alternative materials.

It's important to remember that while the downsides of polybutylene have now made it important to get Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton, those types of pipes were approved for use at the time they were installed. It's only with the effects of time and greater insight that experts have moved toward superior options for replacement. This is the case for many materials that were historically used in residential plumbing systems but are no longer used for installation and replacement, such as ceramic and cast-iron pipes.

Do You Need an Appointment for Edmonton Poly-B Piping Replacement?

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Edmonton is here to provide the services you need. Our experienced plumbers are ready to assist you with convenient appointments and guaranteed work. We'll happily help you manage and complete Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton.

Call (780) 429-3600 to schedule an appointment with our team. We provide a wide range of plumbing services for communities throughout Edmonton and nearby areas like Sherwood Park and St. Albert. If you need a professional plumber for Poly-B piping replacement in Edmonton, we're the team to call!