July 27, 2019 at 4:35pm | Mark Sloat CFP
What you need to know:

Polybutylene is a type of polymer piping that was used in new construction homes between the years
1978 and 1995. It is an inferior material known to prematurely deteriorate and can flood your home
causing thousands of dollars in water damage. Although the class action lawsuit was settled in 1988
making new polybutylene tubing illegal, builders continued to install the remaining inventory of piping
in homes until 1995. Experts estimate approximately 10 millions homes were equipped with this type
of plumbing.

How It Appears On Your Home Inspection Report

The water supply system in this home utilizes Plastic Polybutylene Piping (PB). Millions of residential
homes have used PB throughout the United States, commonly installed in homes between 1978 and
1995 and easily recognizable as a flexible, gray, plastic pipe which include metal fittings that are connected
by copper bands. The buyer should be aware of the past problems related to this type of plumbing supply
system. There have been thousands of failures with the fittings of these pipes as well as other related leaks
and problems associated with PB piping resulting in hundreds of class action lawsuits. Our visual inspection
of this plumbing system noted no leaks at time of inspection nor any signs of repairs or upgrades. This is not
a warranty or a guarantee against future leaks or failures as inspectors cannot predict future leaks or failures
by a visual inspection. I recommended further review of the entire plumbing system within this residence,
from a qualified, licensed plumber to further evaluate and determine if service is necessary before the close
of escrow.

Replacing the polybutylene plumbing for this home will cost the seller approximately $5,000 to $7,000
and provide the new owner the peace of mind that catastrophe has been adverted. Had this plumbing
sprung a leak, the damages could have totaled much more.

Buying a new home can be fun and exciting, but can also create anxiety and stress. Being informed and
hiring the right professionals to protect your best interests in critical and will give you the confidence to
make the right decision. You'll need a professional home inspector that is a technical expert. One that is
objective and informative. Your home inspector will inspect your new home from the ground up and
identify inefficiencies and potential issues you may encounter down the road. We depend on Andrew
Lohman from Desert Home Inspectors in Phoenix, Arizona to protect our clients. This article was written
after our client was in escrow to buy a home that was plumbed with polybutylene.

If you are in the process of shopping for a new home, we're here to help. If you'd like more information on
the top 10 things to know when buying a home, feel free to call or text us at 480.628.8691. 


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