Ins and Outs of Polybutylene Piping

Polybutylene piping, also known as “poly” or “quest” piping is a plastic piping system used for water distribution systems in houses and some commercial buildings. Popular in the late 70’s through the mid 90’s, this product offered quick, clean, low skill installation. It greatly cut down on building plumbing cost.

Turns out, there were problems.

A combination of high chlorine, plastic fittings and valves, along with poor workmanship led to system failures. Subsequently there was a 950-million-dollar lawsuit which covered system replacement; however, this expired years ago. Many homes were piped with this material along with a variety that was used for the water mains buried in the ground. We have since found that homes piped up with metal fittings, metal valves, and quality workmanship are a lot less likely to have problems, although they are not guaranteed. However, it’s more likely that homes with the all plastic fittings, cut offs, and below average install practices tend to have multiple issues.

The solution?  Re-pipe your system.

Re-piping the old system brings it up to code, keeps buyers, bankers and insurance companies happy, and only takes a few days to complete if performed by an experienced professional plumbing company.  Some homes can even be done in a day with minor wall/ceiling openings. Others are more complicated and may take several days along with substantial drywall and paint repairs. The best way to find out what your situation is, and whether or not you have polybutylene pipes today is to schedule a site visit.  A site visit is required to determine exactly what kind of system you have and if a re-pipe is recommended, as not all homes with this system have had problems. Any water pipe system can have a leak, however the poly system was found to be of inferior quality, a life of about 10-15 years, and multiple issues, some of which turned out to be pretty severe.

Action Plumbing offers re-pipe service after a site visit, complete with a consultation permit and inspections.  Keep in mind other contractors may also be needed to enter walls, then patch and paint after the job is complete.  We work with many contractors on the Outer Banks, and can recommend several from which you can interview and obtain estimates.

For additional information visit: or call (252) 441-9992 today for a site visit.