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What is Poly "B"?

     Polybutylene, also referred to as Poly "B", is a flexible gray pipe used in hot water systems and residential plumbing. It was manufactured in bulk between 1978 and 1998 because of its flexibility, low cost, and ease of installation. It is estimated that in Canada alone there exist over 700,000 homes that have had this piping installed prior to it being discontinued. It was the first plastic plumbing pipe to be used as an alternative to the more expensive copper piping, and the fact that it was inexpensive and easy to install made it very appealing to plumbers and contractors throughout the US and Canada. The use of Poly “B” piping was originally tested and certified by the Canadian Standards Association and approved for potable water systems. Although there has been much controversy over the use of Poly “B” in recent years, these water systems have proven to function regularly with a lifespan of around 10 to 15 years. Following this time frame, however, in almost all instances Poly “B” pipe failure has occurred. It is not a question of if, but when the pipe will fail.

Problems with Poly "B"

     Although there may be homes that have not experienced damages yet, the pipe was discontinued for a reason. Over time it inevitably begins to leak and causes damages to homes. One or more of the following are likely the reason you may be experiencing Poly “B” issues in your home: 

  • High levels of free chlorine existing in the water supply that are causing leakage throughout the piping system. 
  • Improper installations where fitting was equipped too tightly, causing hair line cracks and eventually ending with leakage and damages.
  • Improper installations where piping was bent and put under stress causing leakage and damages. 
  • Installations near high heat areas such as hot water tanks, attics, or other areas of persistently increased temperatures. 
  • The use of acetal (white or grey) fittings to connect pipes rather than the preferred metal fittings.

Cost of replacing Poly "B"

     The cost of replacing your Poly “B” plumbing system is dependent on many important factors related to your home. Replacing the system is almost always invasive to an extent. Luckily, professionals have devised quick ways of re-mediating Poly “B” and making your home exactly as it was before. 

Below are the factors that will dictate the price of the job:

  • ​Materials
  • Labour
  • Remediation
  • Interior Access
  • Size of the House
  • Number of Bathrooms
  • Amount of drywall removal necessary to access piping

     Cost is always a deciding factor when considering to replace Poly “B”. You must be aware that In general these jobs are not cheap. Depending on these factors the price can range quite significantly. The average price for having your plumbing upgraded is generally between $6,000 and $15,000. This price should include complete replacement of Poly “B” with a PEX (or equivalent) piping system and all repairs to walls and ceilings during the Poly “B” remediation process. 

     A typical Poly “B” job takes roughly three weeks to complete, with the first being dedicated to the plumbing aspect of the task, and the following two being focused on the drywall replacement. The investment, however, is a great one none-the-less. Your replacement plumbing system will breathe new life into your home, and you will achieve peace-of-mind that you will not be a victim of any leaking water systems, or the costs that come with an unexpected pipe failure.

We are here to help.

     Contact us today for a free in-home consultation and estimate for the replacement of Poly “B” plumbing in your home. Poly-B-Gone can provide professional references for similar successful projects in your area from people that you know and trust as your neighbours. Discover the many ways we can assist you in taking care of your greatest investment... your home.


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