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Old 10-08-2011, 09:22 PM   #1
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Polybutylene Pipe


I ran into some PB today. I vaguely remembered some bad stuff about it, so I googled and found out what bad stuff I was thinking about.
My questions for the pros are:
1 Is this stuff as bad as reported? We have chlorinated water here. I've lived in places that had it, with no problems...
2 Assuming that replacement of the whole waterworks is a non-option, is there a reliable way to tie in newer stuff to the main runs as needed? Standard pex fittings don't mach the ID of the PB...I cannot get a seal.

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Old 10-08-2011, 09:47 PM   #2
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Polybutylene Pipe


My last place had it and had to be retrofitted. There's a huge class action lawsuit that has effected thousands of houses in Las Vegas. We have hard water out here. I have seen Polybutylene pipes that were only 7 years old that were almost entirely blocked from the dezincification process.

http://www.plumbingdefect.com/index.html

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Old 10-08-2011, 09:56 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Wookie View Post
My last place had it and had to be retrofitted. There's a huge class action lawsuit that has effected thousands of houses in Las Vegas. We have hard water out here. I have seen Polybutylene pipes that were only 7 years old that were almost entirely blocked from the dezincification process.

http://www.plumbingdefect.com/index.html
I read about that...no sign of clogging here...I was more concerned about the reported weakening of the pipe, caused by (if I read correctly) contact with chlorinated water.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:17 PM   #4
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Polybutylene Pipe


I always try to replace PB when I find it. It does not have a good track record.
You can buy PB x PEX adapters when you can't replace all of it.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:41 PM   #5
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I always try to replace PB when I find it. It does not have a good track record.
You can buy PB x PEX adapters when you can't replace all of it.
'preciate that little kick. I wasn't lookin for the right thing. I'll likely be replacing the PB at some point, But it's not gonna be this month
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:29 AM   #6
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Polybutylene Pipe


Just to clarify a couple of points. The dezincification process described by Wookie applies to the brass fittings sometimes used with polybutylene pipe, NOT the pipe itself. Dezincification is a chemical effect that leaches zinc from brass, weakening the brass, and allowing early failure of the fitting. A similar process affected brass Zurn PEX fittings, leading to a class action lawsuit against Zurn. Wirsbo had a similar problem with some of their brass PEX fittings, and I believe as a result Wirsbo introduced a new line of plastic (polysulfone) fittings for their PEX tubing, and I believe they changed the manufacturer of their brass fittings. As a result of all of these lawsuits and claims, I have decided that I will not use brass fittings with my PEX piping unless there is absolutely no other choice; I use Wirsbo plastic fittings instead.

As to polybutylene pipe, testing has apparently determined that the pipe itself is subject to failure due to internal damage resulting from reaction of the pipe with oxidants such as chlorine and ozone commonly found in municipal water supplies. The interaction of the oxidants with the pipe leads to internal weakening that is apparently virtually impossible to detect from the outside until the pipe actually fails, which can lead to serious flooding. The literature I have read suggests that pipe failure can take as long as 15 years to develop, or in some cases the pipe can fail in as little as a few years. This seems to depend on the specific properties of the pipe, and the level of oxidants in your water.
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Old 10-09-2011, 10:34 AM   #7
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Polybutylene Pipe


As mention in earlier post, there are crimp fitting that adapt PB to PEX. They use a copper color crimp ring instead of the black crimp ring for PEX.

Also, Sharkbite and their kin can be used on PB. It is not listed for it but PB is CTS (cooper tube size) and it will work.
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Old 10-09-2011, 11:17 AM   #8
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Polybutylene Pipe


looks like I'm headed to the store Monday...
Mr Holzman...are the Wirsbo fittings commonly available, or is it a regional thing?
And RJ, will the crimpers that the borg sells stout enough for a couple years of service? They looked pretty flimsy to me...and I don't have cash for a pro set at this time.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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Polybutylene Pipe


Wirsbo is a large, international company with distributors nationwide. You will not find Wirsbo at the big box stores, you will need a plumbing supply store. The issue with Wirsbo fittings is the installation tool, it costs about $300, and the fittings are expansion, not crimp ring, so the tool is unique to Wirsbo. Wirsbo (also called Uponor) fittings are compatible with any brand of PEX pipe, since PEX pipe is dimensionally standardized.
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Old 10-09-2011, 01:34 PM   #10
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Polybutylene Pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by mickey cassiba View Post
looks like I'm headed to the store Monday...
Mr Holzman...are the Wirsbo fittings commonly available, or is it a regional thing?
And RJ, will the crimpers that the borg sells stout enough for a couple years of service? They looked pretty flimsy to me...and I don't have cash for a pro set at this time.
I have a crimper that I bought at the big orange box. I have re-plumbed my house and done a number of small jobs. Seems to hold up fine.
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #11
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Polybutylene Pipe


Mickey,

I'm pretty sure the the big orange rents pex crimpers (1/2" & 3/4"), at least they do in my area.
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:00 PM   #12
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Polybutylene Pipe


Well that went slick as goose spit...thanks all for the tips and info. While I'm competent with iron and pvc plumbing, the tubing is something I've never messed with. And VIPlumber...thanks for the rental idea...never crossed my mind.
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:49 PM   #13
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Polybutylene Pipe


Here is one place you can get the pb to pex conversion coupling. http://www.pexsupply.com/Cash-Acme-U...rsion-Coupling I have pb in my 20 year old house and am getting to ready to replace with pex in a few weeks
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Old 12-13-2011, 05:09 PM   #14
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Polybutylene Pipe


Sharkbite does has a PB conversion coupling, so you could connect PB to PEX or copper easily. One ending of the coupling is gray in color so you know which side the polybutylene goes. You've got to make sure you use the coupling designed for PB and not a regular SharkBite coupling because the normal fittings don't cover PB in their warranty. Just because it fits doesn't mean it will necessarily hold.

Home depot sells them.

SharkBite Polybutylene Conversion Coupling

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Last edited by ActionDan; 12-13-2011 at 05:10 PM. Reason: Added Hyperlink
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