If you own a home that was built between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, you have likely heard about polybutylene pipes. Polybutylene, also known colloquially as “Big Blue,” is a material that was used in plumbing until it was discovered that the pipes could fail. The best solution for homes that have Big Blue is polybutylene pipe replacement. Here are some key points about Big Blue that homeowners need to know.
1. Polybutylene Was Widely Used for a Few Decades
The first step in determining if you need polybutylene pipe replacement is to find out if your home has Big Blue in the first place. If your home was built between the late 70s and the late 90s, there is a chance that you could have polybutylene pipes. Homes in colder climates can be more likely to have Big Blue since one of its main selling points was its resistance to cold. If you have a newer home or your plumbing has been redone since the late 90s, you likely do not have polybutylene pipes.
2. How to Identify Big Blue
Take a look underneath your sinks, near your water heater, and anywhere else you may have exposed pipes. Although it is known as Big Blue, not all polybutylene pipes are blue in color. Some polybutylene pipes are gray, white, or black. Look for flexible pipes that are stamped with an alphanumeric label, often starting with “PB.” If you think that your home may have polybutylene pipes, contact the team at Metcalf Plumbing.
3. Polybutylene Pipes Can Degrade Over Time and Burst
You might be wondering why there is so much fuss over polybutylene pipes. While it is tempting to assume that your plumbing is fine since you have not noticed any leaks, polybutylene pipes in your home may burst when you least expect it. The compounds that contribute to polybutylene’s degradation are common additives in the water that flows through them. Big Blue deteriorates on the inside first, meaning that it is often too late by the time you notice cracks or leaks.
4. Polybutylene Pipe Replacement is the Best Way to Protect Your Home
If you have confirmed the presence of Big Blue in your home, you will need to consider your next steps. The safest route is to hire an experienced professional for polybutylene pipe replacement. Because you never know when the pipes could burst, taking a proactive approach is your best bet to avoid flooding and water damage. If your home needs polybutylene pipe replacement, contact the team at Metcalf Plumbing.
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Metcalf Plumbing is a customer-focused plumbing contractor serving residential and commercial clients throughout the Catonsville, Ellicott City and surrounding areas. From water heater installation, sump pump installation and repair to water and sewer line replacement, Metcalf Plumbing is a trusted resource to call on when you need help with your plumbing services. We are not commission-based and we provide honest, upfront costs with a thorough inspection of your system and suggested next steps. Our trained and courteous technicians are standing by to provide quality comfort at competitive prices. You can call us at 410-242-311 and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!