Residential Poly B Replacements

Residential Services / Residential Poly B Replacements

Kelowna Poly B Replacement - Residential Service

Polybutylene, commonly referred to as poly B, represented the first generation of flexible plastic piping that found widespread use in water supply systems from the early 1970s until approximately 1995. Initially, poly B was regarded as an ideal material for residential plumbing due to its affordability and ease of installation compared to copper piping. Its pliability made it a favourite among plumbers, as it allowed for more flexible installation without the need for precise measurements and intricate connections. Moreover, the lightweight nature of plastic made it simpler to transport, further streamlining the installation process.

Polybutylene piping was initially certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) for use in potable water systems. Consequently, it gained widespread usage across North America, particularly in regions with substantial residential construction during the 1980s and early-to-mid 1990s. Cities like Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Kelowna, and Penticton in British Columbia witnessed the extensive adoption of poly B piping, with entire neighborhoods relying on this material.

Polybutylene piping systems were used for underground water mains and in residential homes as interior distribution piping. Plumbers and industry experts estimate that polybutylene was installed in between 6 and 10 million homes throughout North America, and upwards of 650,000 – 750,000 homes in Canada alone! The piping was installed in about 20-25% of new homes built 

Poly b piping in a residential property

Poly B Concerns & Regulatory Actions

In the early 1980s homes with polybutylene began to spring leaks—often these were tiny, pinhole leaks that aren’t always obvious until they’ve caused significant damage in walls and ceilings. Many lawsuits were filed complaining of allegedly defective manufacturing and improper installation, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. 

By the mid-1980s, insurance companies began noticing a pattern of leaks in homes equipped with poly B piping. This issue raised substantial concerns about its long-term reliability. By 1995, most professionals in the construction industry ceased using poly B in residential projects. Furthermore, in 1997, the National Plumbing Code, governing plumbing trades in Canada, officially banned the use of poly B. In 2005, the NRC-CNRC National Plumbing Code and the Government of Canada removed poly B from the list of acceptable plumbing materials. Consequently, in the Okanagan region, homes constructed between 1978 and 1995 are typically the homes with domestic poly B water piping.

Now we know, decades later, that polybutylene is prone to leaks 10-15 years after installation. 

Over time, exposure to chlorine, oxidants, and UV rays weakens the pipes, causing them to become brittle and prone to cracks, leaks, and even bursts. Additionally, fittings used with poly B pipes were often made of metal, which can corrode and further exacerbate the issues.

The oxidants in water supplies—and chemicals such as chlorine—react with the polybutylene pipes and their fittings, slowly degrading the plastic and making it brittle. Different cities and municipalities have different minerals in their water supplies, and some are more strenuous on piping materials than others. Tiny cracks form inside the plastic pipes, and the structural integrity of the pipes is reduced. The pipes can fail without warning, causing pinhole leaks which can damage the structure and belongings. Other factors such as poor installation can certainly contribute to the failure of polybutylene systems, but it’s nearly impossible to detect installation problems in a home when most of the plumbing system is concealed behind walls, ceilings, and floors.

Due to their unreliability and the potential for extensive water damage if they fail, it is highly recommended to replace Poly B pipes in homes with more durable and long-lasting plumbing materials like PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) to ensure the safety and integrity of the plumbing system. This proactive measure can save homeowners from costly repairs and damage caused by water leaks.

Urgent Concerns Associated With Poly B Piping In Your Home

If your home contains Poly B pipes, you must act swiftly to address the following critical concerns:

Poly B piping poses an immediate threat to your property’s integrity. The longer you delay, the higher the risk of unexpected leaks and excessive water wastage. These leaks can go undetected for extended periods, leading to severe structural damage and significant utility bills.

Poly B pipes are notorious for developing tiny, hard-to-spot pinhole leaks. These insidious leaks may seem minor, but they can unleash a cascade of problems, including water damage, mold growth, and compromised indoor air quality. Don’t wait for these silent threats to escalate.

The damage caused by poly B leaks isn’t limited to what you can see. Water can infiltrate your walls and ceilings, weakening the structural integrity of your home and leading to costly repairs. Replacing poly B piping promptly can prevent extensive and expensive damage down the line.

Insurance companies are increasingly wary of homes with poly B plumbing due to its history of leaks and damages. You might face higher insurance premiums or even difficulty obtaining coverage if you delay taking action. Protect your home and your insurance options by addressing this issue immediately.

If you plan to sell your home, having poly B pipes can be a significant deterrent for potential buyers. Many are aware of the risks associated with this type of plumbing, and it can negatively impact your home’s marketability and value. Acting promptly to replace poly B pipes will make your home more attractive to buyers and increase your home’s value.

Don’t wait for these poly B concerns to escalate into costly disasters. The urgency of addressing these issues cannot be overstated. Contact Vision Plumbing immediately to consult with our experts and ensure the safety and integrity of your home’s plumbing system. Our experienced team is ready to provide you with the necessary guidance and swift solutions. Protect your home, your investment, and your peace of mind – reach out to us now for immediate assistance. Your proactive action today can save you from a costly disaster tomorrow.

How to Tell if You Have Poly B Plumbing

Poly B pipes are typically grey in colour with a dull, matte finish. The most common diameter is 1/2” or 3/4”—the same as most residential copper piping.

To check for poly B pipes inside your home, look near your hot water tank, running across the ceiling in your utility room, crawlspace, or unfinished basement, under your kitchen sink, and penetrating walls to supply sinks and toilets.

To check for poly B pipes outside your home, start by taking a look at your water main. Polybutylene water mains are usually grey, blue, or black (note that black poly B can look similar to polyethelene piping).

Quick tip: the water main usually enters the home near the water heater, right before your main shutoff valve.

residential poly b pipe replacement needed in a client's home.

Check service piping as well as your water main. Service piping is usually 1″ in diameter, and it may be found entering your home through a penetration in the concrete slab (either the floor or wall in the basement or crawlspace). 

Canadian residents can look for the common piping manufacturer’s stamps, or identifying codes, on their pipes to determine if they are poly B. These codes usually look like one of the following:

Note: The absence of these codes doesn’t necessarily mean the plumbing is not poly B. If the plumbing material meets all the other criteria, it could still be polybutylene, and you should have your pipes inspected by a professional to confirm. 

Contact Vision Mecanical to help confirm if you have Poly B pipes.

How to Replace Poly B Pipes

If you determine that you have poly B pipes in your home, it is important to replace them as soon as possible in order to prevent severe damage and costly emergency repairs when they do eventually fail. Replacing poly B pipes is a big job that requires expertise, so do not try to do it yourself. We always recommend replacing the entire system with new PEX piping, which is durable and has a long lifespan. Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling offers specialized poly B replacement services to homeowners in Kelowna and the surrounding area. Trust our team for expert poly B replacement services.

Poly B Plumbing Replacement Cost

The cost to replace poly B piping in your home will be dependent on a number of factors, including how much piping needs to be replaced, the size of your home, and the complexity of the installation. Because of this, the estimated cost to replace an entire system can be anywhere between $4,000 and $20,000. If you have poly B pipes in your home, don’t wait to have them replaced! Get in touch today and let us know the specifics of your project. We’ll be more than happy to provide you with an accurate cost estimate.

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Trusted by The Okanagan

Vision Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is a trusted plumbing and heating company serving Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley since 1986, known for our high standards, ethical practices, and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Family owned and operated since 1986. At Vision, we see your solution!

Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling:
Elevating Service Every Season

Kaylyn RobinsonKaylyn Robinson
15:13 14 Dec 23
Highly recommend this company. After contacting numerous plumbing companies, and having a couple no-shows and getting the run around, I reached out to Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling. The booking process was easy, they showed up on time, and Esteban (the technician) was very friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough. I will certainly use this company again, should I need them in the future.
16:28 12 Dec 23
I used vission plumbing for few jobs in my house. Vision plumbing team is awesome. The house is old and I had to change and fix many things, from changing pipes to fixing bath overflow and installing dishwasher. Vision team helped me with all that. I had hired, unfortunately, another company (Bee's knees plumbing and heating) to install furnace and they did so wrong that I had flood in my basement for a month. I called again Dave, they came, found problem and fixed everything for me. I am definitely taking this company for any future jobs that I will have in the house. I trust them and I know I won't have any problems after they leave. Dave is amazing. For any issue he explained me what is going on and how they can fix that. Every worker from vision was very profesional and respectful. Great job vision team!!!
Roy AndersonRoy Anderson
22:22 11 Dec 23
Jeff came as a follow up visit and didn’t take long to diagnose the problem and find a solution. Fireplace now operating efficiently, Thank you!
Graham BenderGraham Bender
00:17 01 Dec 23
Problem solved quickly and then offered to do another small job because of minimum one hour charge. That is extraordinary.
Junya NakamuraJunya Nakamura
16:10 30 Nov 23
Contacted with them and had responses right away. Had choice of 7am!! Or 3 pm and picked 7pm. Tech: Esteban showed up on time, fixed the problem. Explained about his work and cost. Employing good employees must be good company. They also do commercial work, they did some of the work at my restaurant and again I had no issue at all and did great job!! Highly recommended!!
That FarmThat Farm
04:15 18 Nov 23
Levi expertly tuned up the Natgas fireplace. Excellent work!! Timely and professional. Thank you.
Joanna FoxJoanna Fox
19:22 16 Nov 23
The BEST customer service and knowledgeable maintenance. Thank you Jeff, we are so happy to have our gas fireplace up and running again! ♡ Highly recommend!!!
Barb MacWilliamsBarb MacWilliams
06:58 08 Nov 23
Very happy with Jeff’s work on my old fireplace which needed cleaning and maintenance. Excellent communication and explanation of how things worked and what he was doing.
Brad KoppBrad Kopp
01:49 04 Nov 23
I have used Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling twice in the last six months, once to fix the condenser on the A/C and today to fix the furnace. They are a very responsive and professional company. I arrived home a few nights ago to find the house was an ice box as the furnace was not working. I called Vision the next day and within 24hrs they had a technician on site. His name was Jeff and he was a pleasure to deal with. He removed the motor on the furnace and showed me the source of the problem - two birds had gotten in through the exhaust vent and clogged the system so it shut itself down. He cleaned out the motor, reinstalled it and answered all of my questions. The charges were very reasonable for an hour of time spent at our home to fix the issue. I had a similar great experience with their technician in the summer time. I used Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling as prior to them I had used one of their competitors, Border Plumbing, and the experience was brutal. They sent a technician to diagnose a noisy water pipe in our mechanical room. The tech was onsite for 25min and he told me the problem was in the irrigation line, which I already knew. Then he was done and I got a bill for twice as much as what Vision charged, but Vision actually spent an hour to fix something. Border told me after the first 15min the price goes up, and in response to the negative review I wrote, they said that the technician had to drive for ~50min to get to our place, so they allocated one hour and 17 minutes to the service call, hence the charge. Jeff from Vision had to drive to our place in Kelowna from West Kelowna, spent an hour at the house, fixed a real issue with our furnace, and Vision charged half as much. Use Vision.
Valerie MarshinewValerie Marshinew
01:12 03 Nov 23
We had work done on our plumbing manifolds and most valves in our house . Although Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling were the most second most expensive of the four plumbing quotes we chose them. Michelle was terrific to deal with in the phone being very professional and friendly. On the day of the work Alex and Keenan arrived on time. Both were professional and courteous. They were very helpful and ensured we understood the work being performed and answered all of our questions. I give this company 5/5 for their service performed and I would hire them again. Thank You.Rick & Val MarshinewKelowna, BC
Abe GalAbe Gal
18:14 29 Oct 23
We had Jeff sevicing an oldish fireplace that would not start.We appriciate his vast experience and knowledge , fireplaceworks perfectly now. Cost was fair also. Abe
kevin tomaszewskikevin tomaszewski
01:37 24 Oct 23
I had a plumbing emergency spring up overnight and had to shut off the water supply to the house. They were able to make room for me in their busy schedule the next day and made the repairs I needed in a quick and timely manner. I would recommend Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling to anyone seeking plumbing services, in fact l am going to call them up for a larger job I've been planning for next year.
Shelah PansegrauShelah Pansegrau
23:12 23 Aug 23
Visions had excellent customer service and communication from the outset. Within two days of my request, Jeff came to diagnose and repair the pool heater. He is knowledgeable and respectful, thoroughly explaining the problem while repairing the heater. Thanks Vision Plumbing Heating Cooling!
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