Poly-B piping is a grey colored plastic pipe used to supply water in your home. This type of piping was very common in homes built between the 1970’s and early 90’s in the Metro Vancouver area. At the time, poly-B was a great alternative to copper piping as it was both easier to work with and much cheaper. It is estimated that around 800,000 homes across Canada were plumbed using Poly-B.
At first, homeowners started noticing small leaks behind drywall and mold growing behind walls throughout their homes, causing damage to walls and flooring. These leaks and floods became common enough that contractors started noticing that Poly-B was used in all cases.
While the Poly-B piping looked fine from the outside, at around the 10-15 year mark, Poly-B would develop hairline fractures and cracks that are invisible to the naked eye, cause leaks behind walls. Unfortunately, it is not if, but when the hundreds of feet of Poly-B in a typical home will fail.
Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world!
- Try to reduce the water pressure in your home by installing a pressure reducing valve. These vales are resigned to regulate the water pressure in the piping and can be used to reduce the chance of leaks around Poly-B fittings
- Turn down the water temperature. Hot water and extreme temperatures can degrade Poly-B piping faster. By reducing the water temperature of your home, you can reduce the likelihood of a Poly-B failure.
The first and most important reason to replace Poly-B plumbing is to eliminate the risk of leaks behind walls. Leaks behind walls can damage walls, floors, cabinets, and personal valuables. In addition to this, homeowners may find it difficult to purchase home insurance if the home is plumbed with Poly-B. Potential home buyers are also discouraged by home inspectors to purchase homes with Poly-B piping.
If you want peace of mind, consider re-piping your home with PEX. PEX is the recommended replacement for Poly-B due to its ease of installation and durability. Find a contractor you can trust. The cheapest is not always the best. Make sure the contractor you hire is using licensed plumbers and will adhere to all BC building codes. Your home is the largest investment you will make, it makes sense to hire someone you can trust.
Ashton has been serving the lower mainland for over 30 years. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about Poly-B piping.