LA experiences around five earthquakes a year. It doesn’t take an earthquake for your water lines to break. You also live in a relatively old part of town with old, outdated infrastructure riddled with asbestos and lead paint, which means there’s a greater chance of plumbing issues in our buildings or homes.
And when it comes to disasters, the worst thing that could happen is losing access to running water only because you’re short on time due to looming evacuations. Reliable plumbers in LA can help you tackle the problem.
Polybutylene Pipe – The Basics
In the early 1980s, polybutylene piping was hailed as a miracle of modern-day plumbing. It took less time to install than copper, didn’t rust over time like iron, and looked good enough to be featured in any home décor magazine.
Not much later, people started realizing that the shiny grey material – which only industries used previously due to its costliness – isn’t up to snuff after all. Since LA experiences high humidity levels of around 84%, the chances of pipe corrosion are high.
Homeowners didn’t have access to government information about the toxicity of PB until almost two decades after they became famous.
The Facts about Polybutylene Pipe
A lot had happened since 1989 when Home Depot first decided to use polybutylene pipe for their supply lines. You might remember reading about an explosion in a San Bruno neighborhood two years ago that killed eight people because of a faulty gas main made from the same material.
But even before this, experts performed many studies and tests on polybutylene pipe to determine why it deteriorates so quickly. According to the government agency responsible for regulating building materials, polybutylene piping was allowed for homes only until 1995.
It doesn’t stand up against water pressure and tends to crack after just a few years. Most people didn’t start noticing problems with their lines until almost seven years later, during which time at least six lawsuits were filed against Home Depot and other retailers who used PB tubing in home construction.
The Problems with Polybutylene Pipe
Over 47% of LA homeowners deal with pipe bursts once a year. PB pipes are made from one of the many forms of polyethylene plastic. A rigid, lightweight material that is resistant to corrosion and quite malleable when heated, polyethylene doesn’t usually have any problems with expansion or balancing water pressure so long as it’s installed correctly.
Manufacturers added a chemical called antimony trioxide to the PB mix to strengthen the final product, but this also increased its toxicity levels by more than 200%.
When you consider that around 10 million homes in America alone had been equipped with some form of polybutylene piping by 1994, the problem starts to become pretty clear.
Homeowners aren’t aware of their polybutylene pipes until it’s too late because signs of deterioration are hard to spot – at least without testing each section of piping for structural integrity.
Polybutylene Pipe Repairs – The Challenges
If you see signs of clogged drains, low water pressure, or a dramatic increase in your water bill, it’s probably time to call an established plumber who can come out and test your system.
If PB pipes deteriorate too quickly, one way of fixing them would be to replace each section as soon as it starts showing signs of deterioration. Contact a trusted plumber in LA for pipe repair or replacement services.
Sectional replacement isn’t exactly ideal because no matter how hard you try to make sure every single part gets replaced down the line, there will always be some sections left behind which are entirely worthless.
Semi-Permanent Repair Products
Another potential solution would be to use semi-permanent repair products on cracked sections, but this can also present several problems depending on how badly the material has deteriorated.
If there is even the slightest bit of damage on any length of pipe, using semi-permanent repairs can cause more harm than good.
Companies recommend avoiding these kinds of temporary solutions and shift their focus to finding permanent ones instead.
This way, you can be sure that every section gets replaced, and you don’t have to worry about an inevitable rupture somewhere down the line because your plastic piping system just isn’t up for the job anymore.
Get Your Reliable Plumbers’ Advice
Considering that your plumbing system provides clean water and purified sewage to every area of your home, you should never take chances with any of the materials used in its construction. Get in touch with your local plumbers in LA today if you need to know more about PB pipe replacement or just some basic repairs on a section that is already showing signs of deterioration.