Dangerous & Costly: Check your Home or Building Plumbing.

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Inspector Jim's Blog
Recently in 2011, we provided a home inspection for a client. During the inspection the inspector informed our client of what could be a potential problem. The inspector found a grey plastic piping used for the water supply lines.
On-site the inspector could not identify the plastic piping material, but did warn the client that it could be polybutylene (PB). This material will fail, and has caused millions of dollars in damages, and lawsuits were filed. This material was used between 1978 and 1995, but recalled due to the failure rate. The plastic piping comes in the colors blue, black, white and grey. PVC piping is not included, and usually marked “PVC.”
It was the inspector’s recommendation, to have the piping material confirmed by a licensed plumber.
The Realtor immediately referred a plumber, who stated; he’d have to research this material. You must remember; this problem was over 20 years ago, and most of the homes and building with this material had been replaced.
3 days after the inspection, the plumber did confirm the material and recommended replacing the piping. The seller’s accepted the bid proposal for replacing the piping.
About 4 days later, the plumber arrived on-site to start the work.
The plumber walks into the house and found that it was too late the plumbing had already failed. Water damage was throughout the center of the house. There was extensive drywall and floor damage, not to mention electrical equipment exposed to massive amounts of water. The damage was in the $20,000’s.
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