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Identify and Protect Your Home From Defective Water Pipes

Identify and protect your home from defective water pipes

Several issues can cause leaks or bursts in water pipes including age, chlorine degradation, and installation errors. Defective water pipes are a major cause of water leaks in Baldwin County.

Defective Materials

Polybutylene is a type of plastic resin that was used from the early to mid-1990s for water supply pipes. You may also hear or read polybutylene called “PB”. Copper fittings were used to attach polybutylene pipes in the plumbing system. This material is defective and develops catastrophic water leaks.

In 1995, a lawsuit was filed and settled. Later, another lawsuit was settled with DuPont. Problems such as leaks generally show up within 10-15 years of installation. However, some take longer, which led to a lawsuit in November 2017, but this lawsuit was thrown out with prejudice.

Polyethylene (PEX pipe) is another type of water pipe commonly found in Baldwin County homes built in the late 90s through 2013. One brand is Dura-Pex. A 43.5-million-dollar suit against Nibco in December 2013 cited problems with “creep rupture” and “slow growth cracking” causing pipe ruptures and leaks.

The problem is chlorine-rich water causing oxidization and weakening of the zinc fittings. Ultimately, the pipes and fittings develop stress corrosion and cracking. Ruptures can occur suddenly without warning, and homeowners may hear water running in their slab or walls.

How you can identify PB piping:

Usually has a stamp reading “PB2110”.

Gray is the most common color in Baldwin County.

How to identify “bad pex” or Dura-Pex piping:

Burnt orange to reddish color.

Printed brands on pipe: “Dura-Pex” “Nibco” “CPI”.

Where can you see water piping?

Protruding from sinks or toilets into the walls.

By the water heater.

In the washing machine utility box/or in the attic.

At the water meter.

Main water shut-off valve.

Protect Your Home

The best solution is to replace all of the defective water pipes with materials that don’t suffer the same oxidization from chlorine. Quality water pipes are Uponor or Rehau pex. These brands have served Baldwin County homeowners well.

Considering the damage flooding causes to flooring, ceilings, and walls, a repipe is worth the investment. Moisture in flooring and Sheetrock often compounds the problem with dangerous mold growth. Prevention is recommended, especially if one leak has developed. What’s called a pin-hole leak may be the first indication of oxidization cracking. The first is not the last and can be considered a warning of pipe failure.

Our trained technicians at 5 Starr Plumbing are ready to help you prevent water leaks in your home. Call us today. We are happy to provide you an estimate on replacing defective water pipes with quality materials.

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