|Acetal fitting shows signs|
Deterioration linked to water additives like chlorine and fluorides react with the polybutylene piping and acetal (a strong stiff plastic) fittings causing them to scale and flake and become brittle. Micro-fractures result and the basic structural integrity of the system is reduced. The system becomes weak and may fail without warning causing damage to the building structure.
Polybutylene is a form of plastic resin that was used extensively in the manufacture of water supply piping from 1978 until 1995. Due to the low cost of the material and ease of installation, polybutylene piping systems were viewed as "the pipe of the future" and were used as a substitute for traditional copper piping.
- Polybutylene pipe is grey, black or blue. Interior polybutylene plumbing is almost always grey and exterior polybutylene plumbing is mostly blue.
- Polybutylene pipe was installed and manufactured from the late 1970's till the mid-1990's, however, stockpiles of polybutylene pipe at supply vendors, such as supply risers were still known to be available up to 1999.
- The most common sizes for polybutylene pipe are 3/8", ½", ¾" and 1".
- Polybutylene piping was easy to install and often used as a replacement for copper.
- Polybutylene was often routed through the attic, a disaster in waiting.
- Polybutylene piping was used for both residential and commercial water distribution piping.
- Polybutylene pipe connectors can be copper, brass, or plastic. The connector types are barbed with a crimp ring or compression with a plastic or metal ferrule.
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