Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Polybutylene Plumbing Problems - Lawsuit and Settlement

If you have Polybutylene plumbing in your home, time to file a claim is running out. Polybutylene is a semi-flexible plastic plumbing installed in homes since the late '70s.


It has had a much higher than average rate of failure leading to lawsuits. Shell Oil had settled for more the $1 billion while not admitting any legal liability. This settlement may apply to more than 6 million homes with the faulty plumbing. The time line for inclusion in the settlement is running out, and you must file a claim with in 17 years of installation and before May 1st, 2009.

Polybutylene plumbing was installed in homes and as the supply from the water company. It was not used for drains or vents. In homes it is usually a gray (some are silver or black) with plastic or metal inserted fittings.

These fittings are clamped with metal crimp rings over the outside the pipe, usually made of brass, copper or aluminum. It is these inserted fittings to pipe connections that most often fail.

PVC, CPVC PEX and Aquapex are other forms of plastic pipes that are not a part of this settlement, and have much higher reliability.

If a manufactured home has had its polybutylene pipes replaced in Washington State, you may find this tag on the end of the building from the Department of Labor and Industries.

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By: Van Hibberts, CMI
Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI89
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
203(k) FHA/HUD Consultant #A0900
WDO Certificate #JE190791
NACHI #10071802

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1 comment:

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