Do you have polybutylene plumbing in your house? Thought to be a cheap and easy replacement to copper plumbing in the 1970s, thousands of homes in Tucson were built with the gray plastic tubing. It wasn’t long before home owner’s had sudden, catastrophic plumbing failures; UV light exposure and chlorine in the water supply interacts with polybutylene pipes to erode its structural integrity—a process which also leaches plastics into your home’s water. Complaints, failures, and investigations quickly piled up leading to a ban on the manufacture of polybutylene pipes in 1995. However, vendors were permitted to sell their remaining inventory which lasted until as late as 1996.
Nationwide class action lawsuits provided settlements to homeowners for whole house re-pipes. Unfortunately for Arizonans, the time to claim a settlement is long past. If your home experienced a catastrophic plumbing failure today due to polybutylene pipes you would, more than likely, have to shoulder the whole cost of emergency repairs and re-piping because most home owner’s insurance policies will not pay out for polybutylene related issues.
If your home was built between 1970 and 1996, it is worth investing in a plumbing inspection to know for certain what type of plumbing is hidden in your walls.