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Questions about Poly-B Plumbing

Poly-B plumbing came in from 1978 to 1995. Grey and flexible and has identifying marks. About 1/3 of Calgary homes have this piping today. Over 750,000 Canadian homes have Poly-B. Poly-B plumbing has known issues with pin-hole leaks and brittle fittings. It is no longer used.

WHAT IS USED TODAY

PEX is used today and is an excellent material. Easy to work with and is used almost universally. Copper is still used in high heat areas such as water heaters.

THE PROBLEM WITH POLY-B PIPING

Poly-B breaks down and can leak though not all homes with Poly-B will experience leaks. When exposed to sunlight during construction, Poly-B was damaged by the UV which causes leaks later.

The actual leaks themselves are tiny and allow just a tiny drop by drop leak but over time result in water stains. This is when homeowners discover they have Poly-B.

Poly-B fittings (couplings) get brittle over time and can burst by a simple touch and is an immediate emergency. Cost to replace fittings is less than the insurance deductible for water damage and a one day job by a licensed plumber.

HOW DO I KNOW MY POLY-B WILL LEAK

You can’t know it was exposed to UV during construction. So it’s a waiting game until water stains develop. When one stain develops, more will follow.

COST TO FIX POLY-B

Cost to replace Poly-B is about $6,000 to $8,000 plus related drywall and other repairs depending on the size of the house. Bungalows are cheaper and two stories are more.

BUYING AND SELLING A HOME WITH POLY-B

Should I buy a home with Poly-B? Absolutely. Calgary if full of beautiful homes with Poly-B. It’s a minor totally fixable problem. If you’re a buyer, just make sure you pay for a home inspection. If your present home has Poly-B replacing it now will raise your home’s value and you’ll sleep soundly.

Poly-B should be on your home inspector’s list – the report should be clear - Poly-B is in or not. Your lawyer should advise you on dealing with Poly-B when you buy or sell.

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