When preparing your home for a quick sale, the prospect of replacing its plumbing may be as daunting as finding the home completely flooded. A potential source of both of these scenarios is polybutylene pipes. Selling a home with polybutylene pipes can be a difficult decision. You need to understand the risks, costs, and alternatives to make an informed choice. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of polybutylene pipes and how to decide whether to repair or replace them before listing your home.
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What is Polybutylene?
Polybutylene is a type of plastic piping used for potable water supply lines that can flake chemical residue into the water supply. It’s made of a flexible material but breaks down easily with water chlorination. This led to a class action lawsuit and the discontinuation of production. It was used to create hot and cold water supply lines in residential homes and commercial buildings. It was installed by connecting sections of pipe with plastic fittings secured with metal crimp rings.
What’s Wrong With Polybutylene Pipes?
Polybutylene pipes are prone to breaking, leaking, and causing water damage, so it’s important to consider replacing them if you are buying or selling a home. These pipes have a lifespan of only 10–15 years, and the production of replacement parts stopped in the 1990s because of this. Homeowners may face higher insurance premiums or even denial of coverage due to the presence of PB pipes. The chemical composition of polybutylene also reacts to chlorine and fluoride in the water, leaching chemicals into the water supply and posing health risks.
Furthermore, the resale value of homes with PB pipes can be affected, as potential buyers may require pipe replacement before purchasing. It is best to replace the pipes and prevent the potential of expensive plumbing failures. Installing and replacing polybutylene pipes is a job for a professional, and it usually takes two to five days to complete.
Can You Sell a House With Polybutylene Pipes?
You may be wondering if you can sell a house with polybutylene pipes. The answer is yes, though you may need to find a buyer who is willing to buy the house as-is; otherwise, you may need to replace the pipes yourself.
Find a Buyer Who Will Buy As-Is
For many, selling a home with polybutylene pipes is one of the times when you should accept an all-cash offer for your house. Finding a buyer willing to purchase your home as-is can be an option, although most buyers may use this future expense as leverage to lower their offer. Cash buyers or those who fall in love with the home may be willing to replace the polybutylene pipes themselves. If you are looking to sell the home quickly, you may be able to find a buyer who is willing to buy the house without requiring polybutylene pipe replacement. However, this is not always possible. Make sure to speak with a real estate agent before listing the home so they can advise you on the best course of action.
Replace the Pipes
Replacing the polybutylene pipes in your home can be a great way to ensure that your sale is successful. It may take some time and money, but it will make the selling process more straightforward and remove a variable that buyers will use to negotiate a lower price. Finding the right professionals to handle the job is essential. Licensed plumbers can disconnect the old system and install an approved plumbing pipe material such as copper, PEX, or PVC pipes. It usually takes two to five days to complete the replacement. Costs vary based on the number of plumbing fixtures, the type of material used, and the company you choose for the replacement. Replacing the pipes can give you peace of mind, knowing your home is safe and secure.
Replacement Pipe Options
Copper, PEX, and PVC are your best options when replacing polybutylene pipes. Copper pipes are a reliable choice and usually come with lifetime guarantees. PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene that is often used in radiant heating systems. It’s available in black, blue, or red and can be installed quickly and easily. PVC and CPVC are white or off-white materials commonly used for residential plumbing. They’re easy to install and are known for their durability and reliability. Polyethylene is a flexible, black material and is also a popular choice.
If you’re unsure which type of pipe is in your home, it’s best to contact a licensed plumber to determine the material. They can also advise on the best replacement options for your home. Replacing polybutylene pipes is the best way to prevent expensive plumbing failures and protect your home from water damage.
To Re-Pipe or Not to Re-Pipe
Ultimately, deciding whether to replace or repair polybutylene pipes or sell the home as-is is up to you. It’s typically possible to sell a home that needs repairs. Just remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and many home sellers elect to go ahead with replacement to simplify matters.
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