What to do about Pro fit polybutylene water pipe leaks in Canberra

polybutylene pipe leaks in Gungahlin Canberra

Repair fittings used for temporary repair on Pro-Fit Polybutylene under a bath in Canberra

If you have a home in Canberra that was built or renovated since 1988 onwards, there is a very good chance you have plastic water pipes.

It’s possible your plastic pipes may be the grey pipe known as Pro-fit polybutylene, Poly B or PB.

Here’s what a member Master Plumbers had to say about polybutylene leaks in an interview with ABC:

  • “The leaks were not occurring in the joints, which is a traditional place where a leak would occur.”
    This can make it much harder to predict where leaks could occur.
  • “It is actually happening along the pipe, with no particular consistent location along that pipeline.”
    It’s quite common for multiple leaks to appear in a house plumbed with grey polybutylene pipe. This can seemingly happen at random, causing flooding and damage to your house.
  • “If it was a joint, you could possibly question whether it was a plumber’s installation process, but in this particular case, it’s quite evident that it’s the product that’s failing, not the plumbers.”
    This issue has been recognised overseas with a class action lawsuit in the US, and the product being removed from Canada’s plumbing codes and standards.

Grey plastic plumbing pipe repairs in Canberra

We are already experiencing a rising number of grey plastic plumbing pipe leaks in Canberra and are undertaking a growing number of grey plastic plumbing pipe repairs. But the problem for homeowners with grey pipe are getting bigger:

  • Due to the number of claims for damages, plumbing suppliers are no longer stocking grey pipe and fittings. Repairs are becoming harder and more expensive as fittings are difficult to come by.
  • Because of the known issues, polybutylene pipe repairs will almost certainly come without warranty.
  • Fittings and connections manufactured by other plastic pipe brands are not compatible with Pro-fit and other polybutylene pipe.
  • The longer homeowners put off permanent repairs the higher the costs may be.
  • Full replacements with PEX plastic pipes or copper pipes are the safest long-term solution to pro fit pipe leaks.
  • Unfortunately for some homeowner’s full pipe replacements will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Don’t panic if other plumbers tell you there is no other quick option tan a full replacement of your water pipes.

When a leak occurs, the water must be shut off or capped to prevent further damage to dwellings. Without water homeowners become desperate and are forced to make uniformed decisions fast. This can result in accepting overpriced quotes for water pipe repairs or replacements.

As a measure to help homeowners with temporary solutions threaded polybutylene pipe fittings and crimpers can be sourced from New Zealand.

This means some plumbers, like us, can transition from polybutylene to other common and reliable pipe types such as PEX and copper for temporary repairs.

8 h Polybutylene pipe repair fittings 20mm and 15mm

Polybutylene pipe repair fittings 20mm and 15mm

Plastic pipe repair fittings for Pro fit polybutylene

Frequently asked questions about Pro-fit polybutylene:

Where are the pipes in my home?

Water pipes in Canberra will mostly be found in the walls and under the floors. Because of our cold weather, they will rarely be installed in Canberra roof spaces.

What damage can be caused by leaking polybutylene pipes?

Regardless of where the leak occurs, the resulting damages can be severe and costly.

The results of the leaks are:

  1. Water leaks under slabs
    Undetected water leaks under concrete slabs can lead to water bills that cost thousands of dollars. Under-slab leaks promote cracking and subsidence in walls and foundations, promote mould, and encourage termites to build nests under buildings.
  2. Water leaks in walls
    Water leaks in walls can cause timber frames to rot, damage adjacent floor coverings, cause plastering to blister and fall apart, cause timber mouldings to expand, and encourage termites. In multi-story buildings, these leaks can lead to concrete cancer and rust in structural steel and reinforcing. Such leaks may also promote mould.
  3. Water leaks in roof spaces
    Water leaks in roof spaces will likely cause ceilings to collapse, lights and electrical circuits to short out, and will ruin ceiling insulation.
  4. Water leaks under timber floors
    Water leaks under timber floors can attract termites and other pests, can cause subsidence of brick piers, mould under houses, and cause structural timbers and flooring to rot.
  5. Leaks under the ground
    Many leaks occur between the water meter and the house and can go undetected for a very long time. The main risk of a water leak underground is a very high water bill.

If you are in Canberra or Queanbeyan and you are concerned that you have pro-fit pipes in your home, call us for temporary water pipe repairs and permanent replacements.

Read more at Pro-fit plastic polybutylene pipe repairs in Canberra

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