Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

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Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

Postby scottman » Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:02 am

I read several threads about the bad water lines that would burst for no apparent reason. I too have the grey water lines, but my home is newer (2003). I think they quit using the bad waterlines, but I'm not sure. Because every now and then, I hear tapping in the kitchen when we run the water in the bathroom, or I would get a blast of air/water coming out of the faucet. I never find leaks underneath but unfortunately with the bellywrap it could drip and not be found. Although I would think the constant 45 lb pressure on the water lines, it would drip whether the water is being used or not. Basically my question is if those bad water lines are still used today.
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RE: Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

Postby Maureen » Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:22 pm

Hi Scott,

I'm not a plumber, so I can't say for sure, but I'd have to reason that you don't have the bad, gray pipe.

Here's one way you can find out for sure, read the writing on the pipe. Almost all plastic pipe will have exactly what is printed on the outside.

I'm sure that others will be around with their ideas and input.

Maureen 8)
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RE: Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

Postby JD » Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:50 am

I can't imagine that you have polybutylene pipe and fittings. I was under the impression that 1998 was the last year PB was used by anyone for residential new construction. I believe it has been banned in California for years now and is banned by individual states and municipalities through out the nation.

As Maureen said, the pipe should have the classification on the side of the pipe. A picture would be great! I am very curious as to what you have. The only gray plastic pipe I know of is PB pipe.

JD
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RE: Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

Postby Brenda (OH) » Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:31 am

for leaks, if you can see the water meter readout, turn off all taps, washing machine, dishwasher etc, make sure the toilet is not running from being flushed, and go out and see if the meter is still showing water being used (numbers increasing). if so, then maybe a leak, or maybe a bad meter? if no one else is home, perhaps you can check again in an hour..... BB
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RE: Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

Postby Greg » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:32 pm

If my memory is right, one of the primary problems was the crimp ring rusting or breaking allowing the tube to blow off of the fittings. Perhaps one of the plumbers will chime in. Greg
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RE: Is my gray water pipe the bad stuff?

Postby JD » Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:57 pm

Almost all mobile homes had PB pipe back then. Some had aluminum crimp rings, some had copper. The aluminum was by far the worst. Some had plastic fittings and some had copper and brass. The plastic was by far the worst. Those that had plastic fittings and aluminum crimp rings didn't stand a chance.

A failed aluminum ring would fracture right at the crimp where the hump was. It looked like aluminum that had been bent back and forth too many times. Usually the pipe would not come off, but it would spray water about as far as there was no obstruction. Sometimes there was no fracture, just a tiny stream of water coming out about the size of a hair.

The plastic fittings would just crack. T fittings seemed to be the worst. I also worked on a lot of plumbing right after a different plumber was called out. There were a surprising number of residential plumbers who did not know enough to say that they did not work on mobile homes or PB pipe. We would come out and see a splint made with a copper fitting and 2 automotive clamps.

The story is that the polybutylene would leech out platisizers because of prolonged contact with chlorine and/or other minerals in the water. This would cause cracks in the pipe that would end up being that tiny stream of water leaking and make fittings brittle and they would fail because of the movement due to the lack of clamps securing the pipe from vibration and surges.

In the late 80's and early 90's, we would fix PB with new PB, copper rings and copper/brass fittings. I started doing mobile home repair in Fresno in 1986. Total replumbs were cpvc or copper. PEx was some new space age stuff that was not in wide use yet. Knowing that the PB was crap, we were not quick to jump on a new kind of plastic pipe. Sure wish we had.

So there is a "nutshell" of my experience with polybutylene.

JD
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