Polybutylene piping is present in some properties in Florida.
Polybutylene is a form of plastic resin that manufacturers of water supply piping used extensively from 1978 until 1995. Because of its low material cost and ease of installation, polybutylene piping systems were considered “the pipe of the future” and were used as a substitute for traditional copper piping in many instances. Polybutylene piping is most commonly found in the “Sun Belt” where residential construction was heavy through the 1980’s and early-to-mid 1990’s, but it is also very common in the Mid Atlantic and Northwest Pacific states.
While scientific evidence is scarce, it is believed that oxidants in the public water supplies, such as chlorine, react with the polybutylene piping and acetal fittings causing them to scale, flake and become brittle. Micro-fractures result and reduce the basic structural integrity of the system. In its weakened condition, the system may fail without warning causing damage to the building structure and personal property.
Because of the failures, some insurance companies will not insure properties containing Polybutylene piping. Others may require higher premiums for insurance if such piping is present.
Prior to entering into a Sales Contract for the purchase of property, buyers are advised to consult with their insurance underwriters and ask whether coverage is available in the event the property contains polybutylene piping. Additionally, buyers are advised to have the plumbing system inspected for the presence of damaged plumbing as a result of the use Polybutylene in the property.