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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have known for a while now that our house has Poly B grey piping all over and have read that they are susceptible to leaks. Most insurance company would not cover damage caused by them (but ours do, for now). We are wondering if any one here has them replaced and if so, how much did you spend? In the hope of prolonging their life, we have lowered the water pressure and hot water temperature to recommended level. But still, we wonder if we should go ahead and replace them. The cost could be over $20,000 for the size of our house.



 

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We have known for a while now that our house has Poly B grey piping all over and have read that they are susceptible to leaks. Most insurance company would not cover damage caused by them (but ours do, for now). We are wondering if any one here has them replaced and if so, how much did you spend? In the hope of prolonging their life, we have lowered the water pressure and hot water temperature to recommended level. But still, we wonder if we should go ahead and replace them. The cost could be over $20,000 for the size of our house.



Replacing plumbing isn't too expensive, it's the access that's the problem.
My old house with an unfinished basement, a good 80% of all plumbing was accessible. I could have replumbed it in a long weekend.
My new house about 30% is available.
 

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We have known for a while now that our house has Poly B grey piping all over and have read that they are susceptible to leaks. Most insurance company would not cover damage caused by them (but ours do, for now). We are wondering if any one here has them replaced and if so, how much did you spend? In the hope of prolonging their life, we have lowered the water pressure and hot water temperature to recommended level. But still, we wonder if we should go ahead and replace them. The cost could be over $20,000 for the size of our house.



Don’t what the cost is, but my FIL had two leaks already in his condo in Florida. The condo Corp is not covering the cost of the damage. He had enough and decided to change his....although the. Unit above him, has not changed theirs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Don’t what the cost is, but my FIL had two leaks already in his condo in Florida. The condo Corp is not covering the cost of the damage. He had enough and decided to change his....although the. Unit above him, has not changed theirs.
Thanks for the response, we were considering downsizing to a condo later but this doesnt sound good...
 

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The issue with Poly B is, at least around our area*, the difficulty in selling (and discount) that would go in a home sale. Poly B has to be disclosed here and a good many potential buyers will walk rather than even entertain making an offer. I would be one of those types of buyers at my stage in life.

If you are thinking of selling in the not too distant future, it may be worth it to bite the bullet and have the job done now.

* May not be true in the hot TO and Vancouver markets where it the building is standing, it still gets a bidding war.
 

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Kind of makes me appreciate the skill I have attained in sweating the copper supply lines for changes here and there in this now 55 year old house. and not have the damn joints leak.

Weird part is that I have aluminum wiring because copper price had spiked at the time it was built, and electrical code allowed it.

But the plumbing code did not, and heck, I even have copper drain lines. Renovations to the drain lines have been done in ABS. 4" copper, heck even 2" copper pipe gets pricey really fast.
 

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<OT> My first house had aluminum wiring and I had to re-work most switch/outlet connections from time to time due to loose connections due to expansion or oxidization as noted in Aluminum Wiring Hazards

There is a Fix without re-doing all wiring but I know nothing about it.</OT>
 

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I have 2 quotes for my 2200 sqft 2.5 bathroom house to remove polyB and replace with PEX. The quotes ranged from $3900 to $4300. It would be about an extra $600 -$800 to patch the drywall. I don't have a finished basement which makes it easier. I have had several small leaks that I have fixed myself using PEX and snake bite fittings. I have noticed these leaks by "hissing" sounds, however these leaks can happen behind walls and you would never hear them. I am covered by insurance (for now), but I am getting the work done soon. I always turn off the water when on a vacation.
 

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I had the 'benefit' of living in the 'new to us' house on my own for 3 months before my wife could be away from with my mom and dad. We were expecting second kid with placenta previa a major risk factor, so she lived with them in my home town where they were 2 blocks from the hospital, while I was working 4 long work days to make 3 day weekends to be together.

In those 3 months every 88 electrical outlets/lights/switches in the house that involved aluminum had a copper 'pigtail' connection affixed to the device, and then scrub the aluminum wire with emery paper soaked in pentrox, then a co/al rated wire nut used to join the copper and aluminum.

Since I could not get a good connection with the short exiting ground conductors, the best I could do is aluminum under one screw, and copper the other in the back of the box, and the first box coming from the electrical panel is now fitted with a GFCI receptacle, so if the ground connection is a bit less then ideal the GFCI detects in the case of a fault.

Most of the time (every 2-3 years it seems) it is my wife and her practice of putting a twist in the her hair dryer cord with every pick up cycle. The cord at the device ends up shorting. Then she bitches at me as she resets her clock radio after I reset the GFCI.

I have not had any problems with the aluminum wiring. But damn I was stiff twisting around on hands and knees making all the new connections. Oh and I installed light fixtures in the bedrooms. Prior to this the light switch in each bedroom switched half of one duplex receptacle. That was not going to work with young kids, with a floor lamp to be knocked over.

The only connection in the old aluminum connections that showed any sign of deterioration and heating of the old wire nut on the junction that fed the fridge. I guess 40 years of compressor starting is a pretty good real world stress test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I would say that if you have not had any issues and your home insurance covers it, leave it alone.

All plumbing fixtures and materials are prone to leaks and/or fails.
Actually, that's what I am planning to do. I'm monitoring the situation closely. If it happens and the cost of repair is bigger than my deductible, the repair will be covered by insurance and i will probably have the whole thing replaced then. If repair cost is small (since I'm monitoring it closely and try to catch it at first sight), ill probably just have it done myself. The house is now 24 years old and was built by a very reputable construction company.
 

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Replacing plumbing isn't too expensive, it's the access that's the problem.
My old house with an unfinished basement, a good 80% of all plumbing was accessible. I could have replumbed it in a long weekend.
My new house about 30% is available.
I disagree. Change it. Poly B is not the same as copper. A properly installed copper system should last 50+ years without issue. There are multiple poly B lawsuits. Even if you’re insurance company is covering you, I’d guess you’re paying a premium.


there are costs beyond financial for a major water leak. I wouldn’t risk it.

edit: I was disagreeing with m u/w who said to leave it alone.
 

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My son's friend just moved into a old but renovated house in North Vancouver. Most of the poly b was replaced but it still has one bathroom and a bit of poly B left. The insurer asked specifically about poly b and it cost an additional $500 to insure.
 

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We are in the process of replacing the water line into our semi-detached home. The existing line is Poly-B, likely the entire house has it. The water leak that we have is outside the house - between the house and the water main. Insurance will not cover it unless the leak is inside the house.
The guy who owns the other portion of the semi-detached home contacted Milani Plumbing to fix the problem - they quoted 2300 to fix the problem. They dug a hole, found a leak, fixed it, and then proceeded to tell the owner the there was another leak in the line - and then filled in the hole. They billed him 2000 for 4 hrs work - and they didn't fix the problem (the 2 men were not even plumbers). So, I intervened & found a plumber who would replace the water line for around 3.5 - 4K - but that is outside only. As for the poly-b inside, It will be a gradual process to replace it.
Caveat emptor when it comes to plumbers. scarey.
 

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Replace the pipe and install an automatic shut off valve (flo by moen, etc.). With most plumbers using some form of PEX these days an automatic shut off valve is piece of mind. I use a centrally monitored water alarm in the same room as the shut off valve in the event the damage occurs before the valve connection. This way you can rush home or shut the valve off remotely on your phone.

I replaced galvanized pipes in a commercial building last year and it cost around $1500 (kitchen and 2 bathroom), It was a pretty quick consider they used PEX. I think it took them 2 hrs or so.
 

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We are in the process of replacing the water line into our semi-detached home. The existing line is Poly-B, likely the entire house has it. The water leak that we have is outside the house - between the house and the water main. Insurance will not cover it unless the leak is inside the house.
The guy who owns the other portion of the semi-detached home contacted Milani Plumbing to fix the problem - they quoted 2300 to fix the problem. They dug a hole, found a leak, fixed it, and then proceeded to tell the owner the there was another leak in the line - and then filled in the hole. They billed him 2000 for 4 hrs work - and they didn't fix the problem (the 2 men were not even plumbers). So, I intervened & found a plumber who would replace the water line for around 3.5 - 4K - but that is outside only. As for the poly-b inside, It will be a gradual process to replace it.
Caveat emptor when it comes to plumbers. scarey.
Don't know what the terrian is like but I replaced half of my water line years ago by myself. Mine was copper. City sent a guy out located and marked the line. It orginally came up through my basement floor, likely under the foundation and that was the problem. I had to re routre it somewhat so I didn't have to rip up a concrete walk. I rented a concrete drill to drill a new hole through my foundation wall, installed a new pressure reducer and re soldered the new copper to the other half (20 ft) that remained. This was 20 years ago approx and I keep waiting for another leak in the part I didn't replace. Also the section I did replace I put into a 1.5 in black poly line so if I have to replace it I can slide the old out and new in. for$3.5 -4K I'd think about you and the neighbour doing it. When I did mine I connected a hose from my neigbours house to feed ours so didn't feel time pressured to get it done. If I do get more leaks in the old part I'll likely replace the entire house to city line. My neighbours replaced theirs a bout 4 years ago - pretty easy straight shot and I think the cost was in the range of what ur being quoted. No wondering housing is so expensive...
 

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I want to do it, but he's not inclined. We are presently getting water from the neighbors, which, I think adds pressure to get the job done more quickly than if I had time during the summer to dig and drill etc. Your summary looks very similar to what I am dealing with. We are drilling into the foundation and re-routing the water line inside the house, rather than digging a trench along the entire side of the house. My neighbor had the same job done two years ago - he had poly b as well. The contractor used a technique to "pull" a new pipe through the existing one which didn't necessitate digging a trench, replacing the pipe etc..it was around 6K for him to do using that technique.
 

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I want to do it, but he's not inclined. We are presently getting water from the neighbors, which, I think adds pressure to get the job done more quickly than if I had time during the summer to dig and drill etc. Your summary looks very similar to what I am dealing with. We are drilling into the foundation and re-routing the water line inside the house, rather than digging a trench along the entire side of the house. My neighbor had the same job done two years ago - he had poly b as well. The contractor used a technique to "pull" a new pipe through the existing one which didn't necessitate digging a trench, replacing the pipe etc..it was around 6K for him to do using that technique.
If you check youtube you can see some videos on the no trench pull it thru method. Pretty slick. Good luck.

Also just a fyi if re doing in copper make sure to put a sleeve over the copper where it goes thru the foundation to insulate it from the concrete. Concrete against copper can react and cause failure in the copper.
 

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Update: I had all the polyB plumbing removed and replaced with PEX a few weeks ago. It ended up being $4,800 + GST. It only took about a day and a half, super job and they performed magic and I didn't have any patching to do. I had three quotes and these guys were in the middle, but $1,800 less than the most expensive company. I went with "Canyon Plumbing" Calgary, because of several of my neighbor's had used them with excellent results.

Shopping around for house insurance last year, polyB is on most insurers radar now. I stayed with the company I was with because of that. Now I will be able to shop around and I have certification that no polyB exists in the house anymore.
 
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