Materials used to construct the pipes used in indoor plumbing have evolved over the years, and new technology has enabled us to make these pipes cheaper, lighter, and more durable than ever before. However, the evolution of this technology has not been without hiccups, and one in particular continues to threaten homeowners to this day.
From the late 1970s until about the mid-1990s, polybutylene plumbing was an extremely popular choice with home builders. Also known as “Quest” plumbing, polybutylene was marketed to contractors and home builders as the “pipe of the future,” due to its light weight, low cost, and ease of use compared to traditional copper piping. It spread like wildfire and was placed into millions of homes across the country that were built throughout the 80s and up until 1995.
However, polybutylene plumbing has since been banned, and today homeowners everywhere are being strongly advised to have their home repiped as soon as possible if they still have Quest pipes running through their home.
While evidence is somewhat limited, it’s widely believed that oxidants and other substances react with materials in Quest pipes, causing them to flake and scale, much like some types of metal pipe do. As a result, these pipes and pipe fittings are prone to weak points, which can eventually turn into microscopic fractures and serious leaks.
Polybutylene pipes have failed in the past without warning, and homeowners have returned to find their home flooded because of a sudden, unexpected failure of one of these pipes that they weren’t even aware may have been an issue.
Lawsuits were filed against Quest throughout the 1980s and well into the 1990s, alleging defective manufacturing and installation, resulting in damages amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars. Quest has never actually admitted to knowing that this plumbing was defective. But they nonetheless did agree to fund a class-action settlement.
Quest piping has been banned in Virginia since the 1990s, but many homes that were built through the late 1970s to the mid-1990s still have these pipes running through their walls. Will they fail on you today? Tomorrow? Next week? Possibly. Or they may not fail for another 20 years. The problem for homeowners is that it’s impossible to know and that risk is always present. Thus, it’s far better for your safety and the safety of your home to have your home repiped with a new, more reliable piping material that is less prone to these issues.
There’s another issue as well—insurance. Because these pipes have been known to fail so often, home insurance companies have started declining to cover homes which have Quest pipes running through the walls. Especially for older pipes, which have been exposed to water for many additional years, the risk of a catastrophic accident is so much higher that insurance companies simply don’t want to absorb it. If you do have home insurance (which, you really should) you could wind up paying an elevated premium because of these pipes, or worse, your insurer may even drop your coverage until you get these pipes replaced.Learn more about having your Quest plumbing replaced with a more durable and reliable material by calling the skilled Virginia Beach plumbers from All Day Plumbing! Dial (757) 903-0466 to request an estimate for your repipe service today.
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