what you need to know about POLY-B
Poly-B stands for Polybutylene, a grey, flexible pipe used for construction plumbing between 1985 and 1997. Considered a cheap and more easily installed alternative to traditional copper pipe, Poly-B is in over 700,000 homes in BC alone. It worked great for the first 10 years. Then things started racing downhill.
The lack of installation standards was the first problem. The preferred method of metal fasteners wasn’t mandated, and cheaper fasteners became available. The amount of allowable bending stress wasn’t determined, so installers were free to use their own judgement. The end result was hundreds of thousands of homes with poorly installed and inadequately formed piping.
Poly-B wasn’t put under real world testing before approval. They tested it for strength vs water pressure up to 70psi, but was not tested for withstanding the chemicals used to treat our water. Had they run those tests, Poly-B would have never made it to market.