How to identify polybutylene pipes

How to identify polybutylene pipes. If you are interested in purchasing an old home, check for polybutylene pipes. If you don’t know how to locate the pipes, follow the simple procedure to identify the butylene pipes in the home.

How to identify polybutylene pipeshow to identify polybutylene pipes 2022

  1. Usually grey in color, but they can also be white, silver, black or blue.
  2. Stamped with the code “PB2110”.
  3. Flexible and may be curved.
  4. Not used for waste, drain or vent piping, only supply lines.

Identification Parameters for Poly Butylene Pipes

  • Identification through Color
  • Polybutylene pipes are usually blue, silvery gray, and black in color.


1/2 inch to 1-inch diameters.

Blue pipes

Blue pipes were used for cold water.

Silvery gray and black

These were used for both outdoor and indoor purposes.

Identification through Lettering on the Pipe

  • Observe any pipe containing the letter “PB” with a number imprinted on it.
  • This indicates polybutylene.
  • The most common imprint for polybutylene was “PB2110.”

Identification through Common Installation Sites

The main areas for polybutylene pipes were usually outdoors.

Outdoor pipes Location

Polybutylene pipes were located nearby the main water shut-off valve at the water meter. They entered the houses through the basement, concrete slab, or crawl space.

 Indoor pipes location

  • Walls
  • Basement ceilings
  • Sinks, bathtubs, and toilets
  • Water heaters.

Expose some of the plumbing lines; if they are made of copper, then it’s a clue that all the plumbings are of copper.

PB Pipes Replacement Cost

Cost depends upon the size of the home and the type of pipes to be replaced. A house with 1 to 2.5 bathrooms costs almost $1,500 upwards.

Disadvantages of Poly Butylene Pipesdisadvantages of poly butylene pipes

  1. Fragile
  2. Brittle
  3. Quickly cracks
  4. Cause leakage

Working Duration of Polybutylene Pipes

The polybutylene pipes work only for less than 15 years. After this time, it bursts.

Ways to Repair the PolyButylene Pipes

  • Locate the site of leakage.
  • Replace it with a non-PB pipe.
  • You can either use transition coupling for repairing the damaged part.

The Major Issue with Polybutylene

  • The cause of this damage was the low-grade nature of polybutylene pipes.
  • Over time, it started degrading. It starts to create small fractures, resulting in sudden failure. This caused extensive damage to the townhomes.
  • The reason behind the failure was the excess amount of oxidants in public water supplies, including fluorides and chlorides.
  • These oxidants resulted in the deterioration of the polybutylene pipes from the inside out.
  • End result was leakage and bursting of the pipes.

History of Polybutylene Pipes

Polybutylene pipes were widely used in Florida.

Year -Late 1970s to the mid-1990s

From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, millions of people in the United States fitted polybutylene. In 1980 several complaints started regarding the polybutylene pipes.

They were not better than copper pipes and had failed to work

The people suffered thousands of dollars lost to the failure of polybutylene pipes.

A class-action lawsuit was passed, comprising $1 billion for the affected people of the town


  • Flexible
  • Freeze-resistant
  • Easily held together with a variety of epoxies, plastic, and metal plumbing fittings.
  • Less expensive than copper pipes
  • Flexible and Curved
  • Installed for supply lines
  • Comprised of Brass Crimp Rings
  • Copper Fittings


Insurance companies do not underwrite a policy to protect your home in case you are using polybutylene pipes.

Remember to inspect home plumbing before opting to purchase.


If you are interested in purchasing an old home, check for polybutylene pipes. If you don’t know how to locate the pipes, follow the simple procedure to identify the butylene pipes in the home.

Identify the pipes through color, location, impression and shape.

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