My Polybutylene Experience

By John E. Rivoire

In 1992, we completed construction on our 4400 heated square foot home. It had three full bathrooms and two half-baths. Additionally, it had a laundry room with a large sink, and several appliances that required plumbing. I am a registered nurse with no previous plumbing experience. Because of the ease of installing the Vanguard Piping System, I was able to plumb this home by myself. I did get contractors to install the showers and whirlpool.

At the time, Vanguard used polybutylene as their pipe and manifold material. During the first 4 years we lived in our new home, we had 2 major water leaks. Each episode resulted in substantial damage to our home. After the second event, the insurance company sent an investigator who was an engineering expert. His job was to determine the cause of each plumbing failure, make recommendations to help me avoid future losses and help the insurance company determine if they would continue offer meto coverage. He found that the plumbing failures were the result of freezing that was caused by improperly installed insulation. The plumbing components that froze and subsequently failed were not a VANGUARD or polybutylene product. The first time, a copper line between the hot water heater and the polybutylene burst. The second failure was a piece of PVC piping that a contractor used to tie in our whirlpool. The Vanguard pipe and MANABLOC products have to this day been trouble free since I installed them in 1992.

Despite the temperature extremes that caused the more traditional plumbing materials to fail the polybutylene has never failed. The insurance company expert also determined that due to the inappropriate installation of the insulation between the first and second story of our home the fact that I had used polybutylene to plumb the home kept the water damage to a fraction of what it would have been had we used copper or PVC pipe. Other than making the insulation contractor redo my insulation, no recommendations were made for modifications to our home, the insurance company did not refuse to renew our policy and our premiums were never increased.

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Please note that I have no affiliation with Vanguard Piping and that this site is maintained by me without the consent of Vanguard. All opinions contained within this site are my personal beliefs. I am a satisfied customer and not a plumbing expert.

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