Copper and Polybutylene Supply Pipes

I have been a long time fan of copper supply lines, and my distrust of various types of plastic substitutes has unfortunately been partially confirmed. For example: some polybutylene systems have been recalled.

Alas copper pipes have some problems too. Some copper supply lines in some areas of the country are developing leaks. We don't know why!

The problems may be related to: water and/or soil conditions; poor quality soldering flux, the use of too much flux; and allowing the flux to remain on the walls of the pipe after the soldering is completed.

What to do if you are about to specify water supply material:

  • Call around to find out if copper pipe failure is a problem in your area.
  • Make sure that you select a qualified plumber.
  • Make sure that the lines are flushed with water soon after the soldering has been completed.
  • If you decide to use an alternate material, take a look at CPVC or the polybutylene systems which have not been recalled. Get the best plumber you can find and make sure that the pipes are properly supported.
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