Friday, April 26, 2013

Polybutylene - Is it a problem?



Acetal fitting shows signs
 of flaking
As a home inspector, I often run across polybutylene plumbing.  Home buyers and home owners always ask, “Is it a problem?”   The facts are polybutylene pipes have an unusually high rate of failure under normal operating loads.  Deterioration linked to water additives like chlorine and fluorides react with the polybutylene piping and acetal (a strong stiff plastic) fittings causing them to scale and flake and become brittle.  Micro-fractures result and the basic structural integrity of the system is reduced.  The system becomes weak and may fail without warning causing damage to the building structure.

Polybutylene is a form of plastic resin that was used extensively in the manufacture of water supply piping from 1978 until 1995. Due to the low cost of the material and ease of installation, polybutylene piping systems were viewed as "the pipe of the future" and were used as a substitute for traditional copper piping.

  • Polybutylene pipe is grey, black or blue.  Interior polybutylene plumbing is almost always grey and exterior polybutylene plumbing is mostly blue.
  • Polybutylene pipe was installed and manufactured from the late 1970's till the mid-1990's, however, stockpiles of polybutylene pipe at supply vendors, such as supply risers were still known to be available up to 1999.
  • The most common sizes for polybutylene pipe are 3/8", ½", ¾" and 1".
  • Polybutylene piping was easy to install and often used as a replacement for copper.
  • Polybutylene was often routed through the attic, a disaster in waiting.
  • Polybutylene piping was used for both residential and commercial water distribution piping.
  • Polybutylene pipe connectors can be copper, brass, or plastic. The connector types are barbed with a crimp ring or compression with a plastic or metal ferrule.

Polybutylene pipe with plastic fittings or metal fittings will ultimately suffer damage; polybutylene piping is not reliable under any circumstances. If a pipe has been leaking for some time without the knowledge of a homeowner, severe structural damage to the home can result, making repairs extremely difficult.

Damage from polybutylene pipe leaks can be costly, in some cases more than the original cost of the house.  Insurance companies require a home inspector to note any polybutylene plumbing on a four point inspection report.  Policies may be cancelled or refused for homes with known polybutylene problems, and it is difficult to market a home that has such an unreliable plumbing system.

You can get a good deal when purchasing homes with polybutylene plumbing but have a plumber estimate the cost to replace the plumbing.  Factor in the cost of replacement of the plumbing system into the offer for the property.  Make sure you replace the plumbing system sooner than later.  Polybutylene may be stable for years or it my burst at any time.

In the opinion of this home inspector, the only good polybutylene is no polybutylene.  Polybutylene is unstable and could burst at any time.

Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.

First Choice Home Inspections
Phone:  (386) 624-3893
Email:  home.inspections@aol.com
Website:  Http://www.1homeinspector.com

 

 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chinese Drywall Additional Information


I have had many calls from homeowners with questions about Chinese Drywall.  I perform home inspections and can identify the signs of Chinese Drywall.  I have performed research into Chinese Drywall and I hope some of the links below can be of use to homeowners and their search for answers.  If you are searching for answers to health questions verify with your home inspector that you do in fact have Chinese Drywall and consult your physician.  

Question:  What year homes were the most effected by Chinese Drywall?

Answer:  Chinese Drywall began arriving in the United States in 2001.  Home built from 2001 on may contain Chinese Drywall.  Homes repaired and remodeled after 2001 may contain Chinese Drywall. The problem with identifying a year that a home may contain Chinese drywall is that some builder suppliers may have had quantities siting in a warehouse or a builder or contractor may have purchased it and not used it until needed.  Homes built, repaired or remodeled up until 2010 or even later may contain Chinese Drywall. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:  http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/drywall/guide_healthcare_providers.htm

Chinese Drywall Litigation

IRS Chinese Drywall Deduction

If you suspect you have Chinese Drywall call your local home inspector for a home inspection and ask if they check for Chinese Drywall.  For health and breathing problems consult your physician.  I hope these links will provide you with the information you are seeking about Chinese Drywall.


Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL serving Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Lake Counties.  Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide.
First Choice Home Inspections
(386) 624-3893
Http://www.1homeinspector.com



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What is the difference between a home warranty and a new home warranty?


A home warranty is a one-year service contract that helps protect home owners against the cost of unexpected repairs or replacements of their home’s major covered systems and appliances that breakdown due to normal wear and tear.  A home warranty offers a network of prescreened contractors and qualified technicians, who work in conjunction with the warranty company.

A new home warranty that comes with your new home maybe comfort for your thoughts, but take heed of the fine print. The home warranty is purchased by the builder; the happy feelings of security can quickly turn into a nightmare when something goes wrong.  Many times your builder and the home warranty company insist your particular problem isn’t covered.

As a home inspector, I have seen many situations in which home claims are denied because of one year builder warranty and new home warranty regulations, and even contractors that have gone out of business only to open under a new company name.  A new home warranty is more of a service agreement than an insurance policy.  Be proactive; safeguard yourself by comprehending the policy. When making a home warranty claim, reread your policy thoroughly and be persistent when dealing with the warranty company and builder.

New home warranties cover, workmanship and materials related to a home’s systems and components, including HVAC, the electrical system, plumbing and windows. Most likely it will not cover appliances or components accompanied by a manufacturer’s warranty.  It also usually will not cover alternative accommodations if you have to move out of your home while repairs are being made. 

A new home warranty can last for as long as ten years, but includes shorter coverage terms for certain systems, workmanship and materials. Doors, drywall, and trim are only covered for only the first year; other major structural items may be covered for years longer.  Home warranty coverage only takes effect when severity of defect meets the specified terms covered by the warranty.  A builder will usually warranty workmanship for up to a year.  Make sure you have submitted all claims prior to the year. Schedule a new home warranty inspection to evaluate and document any concerns prior to end of the builders warranty or items limited by a new home warranty.

Get a professional home inspection before you close on the home.   Not only can the home inspection ensure the home is properly constructed, it can also establish the situations of the home at the date it was moved into.  It is always prudent to document as much information as you can before filing a claim.

Frank Carr is the Owner / Inspector at First Choice Home Inspections in Deltona, FL. Formerly in the building trades, Frank’s focus is a safe home and building FCHI. We believe that consumers have the right to expect the highest standards of thoroughness, fairness and effectiveness from their home inspector and that is exactly what we provide. Http://www.1homeinspector.com