You should contact your insurance agent and ask them to look up and see if there's been any claims against the property for plumbing issues and if so find out what. If not I don't think it's something that would necessarily prevent me from buying a home. I've attached a link below to a site that will give you everything there there is to know about Polybutylene Plumbing. I reccomend this site to any of my clients who have questions about it.
I'll weigh in for what its worth and agree with whats been said! I have a home on the market in Wood lake that has PB piping, but was built in 94' after the recall and has metal fittings. We called in several plumbers and an inspector. All said it was absolutely fine! One plumber even certified that it was some of the best plumbing he'd seen and said there had never been a leak in that house. We asked him to quote re-piping and he refused an exact quote, saying that it simply didnt need to be done.
PB pipes with metal fittings are still acceptable for code in VA I believe, and there are a TON of homes in Durham that have them! All of Woodlake and Woodcroft just for starters...
Many many homes in the area still have polybutylene pipes, I would not be terribly concerned about them if they are not currently leaking. Like everything else the possibility of them failing exsist, however they have also been performing their job for 20+ years. I sold a home in Woodcroft very recently that still has them and they were fine.
My PB is apparently the earlier version, installed with plastic style connectors. I keep hearing that the connectors are the problem, but that has not been my experience. I keep finding these pinhole leaks (and one large split) in the PB tube, not in the connectors.
My advice is to stay away from this plumbing, or plan to replace it very soon.
Basically, the issue with PB plumbing is not IF it will fail - it definitely WILL fail. The issue is WHEN will it fail and what are your options. If you are considering purchasing a home with PB plumbing, make sure you talk to your insurance company first - most insurance companies treat this issue differently. Most have some limitations on the coverage they will provide, and some will even exclude plumbing.
And do not be mis-led by conversations of the issue being connectors and not piping. All PB components fail. Metal connectors reduce the number of potential failure components - but not the risk of eventual system failure.
Buying ANY home with PB plumbing should include an expectation to replace the plumbing - before failures cause much more expensive repairs to the home.
Here is a good web site that should answer a lot of your questions about polybutylene piping. http://www.polybutylene.com/
I specialize in older homes and work closely with several very good home inspectors, including Dennis McCulloch at Home Safe Inspections. His web site at: http://homesafeinspectionservices.com/useful.html has a lot of good information.
Do not hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.
Lisa Dye Janes
Cell/VM- (919) 423-3463
WEICHERT, REALTORSÂ® â€“ Mark Thomas Properties
3901 University Drive
Durham, NC 27707
Office- (919) 403-5315
"Your Older House Specialist"