Whether you are selling your home or purchasing a new one in Cape Coral check the plumbing! Polybutylene, or gray pipe, is becoming a more commonly asked question from insurance underwriters. Due to a fairly recent class action lawsuit insurance companies will no longer insure a property that has the dreaded gray pipe and if it exists with a current homeowners policy, your insurer may even cancel.
Homes built from the mid 80’s to mid 90’s were often built using this type of plumbing. Even homes built prior to these years may have been repiped with polybutylene as older systems required replacement. Polybutylene will have “PB” followed by a series of numbers and is always gray. It can be solid pipe like PVC or it can be in a flexible tube form.
As a buyer it might be prudent to pull permit histories on homes that you are seriously considering making an offer. Permit histories do not always show what type of plumbing was used during construction or repipe. In that case look under the sinks and if possible pop your head into the attic. A home inspection will also outline the type of plumbing system.
If you need to sell your home I recommend having a licensed plumber inspect the plumbing system if you are unsure what type of piping is installed. Knowing this prior to inspection or placing your home on the market will cut down on wasted time and aggravation. Polybutylene is considered a material defect that affects the value of the property and disclosing this to potential buyers is required. Not everyone has the financial resources to repipe, repair the drywall and paint; if this is the case you might consider offering a credit towards repair at closing or towards repairs completed by the buyer prior to closing (option #2 is NOT recommended).
Plumbing, roofing and electrical wiring are major factors in obtaining insurance on a Cape Coral home. I highly highly highly recommend contracting a licensed inspector once you find a home and get it under contract. *** Any advice contained in this article is not to be considered as a replacement for property inspection