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Old 04-24-2011, 08:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senior Chief View Post
Sorry, I have to disagree with RedneckExpress on using bleach to sanitize. Chlorine will not eat through plastic; every gallon of bleach on the grocery store shelf is in a thin plastic bottle, after all. At reasonable concentrations (even at pretty high concentrations) chlorine bleach will not damage your plumbing.

City water is typically treated at 10ppm of chlorine. For sanitizing, you want to aim for approximately 100-200ppm of active chlorine, so 2-3 ounces of household bleach per gallon of fresh water will do a good job of sanitizing your lines. Fill your fresh water tank, add the bleach and let it sit in the tank for a while. Pump it through, and then refill your tank, this time adding a gallon of white vinegar- this will cut the bleachy taste and odor. Let it sit a while then pump through again.

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective sanitizer, but not when combined with masses of water. It would be a very expensive way to sanitize your system.

For winterizing, you need to first drain all the water from your system. There should be one or more low point drains you can open- our Southwind has three. 1 by the water pump, and 2 in the sewer bay. You will also need to drain your hot water heater (remove the plastic plug), and install the bypass if you have one.

If you have an air compressor, you can purchase an adapter at Wally World which allows you to blow air through your system and remove the water that way (close the drains and open the valves), OR you can purchase pink RV antifreeze (not poisonous). Put the antifreeze in your fresh water tank (how many gallons is determined by the size of your system) and pump the antifreeze through until every faucet, low spot and drain is full of pink stuff. If you cannot bypass your HW, you will have to fill it with pink stuff as well, and thats going to take 6 gallons or more by itself.

When you're done pumping or blowing, drain your black and fresh water tanks as well, and you're good for the winter.

Of all the posts I've read, that has got to be the easiest to understand explanation of sanitizing and winterizing yet ! THANKS !!!!
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senior Chief View Post
Sorry, I have to disagree with RedneckExpress on using bleach to sanitize. Chlorine will not eat through plastic; every gallon of bleach on the grocery store shelf is in a thin plastic bottle, after all. At reasonable concentrations (even at pretty high concentrations) chlorine bleach will not damage your plumbing.

City water is typically treated at 10ppm of chlorine. For sanitizing, you want to aim for approximately 100-200ppm of active chlorine, so 2-3 ounces of household bleach per gallon of fresh water will do a good job of sanitizing your lines. Fill your fresh water tank, add the bleach and let it sit in the tank for a while. Pump it through, and then refill your tank, this time adding a gallon of white vinegar- this will cut the bleachy taste and odor. Let it sit a while then pump through again.

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective sanitizer, but not when combined with masses of water. It would be a very expensive way to sanitize your system.

For winterizing, you need to first drain all the water from your system. There should be one or more low point drains you can open- our Southwind has three. 1 by the water pump, and 2 in the sewer bay. You will also need to drain your hot water heater (remove the plastic plug), and install the bypass if you have one.

If you have an air compressor, you can purchase an adapter at Wally World which allows you to blow air through your system and remove the water that way (close the drains and open the valves), OR you can purchase pink RV antifreeze (not poisonous). Put the antifreeze in your fresh water tank (how many gallons is determined by the size of your system) and pump the antifreeze through until every faucet, low spot and drain is full of pink stuff. If you cannot bypass your HW, you will have to fill it with pink stuff as well, and thats going to take 6 gallons or more by itself.

When you're done pumping or blowing, drain your black and fresh water tanks as well, and you're good for the winter.
Regular plastics, like PEX and PVC, hyperchlorination (How most folks sanitize their water systems when taking them out of storage) will not affect them. Poly butylene is susceptible to chlorine, which causes the pipe to degrade and fail, part of the reason it went out of use in plumbing applications in homes and RVs was because of the fact that the chlorine was causing the pipe to fail.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:56 PM   #17
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The truth on polybutylene

Polybutylene is every bit as good as pex, and even superior in many ways. Pex is very suceptable to uv light, polybutylene is not. Pex resists freezing, polybutylene is even better. Pex is flexible, polybutylene is even more flexible. Thus Polybutylene is actually a superior product.

The reason for the mega-lawsuit that spelled the end of polybutylene centered around the fittings used to join the pipe. Brass fittings were available, and if used, those systems are still working. To cut costs, some manufacturers started making plastic fittings, a plastic that was not polybutylene. The plastic fittings failed, thus the lawsuit. Since only one company provided all the resin for polybutylene pipe, and many companies provided the resin for the fittings, and many other companies made the fittings, it was hard to pin down who made the fittings.

Lawyers, being lawyers, they sued everybody associated with the product. In the end the polybutylene resin manufacturer, said "no more", and they refused to make it for piping.

It is a far superior product to pex, but pex is all we are left with.

It is worth mentioning that you can still find it, in very limited, special applications, one of which is the gray plastic pipe used to connect faucets and toilets to the shut off valves. They use it because of it's flexiblity.

I installed miles of it in Alaska. It survived 40 below freezing temperatures and never a broken pipe, once in a while a broken fitting or faucet, but never a pipe.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.polybutylene.com


Myth: Only systems with plastic fittings have problems:
Not true! Systems with metal fittings fail as well. However, it is true that systems with plastic fittings have more components that fail, and our experience tells us that they do indeed fail at a greater rate than systems with metal fittings or manifold-type systems. That said, both metal fitting systems and manifold systems contain polybutylene piping as well as plastic valves, and both of these components are subject to failure. Basically, the distinction is one of "bad versus worse," not "good versus bad."


Myth: Replacing poly pipes costs an arm and a leg:
Actually, replacing poly is about the same cost as recarpeting your home or putting on new roof shingles--providing you use a repipe specialist. A repipe specialist will provide you with the best price combined with the most professional workmanship. To put the cost of a repipe into context (including drywall and paint), it's usually much less than installing vinyl windows or basement waterproofing. It is unfortunate that you need to replace the pipes, but it really is similar to other maintenance items--just one you didn't expect so soon!


Myth:
The class action settlement fund will take care of everything if you have a problem:
All things considered, the class action settlements are very generous; the Cox v. Shell settlement was one of the largest consumer settlements in United States history. But, the settlements were a compromise, so neither side got everything they wanted. For example, significant limitations exist on eligibility for free pipe replacement, such as installation date and location of leak(s). (Note: You are strongly encouraged to contact the class facilities directly if you think you have a claim.)


Myth: Poly problems occur because of poor installation:
Installation quality may be a factor in poly leaks, but in most cases installation does not appear to be the primary cause. Factors contributing to system leaks include degeneration of piping and/or fittings, water quality, chlorine levels, poor installation and age. Over time, some or all of these factors may contribute to system failure. So even with perfect installation, polybuylene systems may likely fail at some point as a result of other factors.


Myth:
Any good plumber can replace my pipes:
True, any reputable plumbing company can install water supply piping professionally, but the real questions are, "Can they do the whole job for a fair price and at the least inconvenience to me?" A few general plumbing companies will do the whole job by subcontracting the drywall and paint, but a company that specializes in repipes is your best bet. They have the personnel to give you a quality job, and they will do it more efficiently, with less damage and inconvenience, and most importantly, for less cost.


Myth: I inspected my own pipes and they are fine:
It doesn't take a pro to do the "Squeeze Test" (squeeze a pipe or fitting with your fingers: If it falls apart you have a BIG problem). But the "Squeeze Test" doesn't help much because it is very rare that a system becomes so decayed that it gets to this state of advanced degeneration before it leaks (maybe 1 in 1,000). The problem is this: Most failures occur in systems that look fine even to the trained eye, so a visual inspection is almost pointless. Yes, you should test your water pressure, but that is about all you can do.


Myth: The poly in my house has lasted for ten years, so it must be o.k.:
Not true. In most cases it takes years for polybutylene systems to fail. While it may leak within a few years of installation, the majority of leaks start to occur in the 10-15 year time frame.


Myth: You will not have a problem selling your home with poly:
This depends on the awareness of the buyer or prospective buyer. In general, real estate agents tell us that homes with poly sell for less and take longer to sell. Frequently, a home inspector flags the problem, and the pipes are replaced before closing. Unfortunately, we do not know how many prospective buyers simply ignore homes with poly because they recognize it as a potential problem from the start.


Myth: If the pipes do leak, it's usually minor:
How about $138,000 worth of damage from a leak that did not qualify the home for a free repipe. Of the homes we work in that have had a leak, about 80% had some form of structural damage. Frequently, the damage repair entails a sheet of drywall and some paint, or maybe carpet pad replacement, but many leaks have been catastrophic causing thousands of dollars of damage to both the structure and the contents.


Myth:
My insurance will cover the resulting damages if the pipes leak:
Absolutely--this is not a myth. Water damage of all sorts is typically covered by most policies, and in certain circumstances the class actions may even assist you. But the problem is that your insurer may decide to increase your premium after a claim (or multiple claims), or worse yet, they may not renew your policy. This can happen with any casualty (such as fire or wind damage), but there is no reason to set yourself up for this type of problem when you can avoid it in the first place.


Myth: My home inspector said the poly "looked" fine:
It may "look" fine, but that doesn't mean much because most of the problems with poly systems are not visible. Basically, a home inspector can look for water leaking RIGHT NOW, he can look for evidence of repairs, and he can look for certain installation no-no's (only where pipes are exposed) such as kinks in the piping. That helps a little, but many things contribute to a poly leak, most all of which an inspector cannot see. What matters most is the useful life of the poly in a home, and an inspector cannot predict this for any poly system.


Myth:
The pipe replacement work will practically destroy my home:
That depends. Pipe replacement is serious work, and if you choose the wrong company to do it, they could make quite a mess. However, a reputable pipe replacement expert knows how to minimize damage to walls and ceilings, so the disruption and the time it takes to complete the job is minimized. The average home should take about five days start to finish, and after that you should see no signs of the work ever being done--that is the real test!



Some useful reading for those interested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.polybutylene.com

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. It is most commonly found in the "Sun Belt" where residential construction was heavy through the 1980's and early-to-mid 90's, but it is also very common in the Mid Atlantic and Northwest Pacific states.


These are typically gray or white in color with a dull finish. Most are shown with pipe attached. Figure (4) is a new fitting.
The piping systems were used for underground water mains and as interior water distribution piping. Industry experts believe it was installed in at least 6 million homes, and some experts indicate it may have been used in as many as 10 million homes. Most probably, the piping was installed in about one in every four or five homes built during the years in which the pipe was manufactured.

How to Tell If You Have Poly
Exterior - Polybutylene underground water mains are usually blue, but may be gray or black (do not confuse black poly with polyethelene pipe). It is usually 1/2" or 1" in diameter, and it may be found entering your home through the basement wall or floor, concrete slab or coming up through your crawlspace; frequently it enters the home near the water heater. Your main shutoff valve is attached to the end of the water main. Also, you should check at the water meter that is located at the street, near the city water main. It is wise to check at both ends of the pipe because we have found cases where copper pipe enters the home, and poly pipe is at the water meter. Obviously, both pipes were used and connected somewhere underground.
Interior - Polybutylene used inside your home can be found near the water heater, running across the ceiling in unfinished basements, and coming out of the walls to feed sinks and toilets. Warning: In some regions of the country plumbers used copper "stub outs" where the pipe exits a wall to feed a fixture, so seeing copper here does not mean that you do not have poly.
See the photos below of polybutylene pipes and fittings.

Will the Pipes Fail?

While scientific evidence is scarce, it is believed that oxidants in the public water supplies, such as chlorine, react with the polybutylene piping and acetal fittings causing them to scale and flake and become brittle. Micro-fractures result, and the basic structural integrity of the system is reduced. Thus, the system becomes weak and may fail without warning causing damage to the building structure and personal property. It is believed that other factors may also contribute to the failure of polybutylene systems, such as improper installation, but it is virtually impossible to detect installation problems throughout an entire system.
Throughout the 1980's lawsuits were filed complaining of allegedly defective manufacturing and defective installation causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Although the manufacturers have never admitted that poly is defective, they have agreed to fund the Class Action settlement with an initial and minimum amount of $950 million. You'll have to contact the appropriate settlement claim company to find out if you qualify under this settlement.
"A series of reports have suggested that increased use of choloramines accelerates corrosion and degradation of some metals and elastomers common to distribution plumbing and appurtenances. With regard to elastomers, the study showed that with few exceptions, solutions of chloramines (either monochloramine or dichloramine) produced greater material swelling, deeper and more dense surface cracking, a more rapid loss of elasticity, and greater loss of tensile strength than equivalent concentrations of free chlorine."
----Steven Reiber, HDR Engineering, American Water Works Association Research Foundation

Call Plumbing Express today for information and a first hand look at what happens to the inside of poly pipes and fittings. We also offer free estimates within our standard service areas.

Polybutylene Pipes and Insert Fittings
Valves- Typically found under sinks and toilets.


Adapters- Typically used to connect polybutylene pipe to fixtures
.

Other fittings.
Manufactured Manifolds.

A riser (22) is a pipe running from sink, toilet, or other fixture to a valve. Pipe may be white PVC (23), black polyethylene (24), cream CPVC (25), or gray polybutylene pipe marked "PB 2110 M" (26).
Polybutylene Plumbing System: Polybutylene pipe with plastic or metal fittings
Polybutylene Yard Service Line: Polybutylene pipe utilizing any kind of fitting


These are typically gray or white in color with a dull finish. Most are shown with pipe attached. Figure (4) is a new fitting.
Metal Insert Fittings- These are typically made of copper or brass. New fittings are shown in (11, 12).


Polybutylene Pipe- Yard Service Line is typically blue (13), gray (14), or black (15). Inside Pipe is typically gray (14) or Black (15).

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Old 04-25-2011, 07:19 AM   #19
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Let me quote from the abstract of the most recent scientific study I could find on this, done in 2005; Mechanical performance of polysulfone, polybutylene,
and polyamide 6/6 in hot chlorinated water

"Polyamide 6/6 showed significant degradation in strength and creep compliance in all environments.
Despite some variability in measured properties, the blend of polybutylene, which has additives to prolong life, did
not degrade. Polysulfone performed the best of the three materials with no discernable change in properties over the
duration of the experiments."

The google references to chlorine degrading polybutylene say lots of "it is believed" or "some evidence suggests".

I think chlorine was originally floated as the problem because of the numerous lawsuits looking for a causation of poly failure in home construction.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:16 AM   #20
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All of this is very informative, but I'm a fairly simple man, and need simple answers...lol. The more research I do, the more confused I get. SO, I think for now we will probably use one of the commercially available cleaners/ sanitizers until we figure the best way to do it. However, I'm definetly going to print Senior Chief's winterizing instructions. They were simple enough even for me !!!!!
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