How Much Does it Cost to Replace Polybutylene Pipes in Boise?

July 13, 2018

cost to replace polybutylene pipes in boise

The cost to replace polybutylene pipes in Boise ranges from $4,000 to $15,000.

After seeing that high price range, the next question on your mind is probably, “Do I really need to replace my polybutylene pipes?”

The short answer? Yes. We’ll explain more below.

In this article, we’ll cover the following info:

  • What are polybutylene pipes, and why they’re bad news
  • How to tell if you have polybutylene pipes
  • The factors that affect the cost of replacing polybutylene pipes

Want to speak with a Boise pro about replacing your polybutylene pipes?

OR, learn more about the plumbing installation services we offer.


What are polybutylene pipes, and why they’re bad news

Polybutylene (PB) is a form of plastic that was discovered in 1978, and commonly used in many homes’ water supply lines up to 1995.

Often recommended by plumbers as the “pipes of the future,” polybutylene pipes were eventually discontinued by all manufacturers due to lawsuits (Cox vs. Shell Oil) and widespread complaints from homeowners that PB pipes frequently ruptured.

So, what’s so bad about polybutylene pipes?

The answer has to do with the chemical makeup of the pipes, and how they react to oxidants found in the water supply.

All public water supplies contain elements like chlorine and fluoride, which are used to purify the water. However, these cleansing oxidants react negatively with the plastic material of PB, causing the pipes to become brittle and eventually rupture from the inside out.

cracked polybutylene pipe

A cracked polybutylene pipe.

How to tell if you have polybutylene pipes

Polybutylene pipes are generally gray in color (like the PB pipe pictured below), however they can also be white, black or blue.

Since the color can vary, the best way to determine if you have polybutylene pipes is to look at the lettering on the pipe itself.

Go to your water heater, or look under your kitchen or bathroom sink, and look at the connecting pipes. If you see the letters “PB” next to a string of numbers, then that means you have polybutylene pipes (see image below).

PB lettering on polybutylene pipes

Okay, I have polybutylene pipes. What are my options?

Unfortunately, if you have polybutylene pipes, the only option is to repipe your home.

Since it’s only a matter of when (not if) your polybutylene pipes will fail, it’s better to replace them sooner rather than later. Replacing the pipes before they rupture ensures you’ll avoid the additional expensive cost of repairing water damage.

leaking polybutylene pipe

Once polybutylene pipes rupture and leak, they can cause serious water damage to your home.

Factors that affect the cost of replacing polybutylene pipes in Boise

The following factors will determine what you’ll pay to replace your polybutylene pipes:

  • The size of your home: The bigger your home, the more pipe you’ll need to run, which raises the cost of the project.
  • The number of plumbing fixtures in your home: The more plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilets, showers, etc.) you have, the more pipe you will need, which will increase the total cost.
  • The type of replacement pipe material you need: Here in Boise, the 3 most common pipe materials are: PEX, CPVC and copper. Most homes in Boise are okay with PEX piping, which is very durable and versatile and also the least expensive of the 3 pipe materials.

However, you may need a different kind of pipe for certain situations (like copper for hot water lines), which will make the cost of the repiping job more expensive. Your plumber will help you determine what material pipe you need for your home.

  • The contractor you hire: Usually, high-quality plumbing contractors charge more for their services, but they typically do first-rate work. In other words, you usually get what you pay for.

Tips to find a quality plumber: Make sure the plumber you hire is licensed and insured, and check their client reviews on sites like Google and Better Business Bureau to make sure they provide good client service.

For more detailed information about each of these factors, read our article, “What’s the Average Cost to Repipe a House in Boise, ID?

Want a FREE quote to repipe your Boise home?

We’ll send over one of our trusted plumbers to take a look at your home’s current piping situation. Our plumbers always provide honest recommendations and upfront pricing, so there aren't any surprises when the project is over.

Learn more about what we offer by visiting our plumbing installation services page.


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