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Poly B vs. PEX Piping

Poly B vs. PEX Piping: Should You Make The Switch?

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the piping that runs through your home. As long as the pipes are getting water where it needs to go, you’re fine.

However, there’s a growing push in the plumbing world to switch from Poly B piping to PEX pipes. Over the years, poly b pipes had many serious issues, and that’s why PEX pipes have become the go-to option for plumbing systems.

In this Poly B vs. PEX article, let’s look at the differences between the two piping and why switching from poly B to PEX is a good idea.

Polybutylene (Poly B) to PEX Piping: Making The Switch

pex vs poly b pipes comparison

Polybutylene (or Poly B) piping is a type of plastic piping commonly used in home construction between 1978 and 1995. It is typically a grey or black color pipe. If your home was built during this period, there’s a good chance that you have Poly B piping.

While Poly B piping was thought to be a great innovation before, installing this type of pipe in most States is illegal. If you want to know more information about the issues associated with Poly B Piping, here’s our complete guide about Poly B Plumbing >> What is Poly B Plumbing and the Risks Associated With It

So, What’s Wrong With Poly B Piping?

poly b pipes issues

Many different issues have been linked to Poly B piping. Here are some of the most serious problems:

Known To Degrade Over Time

The degradation is caused by a chemical reaction when the pipe is exposed to oxygen. After a certain time, the pipes can start to crack and corrode from within. Eventually, this can cause major problems, such as leaks and water damage.

Health Issues

Another issue is that Poly B piping has leached a toxic chemical into the water. The molecules in the pipe break down and release a chemical called “BPA” or bisphenol-A. This can pose serious health concerns, from an increased risk of cancer to congenital disabilities.

Heat Sensitivity

Poly B piping tends to expand and contract with temperature changes. Also, direct exposure to the sun (such as in an attic) may cause the pipe to burst.

Hard To Find Replacement Parts

Because this type of piping is banned in Canada, it can be hard to find replacement parts if something goes wrong. This can make repairs expensive and time-consuming.

Many people are now switching from Poly B to PEX pipes for all these reasons.

PEX Piping: A Safer and More Durable Option

pex pipe

Many people are now turning to PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) piping as an alternative. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) recommends homeowners switch from Poly B to PEX.

PEX is a type of plastic piping that has been around for many years but only recently started to be used in home construction. Here are the reasons why PEX is a recommendable option:

Easier to Install: PEX piping is easier and faster to install than Poly B. It doesn’t involve any gluing or soldering, which also makes it a very cost-effective option. If you want to know more about the cost involved in replacing Poly B plumbing, feel free to be guided by our article about >> Poly-B Plumbing Replacement Cost: Updated 2022 Price Guide

More Flexible: One of the most significant advantages of PEX piping is it is highly flexible. Also, this can be particularly helpful if your home has frozen pipes, as the PEX is less likely to crack.

Highly Durable: PEX piping is also more durable than Poly B and can withstand high temperatures and freezing temperatures. It has a longer lifespan and is less likely to degrade over time.

Safer Alternative: One of the most critical factors in choosing any type of pipeline is safety. PEX piping has been deemed safe by a number of different organizations, including the FDA and NSF International.

Environmentally Friendly: PEX piping is also a more environmentally friendly option than Poly B. The lightweight material, combined with the fact that it’s easy to install, results in a much smaller carbon footprint.


While Poly B piping was once seen as a major innovation, it’s now considered one of the riskiest options for home plumbing. Also, many homeowners are switching from Poly B to PEX in order to enjoy greater safety and durability.

Replacing your Poly B pipes will help you enjoy peace of mind and a more efficient plumbing system. If you’re thinking about making the switch, consult with a professional plumber to get help with the installation process.

If you are from Lower Mainland Canada and need Poly B replacement alternatives, call us for a free consultation. Our team of knowledgeable and certified plumbers will be happy to help you choose the best piping option for your home and carry out a safe and efficient installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Poly-B the same as PEX?

No, they are actually very different types of piping. To discuss, poly-b is a type of plastic piping made from polybutylene, while PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is a newer and more durable option that has been gaining in popularity over the past few years.

Can you use PEX rings on Poly-B?

While it is possible to use PEX rings on Poly-B piping, most experts do not recommend this. The two types of piping are incompatible, and the risk of leakage or other problems could be much higher.

How do you transition from polybutylene to PEX?

There are several different ways to transition from Poly-B to PEX. Some homeowners choose to replace their entire system, which will involve removing all of the Poly-B piping and replacing it with PEX.

Furthermore, the other option is a more gradual approach. This will include installing PEX piping in areas where it is largely exposed, such as near drains or faucets. Also, this will help you understand how effective PEX is for your plumbing system and decide whether to do a full switch-over later on.

Talk to your plumber about making the switch, and they can help you choose the best method for your home.

John Relampago

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