Nobody likes a leaky pipe, especially when it creates home damages worth thousands of dollars. Thanks to a 1995 class-action settlement, more than 330,000 homeowners have already had faulty plumbing systems replaced for free. The settlement set aside more than $1 billion for repairs and replacement of plumbing systems made with polybutylene (PB) pipe, a flexible pipe used in an estimated 6 million homes beginning in the late 1970s. In 1995, several manufacturers supplying the resin for PB pipe were sued for alleged defects that caused the pipes to leak.
Under the terms of the settlement, homeowners who have faulty PB pipe in their homes might be eligible for monetary support or pipe replacement. The Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center, which was established to distribute settlement money, estimates that thousands more homeowners might still be eligible to file claims in the settlement. All PB-pipe settlement claims must be filed by May 1, 2009. For more information about PB pipe, deadlines, and eligibility requirements, call 800-392-7591, or visit www.pbpipe.com.
—Tory Marlin is an editorial intern.
PB pipe is usually gray, can be identified by the PB2110 stamp, and should not be confused with PEX, PVC, or CPVC. The leak-prone pipe was used in water-supply lines.