Polybutylene was an inexpensive pipe that was used extensively from its introduction in 1978 until 1995, when it was discontinued. During this time it was installed in an estimated 6 to 10 million homes across the United States, and used heavily here in the Pacific Northwest.
Polybutylene, also known by manufacturer names Qest or Quest, was touted as a low-cost, efficient alternative to copper or galvanized pipes. Also manufactured by Shell Chemical Company and Vanguard, the pipe was celebrated as the “pipe of the future”. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to its reputation, which led to its disappearance from the market around 1995 after a class action suit was filed.
Polybutylene pipe is notorious for failing without warning. Because of the Qest system’s central design, it’s not possible to turn off water at plumbing fixtures, which can cause massive water damage when the piping bursts inside the home.
If your home contains polybutylene, insurance companies may deny you coverage in the event of a leak. It can also affect the market price of a home. We recommend replacing polybutylene piping as soon as possible.