There’s nothing worse than taking a phone call while on vacation and having a neighbor inform you that there’s a flood of water coming out of your house and they need to know where the valve is so they can shut the water down. The next worse thing is contacting your home insurance rep. By the time you get it all sorted out, your vacation is ruined, your insurance is unaffordable, and you’re trying to see if you can join a 25 year old lawsuit and get a few dollars payback from the company who installed that gray or white Polybutylene pipe that burst under your manufactured or mobile home.

Face it, you’re not getting any younger, and neither is the polybutylene pipe under your manufactured home. That gray pipe, which was outlawed around 1994, is a time bomb waiting to explode underneath your house. Can you afford to hire a plumber to replace all the hot and cold pressure pipes under your house, check to see if the job was done right, wait for water to be restored to your house, hire a contractor to fix the damage done to your house while you were on vacation, and all in the middle of winter when you expected to be soaking up the rays in Hawaii?

Maybe you can, maybe not. Maybe you just don’t want to sink another $5,000.00 into a house you just finished paying for. Maybe you want to get back at a system that employs idiot savants that are paid substandard wages for doing substandard work. Maybe they deserve substandard wages, but that shouldn’t be your concern. You just want your house repaired.

Unfortunately, the contractor sees you coming. You somehow feel you’re getting ripped off, but you have no idea of the how or where of it. This is the time that you need to find someone who cares deeply about your house, your thinning wallet, your dwindling bank account, and where you’re going to take your next bath.

Voila! The only person who fits those qualifications, who really cares about you, is…you! And you better get started now.

Replacing the 25 year old pipe under your mobile home before your vacation, before paying thousands of dollars for water damage, before you have to depend on a contractor to tell you when to take your next shower, is a great idea. I did it, and believe me, if I could do it, anybody can. It just takes some preventive dedication and a surprisingly small amount of cash.

The first thing you need to do is check the pipes under your home. Are they gray? Chances are they are the polybutylene pipes you were warned about. The letters PB on the pipe are another clue, even if the pipes aren’t gray.

You probably don’t have to go under the house to find the pipes; usually, unless you’ve had extensive remodeling done on your home, you’ll see the gray polybutylene pipes coming from underneath the house under your sink, to your toilet feed line, to your washer, etc.

Once you confirm that you have polybutylene pipes, you can never go back. Worry about bursting gray pipes will haunt you in your dreams. When you awaken in the middle of the night, every ‘whoosh’ sounds, whether from the central air conditioning, someone flushing the toilet, or from cars coming and going from your neighbors wild party, will sound like the water in your pipes has finally found its freedom from captivity into the real world. And once Pandora’s pipes have broken, they don’t ever want to go back.

Fix your pipes now. You can do it yourself; if I can do it, anyone can. You have a close friend in your fight called the ‘Internet’, a tool you evidently are using now. I have gone through this process myself with many projects around my manufactured home. The only experience I really had when I started was that I knew how to insulate; that I did professionally. Most of the other repairs, upgrades, act. I had to learn from common sense, relatives, the Internet, and the guy at the hardware store.

Here are some pluses about being your own contractor:

  1. If you’re the one who replaced the pipes under your house, you know how to fix any problems you might have in the future. No more plumbers.
  2. You don’t size yourself up as a contractor would size you up to gauge how much money he or she can get out of you.
  3. You don’t have to look over your own shoulder to see if the job is done right.
  4. Even if you make some mistakes, you’ve saved so much money you can afford to make adjustments, buy different or more materials, etc., without breaking the wallet.
  5. You can rest assured the job is done right, because you know your pipes, and you know the quality repairs you’ve made to your home.

 

I am no contractor, but I have gone through all the hoops on these projects. The problem with listening to experts on these subjects is that they have no idea what blunder you are about to make, what little thing you don’t understand of their fix it steps. Not that you shouldn’t scour the Internet to listen to experts; I did. But you also need someone like me who has made those mistakes you’re probably going to make; you can avoid them, saving time, money, and effort.

I’ll post a video here on DonaldStandeford.com to start off with. Two videos actually, but I combined them. The first will show you some of the polybutylene pipe I’ve cut out from underneath the house with a hacksaw. The second will show you the PEX pipe I replaced the gray Polybutylene pipe with, giving you a clue into the process I went through to secure the new pipes, and the extra stuff I am doing to take advantage of having the insulation torn down and to fix the problems I ran into with bad insulation install of the builders of the homes and with damage from rodents and water.

I will be adding more as time goes on. So here are the first two videos. Remember, that gray Polybutylene pipe looks great on the outside. In fact, you can hit it with a hammer, bend it, twist it, pull it, have your dog chew on it, and it’ll be a while before it will break. But let it sit for a while under your home and eventually the chemicals in your water, chlorine for example, will cause the pipe to harden up. Once the pipes harden up they are a ticking bomb.

Donald Standeford

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