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Should I replace PolyB in radiant floor heating during renovation

andytechno
andytechno Member Posts: 13
Hi Everyone,
This forum is amazing. I learnt so much here and am looking for guidance.

Recently I bought a 7500 sq ft house in Vancouver (BC) and doing a Reno. The house was built in 1993. It uses copper pipe for house plumbing, has had many leaks and we are re-plumbing the house with PEX. The boiler is also original cast iron 270k BTU and we are redoing that whole area including new boiler, new hot water tank, heat exchangers, solenoid etc.

We are also changing the flooring in the whole house.

The radiant flooring system is using PolyB and looks like it has never given an issue. My plumber says that because radiant heat is a closed system with low temperature and low pressure - it is unlikely to fail and we shouldn't replace it.

What are you thoughts. Given that I am doing a major renovation and all the flooring is anyways getting replaced - should I also rip out the poly b and replace it? My plan is to stay in the house for 20 years.

Thanks and really appreciate your guidance!

Best
Andy

Comments

  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 2,910
    edited February 13
    As you are probably aware, PB installations had major installation problems, but they mostly had to do with the acetyl fittings that were used reacting with oxygen in potable water systems. Not any problems on radiant systems. I have had none on the jobs I installed, so I would agree with your plumber.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    andytechno
  • andytechno
    andytechno Member Posts: 13

    As you are probably aware, PB installations had major installation problems, but they mostly had to do with the acetyl fittings that were used reacting with oxygen in potable water systems. Not any problems on radiant systems. I have had none on the jobs I installed, so I would agree with your plumber.

    Thanks Alan. Really appreciate your response.

    Based on your experience, is there a lifetime expectancy of the radian heat PB. We are already 30 years down. How much more can we expect from it.

    Thanks,
    Andy

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,792
    edited February 16
    I agree with your plumber but would replace it anyway.
    The public perception of PB is that it is a bad product. I think it is likely that your someday buyer will be spooked or ask for a big discount. If it is easy to replace it now, I would do it.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    mattmia2andytechnoRich_49Derheatmeister
  • andytechno
    andytechno Member Posts: 13
    edited February 14
    Zman said:

    I agree with you plumber but would replace it anyway.
    The public perception of PB is that it is a bad product. I think it is likely that your someday buyer will be spooked or ask for a big discount. If it is easy to replace it now, I would do it.

    What you said makes sense.

    My current pipes are in the concrete slab. One option is to leave the current pipes and install new ones between concrete and wooded flooring. Thoughts?
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,871
    Certainly not worth demoing a slab to replace, but have a plan B in mind for the day. Plenty of on top options, but it will take some dimension.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    andytechno
  • andytechno
    andytechno Member Posts: 13
    hot_rod said:

    Certainly not worth demoing a slab to replace, but have a plan B in mind for the day. Plenty of on top options, but it will take some dimension.

    Thanks. I will start talking to the contractor. We have 9 ft height so can spare 1in if we need for on top options. I noticed that we have concrete on top of wood on the main floor and top floor. While demoing the bathroom we found out that the pipe is really close to surface. Will ask the contractor what is the best option.

    Might be possible to just follow the pipe and extract it.
  • gdawg
    gdawg Member Posts: 1

    hot_rod said:

    Certainly not worth demoing a slab to replace, but have a plan B in mind for the day. Plenty of on top options, but it will take some dimension.

    Thanks. I will start talking to the contractor. We have 9 ft height so can spare 1in if we need for on top options. I noticed that we have concrete on top of wood on the main floor and top floor. While demoing the bathroom we found out that the pipe is really close to surface. Will ask the contractor what is the best option.

    Might be possible to just follow the pipe and extract it.
    What did you end up doing andytechno?

    We are doing a reno our home that we recently purchased in Richmond, built in 1989 and have the same issue with Poly B in our in-floor radiant heating on the main floor. We only have 8ft ceilings so don't really have any dimension to work with. So I think our options are re-use it and live with risks, or jackhammer it out and replace.

    Our contractor thinks we should just leave it in place, but we are concerned as we do not have any data on fail rates although I note the comment above suggesting really only an issue in potable water systems (is there any data to support that?). Also concerned about public perception vis a vis resale value (particularly if we are doing major reno, want the investment to be worthwhile). Could live there 5 to 15 years I think.
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,107
    A couple years ago we were servicing a 15 000 sqft home here in Summit Count CO that had miles of PB tubing installed in the late 80ties...Not only was there a O2 ingest problem eventually the tubing started to fail/split ..We ended up abandoning the old system and install Viega Climate Panel/Plated Staple up/Radiant walls and Panel rads.
    PC7060