Between the late 1970's and mid 1990's, a particular type of pipe used for home plumbing called Quest pipe was commonly used. This piping is made of a substance called polybutylene, a type of plastic. At the time, builders thought of this material as a new, futuristic way to transport water through homes, but it was soon discovered that it was extremely problematic and prone to cracking and breaking. If you have Quest pipe in your home, there are certain things you need to know.

What it's Used For

Most Quest pipe was used to either provide water through the water mains outside of the home, or to transport water inside. Most often it can be found attached to hot water heaters, under sinks, or feeding showers and toilets. The pipes are usually either white or gray and have a plastic like appearance. They may be connected with either plastic or metal fittings. Exterior lines can be black, blue, or gray.

Quest Pipe Failure

There is no one pinpointed reason why this type of pipe is so prone to failure, but many theories state that oxidants found in most city water can cause the polybutylene to corrode from the inside out. Eventually the pipe begins to flake, weakening it until it cracks. If you're not home, you may walk into a flooded house or room.

This happens quite frequently with this kind of piping, so much so that a class action lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer of this type of piping throughout much of the 1980's. Even though many homeowners have had their Quest pipe replaced, there are still thousands of homes across the US that still have it. 


If you're concerned about this type of pipe in your home, here are some things you need to know:

  • It is perfectly legal to sell homes with Quest pipe, and previous homeowners are not required to replace it before selling the home.
  • This type of pipe can leak without prior warning or indication that it is about to leak. This can cause serious problems if it happens while you're away from home.
  • Once a home is 10 years old, there is no recourse via the class action settlement.
  • The cost to replace Quest pipe with copper is about the same as it would cost to install new carpet in your entire home.
  • Your insurance rates may be more expensive if the insurance company determines there is Quest piping in your home.

To learn more, contact a company like Angeles Plumbing with any questions you have.