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Is a Dura Pex Pipe Problem Hanging Over Your Head?

Woman upset on phone with leak in her ceiling

4 Signs You May Need to Repipe Your Home

Joe looked down at his phone and his heart nearly skipped a beat.

It was his wife calling—and she never calls him at work. Or at least, never to just shoot the breeze.

“Anytime she calls,” Joe said, “something big is going on.”

This was big alright. His kitchen ceiling was leaking from an upstairs bathroom. “It was dripping on the floor,” he said, recalling his Meadowlakes II home in Rock Hill.

“So we called Precision,” he said. “They came out and fixed it. They said you’ve got Dura Pex—it’s this dark red/burgundy pipe—and it’s likely it’ll happen again.”

Joe held his breath.

“Then we got a leak in another place,” he said. “After the second time, I would regularly go under the house in the crawl space and make sure it wasn’t leaking under there.”

Tick. Tick. Tick. Joe was now borderline paranoid.

“Then we got a leak in another place,” he said. “By the third leak, we said, ‘tear it all out.’”

What the Pex?

If you haven’t heard of Dura Pex—or Pex for short—it’s a pipe that came on the scene as the housing market was starting to boom in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

It’s known for its trademark dark red/burgundy color, but not always. Sometimes you can find it in white or blue.

But it was a welcome alternative to the grey Polybutalene pipe—popular in the 80’s and 90’s—that had a slew of issues, ranging from micro-fracturing to pipe splitting.

“Everything was great when they first started making Dura Pex,” said C.J. Dover, service manager at Precision Plumbing, Heating and Air.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly which years were problematic or why, but 2000-2006 seem to be the worst of it—coinciding with the housing market spike. Many times, it’s the hot water line that’s first to fail on Pex piping, but there are exceptions. Brass fittings with bad zinc have also exacerbated the problem.

“Pex piping is all around us,” Dover said. “Tega Cay and Fort Mill areas alone have a lot of it. Rock Hill as well. But this pipe can be found all around the country.”

And it starts just like Joe’s house. One leak here. Another there.

Dover has seen this movie so many times. And the ending is almost always the same.

“It’s bad. It’s real bad,” he said. “It usually starts with a pinhole and it travels the pipe and goes from there. You can spend thousands of dollars, time after time. Or you can just re-pipe your house.

There’s nightmare stories about Pex pipe. So many, that you wonder if it’s all true. Dover’s heard them all.

“People come home from vacation and there’s 2-3 inches of water in their house or a 50-to-60-thousand-dollar insurance claim. The insurance company is going to pay for damages. But they’re not going to pay to re-pipe your house.”

By 2006, Dura Pex sold its company to Nibco, which settled a 43.5 million class action lawsuit in 2018. Nibco has long since cleaned up the Pex issues and it remains of the most popular pipes used in homes today.

‘Super Professional’

So maybe you’ve heard some of the Dura Pex horror stories and you’re in a house built in one of these problematic years.

Maybe you’ve had a leak—or two—pop up in a wall or ceiling and you’re hoping these magically disappear. What do you do?

Precision will come out free of charge to inspect your situation--many times without having to tear into a wall—and give you a quote for your individual situation.

“If you’re on a crawl space, we can tell right off the bat, if you’ve got that kind of pipe,” Dover said. “Sometimes we can tell by looking at the water heater, depending on how it was pipped out from the wall.”

Only as a last resort will a Precision plumber have to tear inside your wall to diagnose the issue.

But if you do end up re-piping your home, Precision’s mindful crew has an uncanny way of putting you at ease.

“It was great,” Joe said. “Super professional.”

Most re-piping jobs take 2 days or less, depending on the size. Precision can also help arrange the drywall and painting repairs.

“They told us what to expect. They finished early. They cleaned up after themselves,” Joe said. “And now, you know you’re good.”

Worried about a Pex pipe problem in your home? Call Precision for a free inspection and quote today at 803-328-2814.

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