It’s not a matter of “if but when” water damage and flooding will occur. That is what has been said about homes having plumbing systems with Kitec pipes and fittings. Kitec plumbing was used for 12 years and can be found in homes renovated and built between 1995 and 2007 when Kitec plumbing supplies were sold.
Class Action Settlement
In 2011, Kitec’s potential danger caused a class action suit that was settled in Canada and the U.S. setting up a fund of $125,000,000. Under the settlement, claimants can submit a clam until the filing deadline of January 2020. The payment is about half of the estimated cost to repair or replace damaged pipes and fittings. Homeowners are encouraged to submit a claim whether or not they have had problems. The deadline for filing a claim is January 8, 2020. For settlement details, homeowners with Kitec plumbing can contact the Canadian Kitec Claims Administrator, PO Box 3355, London, ON, N6A 4K3.
Three Ways to Identify Kitec Plumbing
Kitec pipes have a plastic exterior that covers an aluminum interior.
The pipes have a bright orange colour for hot water and blue for cold water, though it can also be found in gray, red, white and black.
The product was manufactured by IPEX and usually has the name Kitec stamped on the pipes, though it can be marked with IPEX, PlumbBetter and up to six other names. The fittings have Kitec or KTC stamped on them.
Inside or outside of the home’s electrical panel, a sticker will say, “Caution. This building has non-metallic interior water piping. Do not ground. KITEC.”
Two areas for potential failure
The pipes: If the hot water tank is set at too high a temperature, above 180 degrees Fahrenheit for Kitec, this can cause pipes to disintegrate.
The fittings: The required fittings, also manufactured through IPEX, can breakdown and fail due to a process called “dezinctification.” This is the development of corrosion due to the fittings having too high a zinc content. It commonly occurs in household valves and faucets as well.
Signs of Failure: Problems tend to occur in the vicinity of the hot water tank. When pipes begin to fail, a blackening and/or bulging of the pipes can be noticed. For fittings, a buildup of white residue on the outside is an initial sign of breakdown.
Buying or Selling a Home with Kitec: If buying a home, insurance companies may want all plumbing under the Kitec or affiliated names removed. If selling, a buyer will want a price reduction, a replacement of the entire system, or a termination of an existing contract. Buyers might also refuse to consider such a purchase. Disclosure of the existence of Kitec is prudent. Claims made and terms of release must be disclosed.