The Story of Kitec Plumbing
What is it?
- Kitec® is a brand of plastic piping used in hot and cold water supplies to plumbing fixtures and in heating systems with boilers.
- It is cross-linked polyethylene (PEX). It often has a thin layer of aluminum embedded between the inner and outer PEX walls. That type is called PEX-AL-PEX. The aluminum prevents oxygen moving through the pipe walls. Oxygen can lead to corrosion of boilers, for example.
- It was popular between 1995 and 2007 because it is faster (less expensive) to install than copper piping. PEX continues to be a popular piping material for both plumbing and heating systems in homes.
- We should start by saying that as of April 2015, we have seen no premature failure problems with this piping in our inspection area. A class action lawsuit was issued in 2011 against IPEX Inc., the manufacturer of Kitec®, alleging that the Kitec® System “may be subject to premature failure and otherwise may not perform in accordance with the reasonable expectations of users.”
- IPEX and their insurance company settled, and set up a $125 million fund to provide compensation for those with Kitec® failures.
- The alleged issue is with fittings that contain high levels of zinc, resulting in corrosion and weakness over time.
- May result in leaks and water damage to the home
- May also result in clogging and poor water pressure and flow
- We don’t know if the issue is limited to areas with certain water chemistry for example, or whether there were manufacturing issues with some of the product.
Identifying Kitec® Plumbing
- It’s usually blue on cold water piping and red or orange on hot water piping. It may also be black, white or grey. Radiant heating piping is most often orange.
- It was sold under one of the following brand names: Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX AQUA, WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls or Plomberie Améliorée
- Fittings may also say Kitec or KT.
- Where to look for Kitec®:
- Near hot water tank or near the boiler.
- Under kitchen sinks or bathroom vanities.
- There may be a notice on the electrical panel stating that Kitec® is used in the home, warning electricians not to ground the electrical system to it.
- You can also ask a professional home inspector or a plumber.
What if you have Kitec®?
- Register with the class action website as a precautionary measure. If you have a problem, you may be reimbursed, in full or in part.
- You have until 2020 to register
- Based on the amount of Kitec® seen in the Toronto area, and the absence of problems to date, our best advice is to do what the class action lawsuit website advises:
- Don’t change your piping! File a claim as a precaution.
- Watch for white corrosion on brass fittings. Contact a plumber if you see any discoloration, or notice a drop in water pressure.
- Watch for blackening of the pipe or a bulging pipe, particularly near the water heater. The website is not recommending replacing the pipe where there are no issues.
- Reminder: we are not seeing any problems in our inspections.
CENTURY 21 B.J. Roth Realty Ltd., Brokerage*
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