Does Your Home Have Kitec Plumbing?
Wednesday Mar 27th, 2019
Was your home or condominium constructed or heavily renovated between 1995 and 2007? If so, it may contain a Kitec plumbing system. Kitec was widely used in both Canada and the U.S. during this time and was sold for pipes for drinkable water pipes, as well as in-floor and hot-water baseboard systems. If you have Kitec in your home, it is cause for concern. It will be an issue when you go to sell, but if pipes leak, or worse yet, burst, you have have extensive damage and even flooding.
Initially, Kitec was popular amongst builders and plumbers as it was cheaper and was marketed as a corrosion-resistant alternative to copper pipes and fittings. Unfortunately, it turns out they are actually prone to accelerated corrosion due to excessive water pressure or water running at temperatures hotter than the manufacturer's rating of 180F (77C) and, as such, it was recalled in 2005 and is not longer manufactured. It is believed by many industry professionals that Kitec pipes and fittings will continue to experience premature failures and these failure rates will increase over time. If you find you have Kitec in your home, the only complete solution is to replace all Kitec with copper pipes and fittings.
Most Kitec plumbing can be identified by its bright orange (hot water) and bright blue (cold water) pipes, which were the most common colours, but it was also sold in red, blue, gray and black. Many people may not be aware that this plumbing wasn't just branded at Kitec, but was also sold under the brand names: lumbBetter, IPEX AQUA, WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls or Plomberie Améliorée If you're able to see any fittings, they'll be difficult to read, but are stamped with Kitec or KTC. The terms CSA B137.9/10 or ATSM F1974 may also indicate that you have a Kitec system.
To do a visual inspection, the best place to look for a Kitec system is near the hot water tank or in the mechanical room where the pipe connects to, or exits from, the walls. You may also want to check any visible pipes beneath kitchen sinks or bathroom vanities. The cost to retrofit a home can be upwards of $15,000 depending on how large the home, style of home, and number of plumbing fixtures. This involves putting a number of holes in the wall, generally about 5 feet apart to ensure the proper number of fittings are installed, and many times removing kitchen or bathroom tiles to access pipes. This is especially common with drop in soaker tubs with tile surround and pot fillers above a range. In a condominium unit, prices can range from $5,000 and up depending on the size of the unit. Each owner must pay for his or her own repairs, and those expenses cannot be charged to the condominium reserve fund. The project duration will vary depending on the size of the dwelling as well.
There is currently an ongoing class action lawsuit in Canada to pay for the repair of buildings, residences, homes or other structures plumbed with the Kitec System. With a large number of claimants expected, it is unlikely most will receive enough compensation to cover the costs of retrofitting or rememdiating damages from faulty plumbing, however, it is important to file a claim if you have been affected by Kitec. Claims have to be filed by January 9, 2020 which is 8 years from the effective date of the settlement. For more information pertaining to this class action, please visit the Kitec Plumbing System Settlement website.
If you have any questions about Kitec plumbing systems, please don't hesitate to reach out and I will direct you to industry experts. Take a peek at your plumbing and feel free to share your stories in the comments or send me an email.
Until next time, yours in this journey we call real estate,