BY: MAURICE ANDERSON
Kitec plumbing is a type of pipe that is vulnerable to premature failure. Kitec plumbing was commonly used in homes built between 1995 and 2007, and otherwise for general plumbing repairs or renovations. Kitec is a piping system that was used both for carrying water throughout a home and supplying water to radiant heating systems. The Kitec system was sold under a number of different brand names and in a variety of colors, and it consists of pipes and fittings. In 2005, it was recalled because the pipes and fittings were found to have a tendency to corrode quickly and can fail entirely, which can lead to flooding. During cold weather, there’s nothing more comfortable than radiant heating, especially when it’s installed in your flooring or used for high-end treats like heated towel racks. However, if you’ve used a product known as Kitec in the installation of the radiant heat, some insurance companies won’t insure your home. The product has been plagued with failing fittings and disintegrating pipes. The insurance issue turned up in a house inspection recently and caught everyone by surprise. Is this the new UFFI? It seems that the plumbers who originally installed Kitec have come to believe that if you have Kitec in your home, it will eventually cause a problem. If you have radiant heating in your house that is water-heated and was installed between 1995 and 2007, call your plumber and have him certify that no Kitec was used. If you do find Kitec, the best thing you can do is replace it right away and join in the class action lawsuit to get some money to help the remediation.
The Kitec system used brass fittings as well as blue and orange flexible piping, which was made from a mixture of polyurethane and aluminum. This system was initially thought to be a superior product to copper piping because the Kitec pipes are more flexible, easier to install and less expensive than copper. In fact, many plumbers pushed for the use of Kitec over copper piping before it became apparent that the product was faulty. If Kitec plumbing was used in your condo the condominium corporation had already allocated money in its reserve fund. However, you should be aware that repairing Kitec can be a very expensive undertaking. Not only do you have to replace the pipes but you also have to get access to them which can mean knocking down the walls and then repairing them after replacing the pipes.
If you bought a home and discovered that it has Kitec in it, you may have trouble getting your home insured – it all depends on your insurance company. If you are thinking about buying a home make sure there is a clause in your agreement that states the seller did not use or install any Kitec plumbing on the property or building. According to a 2013 article from the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, “Insurance companies assess risks based on their own claims experience, and some larger companies have not had enough bad experiences with Kitec to deny insurance. Some companies are denying insurance, however, most likely because they are not relying solely on their own claims experience, but avoiding all possible risks.” It had a tendency to corrode at an accelerated rate. These days it’s no longer manufactured. However, you may be able to get some compensation. Due to the fact that Kitec was so widely used in North America a class action lawsuit has been launched. If you suspect that you may have Kitec piping in your home, it would be in your best interest to contact a lawyer to review your options.