Is the Kitec Monster Lurking In Your Home? Are You Sure?
Sold between 1995 and 2007, Kitec is a widely used and common plumbing piping system made by IPEX that was sold between 1995 and 2007. It was used for distributing water through homes and commonly for supplying water to radiant heating systems. The Kitec system used blue and orange piping made from a mixture of flexible polyurethane and aluminum. There were brass fittings designed to go with the system. It was lauded as being superior to copper piping because the Kitec pipes were easier to install, less expensive and more flexible making them less likely to split.
Manufacturing ceased in 2005 after reports of corrosion and bursting mounted. Since then, there have been reportedly, thousands of reported incidents and many home inspectors and insurers are saying that it is not a question of “if” the plumbing and fittings will fail but rather “when” they will fail. Insurance companies are increasingly refusing to ensure homes with the system and home inspections are turning up a surprising number of homes with Kitec.
Here in the Collingwood – Blue Mountain area, Kitec has indeed been an issue as is turning up in many homes and condos either built or renovated between 1995 and 2007. Owners in one local, upscale condo development here are having to retrofit every unit at significant cost.
Toronto Real estate lawyer, Bob Aaron wrote a column on the topic in the Toronto Star in March which you can read here. He cautions home owners that there is valid reason for concern if they have this system as fixing it can be a costly undertaking. There is one glimmer of good news though for affected parties. A class action suit against the manufacturer, IPEX, was settled in 2011and resulted in $100 million being set aside for claimants who have until January, 2020 to file a claim. You can find out more details about making a claim at http://www.kitecsettlement.com/
We will be dealing with this issue for years to come and my advice to home owners who have Kitec systems in their homes is to remediate it because you will either pay for it now or pay for it later. For buyers, this is yet another reason to be sure you have a home inspection with a reputable Home Inspector.