What is a Kitec pipe?
These are potable water supply pipes and heating water piping for radiant heat floor systems. These plastic pipes manufactured by IPEX are often orange and sometimes red or orange (hot water) and blue (cold water) but can also be gray, black or pale blue (less often).
Be careful not to confuse them with blue (cold water) and red (hot water) plastic pipes under the PEX brand name. Hence the importance of reading the inscriptions on the pipes and fittings.
These pipes were manufactured between 1995 and 2007 approximately.
The pipes generally include these inscriptions :
- IPEX AQUA
- Kitec XPA
- KERR Controls
- Plomberie Améliorée
If you do not find these inscriptions, it is common for brass fittings to have an inscription such as :
Sometimes we can find this mention also :
- CSA B137.9/10
- ATSM F1974
- ASTM F1281 ou F1282
Here http://www.reglementkitec.com/ are some pictures kitecphotos.cfm
Are these pipes problematic?
A class action is brought against IPEX inc. and a fund of 125 million US dollars (US $ 125,000,000) has been created. The Claim deadline is January 9, 2020. Claims submitted after this date will be rejected.
The plaintiffs claim that : ''the Kitec System is or may be defective because it could prematurely fail resulting in leaks or damage to the structure''
The pipes have two plastic layers separated by an aluminum layer. Fittings made in Taiwan with too much zinc are often the cause of leaks due to dezincification creating blockages, increasing the pressure in the pipes that can cause cracks or make the pipe burst.
The harsher water of wells also seems to be the cause of leakage in Quebec (case seen in inspection).
In addition, some of these pipes do not support temperatures above 77 degrees Celsius. Note that a recall (https://www.nachi.org/kitec-fittings.htm) for brass connectors was made in 2005 by IPEX because they had a tendency to corrode too quickly.
''The Canadian manufacturer and distributor of Kitec, a brass pipe fitting that can leach zinc into connecting pipes, has reached a tentative $90 million settlement with legal representatives of an estimated 34,000 homeowners across the Las Vegas Valley. That company, Ipex, had resisted a financial settlement, arguing that homebuilders and plumbers should have known the valley's hard water would corrode the inside of the brass fittings, said its Las Vegas attorney, Jim Carraway.''
Source : https://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/) Kitec_Plumbing_Leaks_Settlement.php #Kitec_Properties(
And the insurances in all this?
Some insurers refuse to insure a property with any Kitec pipes. I have even heard a case where the all the pipes were replaced in the condominium but the insurer still refused to ensure given that other condominiums still had some. It is therefore important to check with your insurer if you are covered in case of water damage related to this type of system. Several insurers do not make any case.
According to Square one insurance (https://www.squareoneinsurance.com/kitec-plumbing) : ''Some plumbing experts say the question is not IF your Kitec plumbing will leak, but WHEN it will leak''.
Where is the best place to check these pipes?
The mechanical room, above your water heater, above the main water valve, hydronic heating systems, etc. Also, check under your sinks, toilets, kitchen sink if these pipes are present.
It also happens that a yellow sticker is present on the cover of the electrical panel with an indication not to put the ground of the panel on these pipes that are not conductive (plastic).