Plumbing problems are never pleasant, but when it comes to Kitec plumbing, they can be downright dangerous.
Kitec plumbing was once hailed as a revolutionary plumbing system, designed to be a cost-effective and reliable alternative to traditional copper pipes.
However, in recent years, it has become known for its significant flaws and potential for failure, causing a range of issues from minor leaks to considerable water damage.
If you’re a homeowner or looking to buy a home, it’s essential to know what Kitec plumbing is, why it’s a problem, and how to tell if you have it.
In this article, we’ll explore all that and more, so you can make informed decisions about your plumbing needs.
From the history of Kitec plumbing to the costs of replacement, and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.
So, let’s dive in and learn the top things you must know about Kitec plumbing.
1. What Is Kitec Plumbing?
Kitec plumbing is a plumbing system that was commonly used in homes and buildings from the 1990s through to the early 2000s.
It was marketed as a cost-effective and reliable alternative to traditional copper pipes, offering the benefits of plastic pipes with the durability of metal.
Kitec plumbing was particularly popular in North America, and it was installed in an estimated 292,000 homes in North America.
Kitec plumbing is a composite pipe made up of layers of plastic and aluminum, with an inner layer of cross-linked polyethylene.
The aluminum layer acts as a barrier, protecting the inner layer from the outside environment and reducing the risk of corrosion.
The plastic outer layer is designed to be more flexible and easier to install than traditional copper pipes.
While Kitec plumbing was once considered a viable alternative to copper pipes, it has since been found to have significant flaws that can lead to significant problems for homeowners.
2. Why Is Kitec Plumbing a Problem?
Kitec plumbing may seem like a modern marvel, but in reality, it’s a ticking time bomb.
These pipes are notorious for their tendency to spontaneously burst, sending water cascading throughout your home.
The worst part?
Kitec pipes are more likely to crack and burst than traditional copper pipes, leading to water damage and costly repairs.
A major leak of this sort can not only cause serious damage to homes, but can also result in mold, mildew, and extremely high repair costs, making Kitec plumbing an absolute nightmare for homeowners.
One of the key issues with Kitec plumbing is the makeup of the fittings used to connect the pipes.
The brass fittings contain high amounts of zinc, which breaks down when exposed to moisture and oxygen in a process called dezincification.
As a result, zinc oxide builds up in the piping, leading to blockages and eventually bursts.
This can create a powder-like buildup around your fittings, a clear sign of dezincification.
Aside from the makeup of the fittings, Kitec pipes themselves are prone to failure.
They can only handle a maximum temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit, which sounds like a lot, but hot water tanks can easily exceed this temperature.
When this happens, the pipes start to break down, leading to leaks and significant water damage.
Kitec plumbing is a major problem for homeowners that can’t be ignored.
If you suspect that you might have Kitec plumbing in your home, it’s crucial to confirm the presence of these pipes and explore your options for replacement.
3. Brands That Used Kitec Plumbing
The Kitec brand was undoubtedly one of the most renowned brands of piping, but there were also several other manufacturers offering similar products.
These included AmbioComfort, AQUA, Kerr Controls, IPEX, Plomberie Amelioree, PlumbBetter, WarmRite, and XPA.
Despite being sold under different brands, these composite plumbing systems were all made up of layers of plastic and aluminum with an inner layer of cross-linked polyethylene.
It’s worth noting that even if your plumbing system was not sold under the Kitec brand, it may still be susceptible to the same issues.
If you suspect that you may have a composite plumbing system in your home, it’s important to take steps to identify it and determine whether it needs to be replaced.
In the following sections, we’ll explore how to tell if you have Kitec plumbing in your home and what to do if you do.
4. How to Tell if You Have Kitec Plumbing in Your Home
If you live in a home built between the late 1990s and early 2000s (roughly between 1995 and 2007), there’s a chance that you have Kitec plumbing lurking in your walls.
So how can you tell if your home is at risk?
One of the easiest ways to check is to look at your pipes themselves.
Kitec pipes are typically colored blue for cold water and orange for hot water, making them easy to spot.
However, it’s worth noting that not all Kitec piping is color-coded, so this method may not be foolproof.
Another way to determine if you have Kitec plumbing is to check the fittings used to connect your pipes.
If you see any fittings labeled Kitec, KTC, CSA B137.9/10, or ATSM F1974, then you likely have Kitec plumbing in your home.
However, this method may not be as easy as it seems, as fittings can be hidden behind walls and in difficult-to-reach areas.
Another way to tell if you have Kitec plumbing in your home is to check for a yellow sticker inside your home’s electrical panel door.
This sticker indicates that non-metallic interior water piping is present in your home, which is a common characteristic of Kitec plumbing.
It’s important to note that Kitec piping cannot be used as an electrical ground, which is why this sticker may be present.
If you’re unsure if you have Kitec plumbing in your home, it’s a good idea to hire a professional plumber to conduct an inspection.
They can check for the presence of Kitec piping and fittings, as well as identify any potential issues with your plumbing system.
In some cases, they may recommend further testing or analysis to confirm the presence of Kitec plumbing.
Identifying Kitec plumbing in your home can be tricky, but it’s an important step in protecting your property and preventing potential water damage.
If you suspect that you have Kitec plumbing in your home, it’s best to take action sooner rather than later to mitigate any potential risks.
5. Does Kitec Plumbing Need to Be Replaced?
If you have Kitec plumbing in your home, you may be wondering if it needs to be replaced.
The short answer is yes, Kitec plumbing should be replaced as soon as possible.
While not all Kitec plumbing will fail, the risk of failure is high enough that experts recommend replacing it to prevent potential water damage and other costly repairs.
If you’re still on the fence about replacing your Kitec plumbing, consider these three important reasons:
Kitec plumbing is prone to premature pipe failure.
This means that even if your pipes are currently working fine, they could fail unexpectedly in the near future, leading to costly repairs and potential water damage.
Kitec pipes are not just at risk of developing leaks, but they may also burst open entirely.
This can be particularly dangerous in the case of hot water pipes, which are more likely to experience this type of failure.
Burst pipes can cause extensive water damage and even result in flooding, which can be a major headache for homeowners.
Replacing Kitec plumbing can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it’s a necessary step in protecting your home and preventing potential water damage.
It’s important to hire a professional plumber to replace your Kitec plumbing, as the process involves removing and disposing of the old piping, installing new piping, and testing the new system to ensure it’s working properly.
While the cost of replacement may vary depending on the size of your home and the extent of the plumbing system, it’s a worthwhile investment to protect your property and prevent costly repairs down the line.
6. How to Tell if Your Kitec Plumbing Is Failing
Keeping an eye out for warning signs of Kitec plumbing failure is crucial to avoiding major plumbing disasters in your home.
Fortunately, there are a few tell-tale signs that you can watch for to determine if your Kitec pipes are starting to fail.
One common warning sign is the presence of a white residue around the outside of your fittings.
This is caused by the breakdown of the zinc in the brass fittings, a process called dezincification, as mentioned earlier.
Over time, this can cause the fittings to weaken and eventually fail, leading to leaks or bursts in the piping.
If you notice a white buildup around your fittings, it’s important to have them inspected by a professional plumber right away.
Another warning sign of Kitec plumbing failure is blackening or bulging pipes.
This can occur as a result of the pipes being exposed to high temperatures, which can cause them to weaken and lose their shape.
This issue is often most pronounced near the hot water tank, so it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on this area of your plumbing system.
In general, if you suspect that your Kitec plumbing may be failing, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and have it inspected by a professional plumber.
They will be able to assess the state of your pipes and fittings and recommend the best course of action, whether that’s repairs or a full replacement.
7. What To Do If You Have Kitec Plumbing in Your Home
The best thing you can do is get it replaced.
While Kitec plumbing has been around for decades, it’s no longer considered safe or reliable and should be replaced as soon as possible.
If your home has Kitec plumbing, you should contact a professional plumber to discuss replacement options.
The plumber will be able to assess the extent of your plumbing system, provide an estimate for the cost of replacement, and recommend a suitable material for new piping.
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t replace your pipes right away, a plumber may be able to suggest some temporary fixes to help you manage and maintain your existing Kitec plumbing.
However, these measures are only intended to buy you some time and should not be considered a permanent solution.
If you have experienced damages due to faulty plumbing, don’t hesitate in taking legal action.
You may join an existing class-action lawsuit or file a claim to one that has already passed its deadline to recoup some of the expenses associated with replacing your kitec plumbing systems.
8. How Much Does It Cost to Repair/Replace Kitec Plumbing
The cost to repair or replace Kitec plumbing can vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage and the size of your home.
On average, a complete replacement of Kitec plumbing can cost between $8,000 and $10,000.
Why does it cost an arm and a leg to replace Kitec plumbing, you ask?
Well, think of it as a full-scale home invasion – complete with the removal of all existing pipes and fittings, and the installation of new piping throughout your home.
Most of these pipes are lurking behind walls and beneath floors, which means accessing and replacing them requires some serious demolition work.
So not only are you paying for new plumbing, but you’re also paying for the equivalent of a home renovation – without any of the fun parts like getting a redesigned home.
9. Can I Repair It Myself?
Attempting to repair Kitec plumbing on your own is not recommended.
This is because the process can be complex and require specialized knowledge and tools.
Not to mention, if the repair is not done correctly, it could lead to even more costly damage in the future.
That’s why it’s best to hire a licensed and experienced plumber to handle the repair or replacement of your Kitec plumbing.
While this may add to the overall cost, it is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job was done correctly.
10. How To Sell Your Home with Kitec Plumbing
If you’re planning to sell a home with Kitec plumbing, you may be worried that it will decrease the value of your property or deter potential buyers.
Despite this, it’s important to disclose this information to potential buyers.
Most cities and counties require full disclosure of all known defects on the property, and failure to do so could result in legal consequences.
While it’s true that Kitec plumbing can be a red flag for home buyers, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the impact.
First, consider replacing the plumbing before putting your home on the market.
While it may seem like a significant investment, it could pay off in the long run by increasing the value of your home and making it more attractive to buyers.
Also if you replace the plumbing before selling, you can provide documentation of the work done, giving potential buyers peace of mind.
If you don’t want to replace the plumbing, you can also consider providing credit to buyers to cover the cost of replacement.
This can make your home more appealing to buyers who may be hesitant to take on the cost and hassle of replacing the plumbing themselves.
Although this option may not be feasible for all sellers, as it will depend on the market and the condition of the rest of the home.
Kitec plumbing can be a serious issue for homeowners and potential buyers alike, so it’s important to educate yourself on the warning signs of failure and to take action if necessary.
If you’re looking to sell your home with Kitec plumbing, don’t panic!
While it may be an obstacle, there are steps you can take to make your property more appealing to buyers.
Just be sure to disclose any known issues and be prepared to negotiate.
Ultimately, the safety and well-being of your home and loved ones should be a top priority.
If you suspect that you may have Kitec plumbing, it’s important to address the issue promptly to avoid costly repairs and potential damage.
And remember, while the cost of replacement may seem stressful to come to terms with, the peace of mind that comes with a reliable plumbing system is priceless.
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Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.