What is Kitec?
Kitec plumbing is a type of plumbing used in the time period of 1995-2007. Manufactured by IPEX it was composed of a thin aluminium layer sandwiched between two layers of plastic and was easy to handle and install. After a period of time, people were experiencing failures at the fittings or pipes themselves. This resulted in leaks that caused damage to many homes. It is said that problems began when the zinc concentration of the brass fittings that were used was changed and this is when problems began to occur from corrosion where the pipe and fittings made contact. Water chemistry also plays a big part in this equation as some areas of the continent were experiencing failures at accelerated rates compared to others. That said, the general consensus is not if there will be a failure, but when.
How do I know I have Kitec? 95% of all Kitec is Orange in colour for Hot water and blue for cold water. The pipe is usually marked with one of the following brand names; Kitec, Kitec Xpa, XPA, PlumbBetter, Ipex aqua, WarmRite, Ambio Comfort, KERR Controls or Plomberie Améliorée. Fittings often have Kitec or XPA stamped on them. Usually, the best places to look for the Kitec system is near the hot water tank or in the utility room where the pipe is connected to or exits the walls. Checking under kitchen sinks or bathroom vanities is also good. The mark of a certification agency like the Canadian Standards Association has the marking CSA 137.9/10. Other types have this marking too, so if unsure have your plumber check it out.
I have Kitec plumbing, what should I do? If you suspect you have Kitec plumbing, contacting a plumber that has experience in dealing with this material and installation is recommended. There are specialists out there that just specifically deal with the removal of this product; such as kitec.ca. They remove and replace the Kitec with either Copper or Pex A plastic plumbing, depending on the area and scenario. They have it tested andcertified by an Engineer. They then refinish and clean up the work areas leaving your home looking like nothing was ever done. There was a recall issued back in 2005/06 and a Class action Lawsuit was filed against the Manufacture. A $125 million settlement was agreed upon and more info can be found at http://www.kitecsettlement.com/index.cfm. The average cost for removal can vary on the home and complexity of the job. A 600-700 sq/ft Condo can average $5000 to $8000 and larger home naturally more. I hope this information is helpful and be sure to click on the links for more information.