In residential plumbing, Kitec plumbing has emerged as a topic of considerable importance for homeowners, particularly in Ontario. We aim to clearly understand Kitec plumbing, address its common issues, delineate its associated challenges, and explore its implications on home insurance policies. Our objective is to equip homeowners with essential knowledge and practical insights.
What is Kitec Plumbing?
Introduced in Canada in 1995, Kitec plumbing has become familiar among homeowners. Recognizable by its blue and orange pipes, this plumbing solution comprises a polyethylene and aluminum blend. Kitec was the predominant brand name for this plumbing system, yet it was also marketed under several other brand names, including AmbioComfort, AQUA, KERR Controls, WarmRite, and Plomberie Amelioree. An estimated 292,000 homes in North America are believed to contain Kitec plumbing, although the specific number within Canada remains uncertain. It’s believed that 516,884 properties in Canada could be impacted by the Kitec crisis. Known for its affordability and ease of installation, Kitec was widely used for drinking water systems and under-floor heating, but its journey was not without challenges.
Kitec Plumbing Issues
Kitec plumbing, despite its initial popularity, soon became notorious for its problems. The major issues included:
- Heat Sensitivity: The orange pipes, designed for hot water, couldn’t withstand high temperatures, leading to deterioration.
- Pressure Problems: High water pressure was another nemesis for Kitec pipes, often failing.
- Dezincification: The brass fittings in Kitec systems were prone to dezincification, a process where zinc leaches out, leading to blockages and leaks.
The Kitec Plumbing Class Action Lawsuit
Kitec plumbing was recalled in 2005, leading to a 2011 class action lawsuit settlement approved by courts in Quebec, Ontario, and the US, offering part of a USD 125 million settlement to affected homeowners. Although claim submissions closed on January 9, 2020, ongoing claim processing and fund distribution are still underway. Compensation is currently limited to those with system failures, but all Kitec plumbing homeowners are advised to file claims and to monitor the settlement administrator’s website for updates.
Kitec Plumbing in Ontario
Kitec plumbing became a widespread issue in Ontario, particularly in homes built or renovated between 1995 and 2007. If you’re an Ontario homeowner, checking if your home features these pipes is wise.
Identifying Kitec Plumbing in Your Home
To determine if your home has Kitec plumbing, consider the following:
- Colour of the Pipes: The distinctive blue and orange pipes are a key indicator.
- Kitec Branding: Pipes may be marked with “Kitec” or other brand names we discussed earlier.
- Marks on Fittings: Look for brass fittings stamped with “Kitec” or “KTC.”
- Professional Plumbing Inspection: If you’re uncertain about the presence of Kitec plumbing in your home, it’s advisable to engage a licensed plumber to conduct a comprehensive inspection of your piping system.
Should your home have Kitec plumbing, consider its replacement to prevent expensive water damage, which may require special coverage to deal with subsequent repair costs, which can be as high as $5,000 to $10,000 per unit.
Replacing Kitec Plumbing
If you find Kitec plumbing in your home, replacing it is often the recommended course of action. The cost varies, but expect to budget between $5,000 and $15,000, depending on your home’s size, the extent of Kitec usage, and other factors. It is advisable to obtain several estimates from qualified plumbing contractors to accurately gauge the cost of replacing the plumbing.
Does Home Insurance Cover Kitec Plumbing?
When seeking home insurance, your provider will inquire about the type of plumbing in your residence. A critical question for many is whether home insurance policies cover Kitec plumbing. That’s why it’s important to know the difference between broad and comprehensive home insurance coverage. Certain insurance companies might exhibit reluctance to insure homes with Kitec plumbing, or they could propose policies with higher deductibles. Consulting your insurance provider for detailed information is crucial.
The Bottom Line
Navigating the intricacies of Kitec plumbing requires informed decision-making. Addressing potential plumbing issues, understanding the nuances of insurance coverage, and evaluating the implications of buying or selling a property with Kitec plumbing are all critical. Stay informed, seek professional advice, and make well-considered decisions to safeguard your home and ensure peace of mind.