Sometimes, new building materials are a big improvement over the older ones, and sometimes, they are Kitec® piping. Kitec® piping was installed in many homes and condos throughout Canada between 1995 and 2007. It is estimated that this piping was installed in hundreds of thousands of homes, and whether or not the homeowners know it, they are in desperate need of total pipe replacement.
Kitec® piping is made from a composite material. It includes five layers of metal, plastics, resin and adhesives. You can identify this piping because of its bright colours – blue for cold water and orange for hot water. It was manufactured under a variety of company names but is usually stamped with “ASTM 1251” in black lettering. If you are not sure whether or not your piping is Kitec®, it is a good idea to have it inspected by a professional. It also has brass fittings, and it is actually these fittings that have caused a lot of the problems associated with the pipes. The fittings have a high zinc content and as the zinc breaks down, it can cause blockages and other problems in the pipes.
Kitec® was recalled in 2005 but continued to be used until 2007. There was a lawsuit and many homeowners received money to replace their piping, but there is not currently compensation available if you discover that you have Kitec® piping in your home. What should you do? You should know how to turn your water off quickly, as this piping has been known to spontaneously burst without warning. Have your piping assessed for immediate risks and figure out a timeline to replace it.