If you’ve had issues with your plumbing in the last few years, you’ve probably heard of Kitec plumbing. You may also be aware that a class-action lawsuit was settled in 2012, awarding $125 million to affected homeowners. Even though Kitec was recalled by the manufacturer (Ipex) in 2006, people are still encountering issues today.
What exactly is Kitec plumbing?
Kitec is a plumbing pipe made from a flexible layer of aluminum pressed between two flexible layers of plastic. The problem is that the piping is prone to failure; not just leaking but bursting, which can cause major flooding and water damage to the structure and contents of your home.
In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), more than 200,000 units are affected. In 2015, The Toronto Star ran an informative piece about the lawsuit and Kitec issues, and according to Bob Clark of Ki-Fix, the number of failures and need for replacements skyrocketed over the last year.
Ki-Fix is a company that offers a turnkey solution to replacing your faulty Kitec piping. Many steps are taken to ensure your home isn’t damaged. Ki-Fix installs sensors and provides you with information on how to shut off your water in an emergency, they remove small segments of drywall to access the piping and do a full replacing, and they even re-drywall and paint.
Replacing the plumbing in your condo unit doesn’t have to be as big of a hassle as you think it might be. The process takes five to 10 days, depending on the size of your home. Ki-Fix also ensures you have a supply of water to use at the end of each of their work days.
When we chatted with Clark, he said that one very important thing that everyone should understand about the Kitec situation is that it’s no one’s fault. You can’t blame the contractors that built your home, the builder, developer, or condo board. Ipex thought they had a good product and there turned out to be major issues with it - that’s why the lawsuit was settled at $125 million.
Here’s the big problem - since so many people were affected and are still being affected, that $125 million has been stretched thin. According to The Star, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,500 to replace your plumbing, depending on the size of your unit. This cost can not be covered by your condo reserve fund. This cost may seem like a lot, but if your pipes burst and you damage your drywall, flooring, and furniture, it can cost you way more.
It’s possible that you have Kitec plumbing and haven’t been told to replace it yet. If you are selling your home or buying a resale home, the inspector should be keeping their eye out for the Kitec markings. That’s the other issue - the problem is only evident if a home inspection is underway or a pipe bursts.
The good news is that if you're buying a preconstruction home today, you don't have to worry about the Kitec issues. If you’re home was built or renovated between 1995 and 2007, then you may have Kitec plumbing. If you want to play it safe and get your plumbing checked out, contact Ki-Fix!