I thought that I would provide an "informed update" about the plumbing issues related to PEX and KITEC by a good friend and colleague Grahan Ashdown:
Thanks for post about Kitec:
I thought I’d add some information for you on the topic you may not be aware of…
The “KITEC” concern actually relates to PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) plumbing pipes. Kitec is the brand / manufacturer. PEX is the type of pipe, and it is most commonly used for water supply lines and radiant hot water heating pipes. They do not relate to DWV (drain, waste, vent) pipes.
PEX plumbing systems are common in new construction as the materials are cheaper than conventional copper, and cheaper to install as well. It is also a popular product with renovations / additions as it can be “fed” more easily to / through hard to get at places than copper can. I believe that PEX has been used in Canada for 20-25 years or so.
So…NOT all PEX is a problem, nor is all Kitec for that matter, rather only some of their product (pipes / connection / fittings). Further, Kitec is NOT the only brand / manufacturer with concerns either. There are other class action lawsuits / settlements involving PEX pipes, fittings and systems concerning various manufacturers, including:
a) KITEC (www.kitecsettlement.com)
b) Zurn (www.zurnclassaction.com)
c) Uponor / Wirsbo (http://audetlaw.com/investigations/uponor-wirsbo-plumbing-system-lawsuit/).
d) Plasco Plumb-PEX (http://www.canadianplumbpexsettlement.ca/)
As a result, and due to the nature of how it’s installed, you can’t always see (all of) it i.e. it’s hidden. It can also be transitioned to / from copper. So you might see copper in one area, but changes to PEX further on down the line.
You can also get varying products (brands / manufacturers) being used within one home / condo as well. It’s also possible to mix the problem product with good product…making it a problem of another sort.
We might see PEX installed by one of the above four manufacturers or simply another brand, but something else might be lurking elsewhere. It might be good or not. As a result (from an inspection perspective then), we don’t (and often can’t) verify / ascertain what’s in use and therefore refer them onto a licensed plumber to verify what PEX they’ve got in use...if we see PEX present.
It is important to note that some insurance companies are now refusing to provide insurance on houses with PEX plumbing or requiring, for example, additional / higher premiums, re-plumbing / modifications, and / or an inspection(s) by a licensed plumber.
While I certainly agree with disclosure about Kitec status certificate, they should include other “known” problem PEX products if present…and while we’re at it, scores of other disclosure information that a homebuyer might find useful and found via an SPIS :)
RECO might do well to make this distinction regarding PEX vs Kitec too on their website / publications.
If you’ve any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Graham Ashdown, Extension 21