What is Kitec Plumbing?
Kitec is the name given to a brand of plumbing system that utilizes brass fittings known as yellow brass. Kitec yellow brass fittings use alloys containing more than 15 percent zinc.
The pipes used in Kitec plumbing are constructed of a thin layer of aluminum that is sandwiched between an inner and outer layer of plastic polymer.
Kitec plumbing was installed in many homes between 1995 and 2007. Kitec was often used because of its low cost and ease of installation in comparison to copper piping.
However, as early as 2005, Kitec plumbing was being recalled due to the high failure rate of the brass fittings. This was due to issues with dezincification that causes residue buildup inside the pipes.
Why Does Kitec Plumbing Fail?
There have been a number of arguments for why Kitec plumbing might eventually fail.
The main claim towards the high rate of failure in Kitec plumbing is due to dezincification that occurs when fittings with a high zinc content are exposed to oxygen and moisture.
Through the process of dezincification, Kitec fittings leach zinc inside the pipes. The zinc oxide builds up as a white residue, which can lead to issues with low water pressure and a restriction of water flow, as well as pipe leaks.
The rate of dezincification varies around the country, depending on municipality water chemistry. We’ve often replaced Kitec plumbing systems that lasted less than 10 years, before developing pipe leaks and low water flow.
Is There a Class Action Lawsuit Against Kitec Plumbing?
In 2012, IPEX Inc., the manufacturer of Kitec plumbing, entered into a class action lawsuit settlement of $125 million. This led to many homeowners in America and Canada being able to receive compensation towards replacing their Kitec plumbing.
However, the final date to submit a claim expired on January 9th 2020. This means that if you still have Kitec plumbing, you will need to cover the cost of replacement yourself.
There have been a number of other claims against forms of yellow brass fittings which have been successfully defended, including instances in Washington.
Other manufacturers of yellow brass plumbing fittings successfully argued that there was nothing inherently wrong with the yellow brass fittings: in particular the correlation between the failure of the fittings and their zinc make up. They were able to demonstrate that the failures were due to water chemistry - not the fittings.
The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) specifications allow for brass fittings that utilize up to 37 percent zinc content. This is far above the average 15 percent makeup used in yellow brass, making it very difficult to make a case against the levels of zinc used in yellow brass and similar fittings.
In summary, you can't make a claim against the expired Kitec settlement - and it is unlikely that new litigation will arise in which you can join in. If you still have yellow brass fittings - you'll have to pay for a repipe yourself.
What Are My Options For Replacing Kitec?
PEX tubing or copper piping are your main options for replacing Kitec plumbing. The majority of our customers opt for a PEX repipe. Read more about why PEX is a good choice for repiping.
Here at Repipe Specialists, our repipes come with a lifetime warranty - so no more worrying about paying for multiple leak repairs.
A whole home repipe may be less of a disruption than you'd think: we typically complete a repipe in a day, and return another day to patch walls. We always have your water back on by the end of the day. Read about our One Stop Repipe™ Process, perfected over thirty years and tens of thousands of repipes.
What Is the Cost to Replace Kitec?
Most of our repipes are priced between $4,500 for a smaller home, and up to $15,000 for larger more complex projects. Read more in How Much Should A Repipe Cost. We also offer no down, no interest repipe financing options to take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses.
A Repipe Specialists local estimator would be happy to explain all your options, either in person or in a remote consult session - schedule a free repipe quote.