21 April Kitec pipes being installed into a house under construction

How to Identify Kitec Plumbing

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Many experts from the plumbing industry, as well as homeowners who have experience with Kitec plumbing, will tell you that Kitec plumbing is bad news. This plumbing system became popular from the years 1995 to 2005 until a lawsuit and product recall was actioned due to the high failure rate of Kitec pipes.

So whether you are a potential buyer of a house, a realtor, or a property owner, it is important that you know immediately whether or not the house or building of interest has Kitec plumbing. This way, you can take the needed steps before the plumbing system fails.

If you are suffering from a plumbing problem or emergency right now that could be due to Kitec plumbing, it would be best to call for expert help as soon as possible. A suspected Kitec plumbing leakage could very quickly progress into a burst pipe.

In this article, we will cover what Kitec plumbing is, how to make sure if you have it in your property (or in a property you plan to buy), and our recommended next steps.

What is Kitec Plumbing?

Known for its signature blue and orange (or red) colouring, Kitec pipes gained some popularity during the years 1997 through 2005 for being lightweight, easy to handle, and cheap. These pipes are composed of two layers of plastic with a layer of aluminum sandwiched in between.

The blue pipes are designated for cold water while the orange (or red) pipes are designated for hot water. These pipes came with brass fitting. Typically, the pipes would be labelled with the word “Kitec” but alternatively, the label can also be any of the following:

  • Ambio Comfort
  • Kitec XPA
  • XPA
  • Ipex Aqua
  • PlumbBetter
  • WarmRite
  • KERR Controls
  • Plomberie Améliorée

Typically, the brass fitting would also be labelled as “Kitec” or any of the following:

  • XPA
  • ATSM F1974
  • CSA B137.9/10
  • KTC

Blue and orange Kitec pipes with the brass fittings showing the XPA label

Why You Need to Find Out Immediately If a Property Has Kitec Plumbing

The failure rate of Kitec plumbing is not just high, it’s actually at 100% since it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN. Although wear and tear is acceptable for most things (even plumbing fixtures), Kitec pipes deteriorate fast. In fact, the average life span of this plumbing system is less than 10 years. Certain factors could even make the life span shorter.

Water Chemistry

Though the reason why is inconclusive, certain areas experience a trend in faster Kitec plumbing deterioration. Experts agree that water chemistry can definitely play a part in the hastened deterioration of the Kitec pipes in these areas.

Temperature

The orange or red pipes that carry the hot water can only take up to 82 degrees Celsius. Plenty of water heaters can make the water go well above this temperature. Eventually, these orange/red pipes will deteriorate because of the heat and burst.

Dezincification

Another factor that plays against Kitec pipes is their brass fittings. Over time, brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc, reacts with moisture and oxygen. This makes the fittings undergo corrosion which forms blockages within the pipes. These blockages restrict the flow of water and increase the water pressure up to a point that makes the pipe burst.

How to Identify If a Property Has Kitec Plumbing

By now, you’re probably anxious to know if your property or a property you are looking to buy has Kitec pipes installed. Let’s talk about three ways how to identify Kitec plumbing.

Inspect It for Yourself

The best places to look would be near the water heater, in the mechanical room, or under the sinks. Earlier, we mentioned what Kitec pipes look like. They are blue and red/orange with the coloured pipes assigned to cold and hot water respectively. The pipes are also usually labelled with “Kitec,” “Ambio Comfort,” ”Kitec XPA,” “XPA,” “Ipex Aqua,” and etc. The brass fittings would also have labels like “XPA”, “ATSM F1974,” and so on. You can go back to the section above about the definition of Kitec plumbing to see the full list of possible labels on the pipes and brass fittings.

Call In An Expert

If you want to be absolutely sure, you can call in a plumbing expert who not only knows how to identify Kitec plumbing but will also be able to give you recommendations on what you can do next.

View Affected Properties Online

Websites like kiteccrusader.ca has a growing list of properties that are either affected by Kitec plumbing or are already remedied. If you don’t have immediate access to the property, you can try checking online first and see if it comes up on any listing.

How to Know Your Kitec Pipes Are Close to Deterioration

If you’re already sure about having Kitec pipes in your property, the next question you might have is whether or not they are close to deteriorating – and subsequently causing flooding and water damage. Here are some things you can look into:

Consider the Age and Usage of the Pipes

How long has the property had Kitec plumbing? Have they been heavily used since installation or has the property sat stagnant for a while? Remember that the average life span of this plumbing system before deteriorating is 10 years or less. Heavy usage means more hot water has passed through the pipes and more moisture is brought to the fittings – and these two factors can hasten deterioration.

Look for Physical Signs

Although you can’t see the entire plumbing system because most of it is hidden in walls and floors, you can gauge the state of the Kitec plumbing system by looking at exposed pipes that could be near the heater, under the sink, or in the mechanical room. Seeing green and white formations on the brass fittings are definitely not a good sign.

Look for Signs in the Water

Have you experienced an unexplained reduction in water pressure or changes to the water itself? These can be signs that one or more of the Kitec pipes are about to burst.

Deteriorated Kitec pipes

What Can I Do Right Now?

If you would like to learn more about replacing your Kitec pipes (as well as other action steps you can try), you can view our article, Why You Should Replace Kitec Plumbing. We also detail in this article just how costly Kitec plumbing is – not just in repairs but in how it affects mortgage and insurance. Whether you are a homeowner or a potential buyer of a home with Kitec pipes, it is very important that you understand these costs. So make sure to check out that article.

If you’re already looking forward to replacing your Kitec pipes and having the peace of mind that you deserve, contact us today for a free quote! We’ll also be very happy to answer any questions you may have.

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