RAL Kitec Info Statement

Kitec Plumbing System

What is Kitec:

Kitec is a plumbing system that was manufactured by a Canadian corporation named IPEX and sold in the United States until IPEX discontinued the product line in 2007. Kitec became a popular alternative to copper in the mid-1990’s due to its inexpensive cost and simple installation. IPEX marketed Kitec as a rugged, corrosion-resistant alternative to copper that would hold up under aggressive water conditions.

The Kitec plumbing system consists of both pipe and fittings. Kitec water pipe was manufactured as a composite cross-linked polyethylene (“PEX”) and aluminum (“AL”) pipe, whereby a thin, flexible aluminum layer was “sandwiched” between inner and outer layers of PEX plastic. Thus, Kitec water pipe was commonly referred to as “PEX-AL-PEX” pipe. Kitec pipe and fittings were connected together using either a crimped aluminum or copper ring or a compression fitting using a locking nut and split ring.

In 2005, Kitec fittings became the subject of a state class action lawsuit filed against IPEX in Clark County, Nevada. Kitec fittings were for the most part made of brass, which is mainly composed of copper and zinc. The Clark County lawsuit alleged that Kitec fittings failed because of a chemical reaction called dezincification. As alleged in the Clark County lawsuit, when hot and/or “aggressive” water flowed through the brass fittings, the zinc leached out of the fittings, thereby weakening the structural integrity of the brass and, ultimately, causing failure in the fittings. The Clark County lawsuit only concerned Kitec fitting failures occurring in that jurisdiction, and did not concern Kitec piping product, or Kitec fitting failures occurring outside of Clark County, Nevada.

What are the concerns:

Failures of Kitec pipe and fittings have been reported across the United States and Canada prompting the filing of multiple class action lawsuits and investigations concerning the manufacturing process and composition of Kitec pipe. During the Kitec hot water pipe manufacturing process, IPEX added an “antioxidant” to the PEX, which is a product intended to prevent the PEX from quickly corroding under the effects of light, oxygen, heat, and water exposure. In the case of Kitec pipe, it appears that the antioxidant is rapidly depleting from the PEX, resulting in separation of the PEX-AL-PEX layers, corrosion of the PEX and the aluminum core and, ultimately, premature failure of the pipe.

On November 17, 2011, the United States District Court of Northern Texas, Dallas Division approved the class action settlement agreement, which provided for $125,000,000 in settlement funds. The agreement became effective on January 9, 2012. The claims filing deadline is January 9th, 2020. The agreement excludes the Clark County Class as there was already an established settlement in that case.

The settlement covers Kitec Systems, which may consist of components, individual parts, or as a system, PEX-AL-PEX, PE-AL-PE, PERT-AL-PERT, valves, fittings, and/or components, manufactured by or on behalf of IPEX whether sold under the names Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX AQUA, WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls, Plomberie Améliorée or otherwise.

People who own or owned or lease or leased structures with the Kitec System and believe they may qualify for a payment under this settlement can obtain additional information about the settlement by checking the website at www.kitecsettlement.com/; by calling 1-877-337-1293, or by writing to the following for the United States:

Kitec Claims Administrator
PO Box 6001
Larkspur, CA 94977-6001

 

RAL Kitec Info Statement

The above information was compiled from sources available on the internet including Delta Mechanical(http://kitecplumbing.com/) and from the Kitec Plumbing System Settlement website (http://www.kitecsettlement.com/).

RAL Position Statement on Kitec Plumbing Systems

Kitec Systems have been established as having a high risk for product failure. The system can fail without warning causing damage to the building structure and personal property.

• The presence of Kitec Systems cannot always be determined in the course of an ERC home assessment. It is outside the scope of the assessment to determine the manufacturer of plumbing products. Knowledge and awareness of these products can vary by region and experience.

• If our field inspector identifies Kitec components as being present, it is RAL’s policy to report its presence and indicate it as deficient. We will note the following on the summary page of the ERC Home Assessment:

The presence of Kitec plumbing components were noted at the time of the assessment. RAL does not inspect Kitec Systems as a general policy. These products are noted due to alleged defects as established in various class action lawsuits. RAL recommends that our client and the homeowner obtain additional information about the settlement by referring to the settlement website at www.kitecsettlement.com/; by calling 1-877-337-1293, or by writing to Kitec Claims Administrator, P.O. Box 6001, Larkspur, CA 94977-6001

RAL understands the need for some clients to have the Kitec Plumbing System further evaluated by a qualified plumber before making final decisions with regard to the transferee and property. Regardless of the current condition and/or plumber’s opinion, it is RAL’s position that Kitec Plumbing Systems pose a risk of failure that can lead to significant property damage and loss of personal property. In addition the history and stigma associated with this product may put the client at risk of complete replacement demands by potential buyers. RAL recommends each corporate client make their own policy as to whether or not they require replacement of this piping.