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Kitec Plumbing in Toronto: What You Need to Know

Distressed woman who has torn through a wall and found Kitec plumbing inside

When you’re buying a house or condo in Toronto in 2019, how concerned should you be about finding Kitec plumbing? How serious an issue is it and how likely are you to find it?

Unfortunately, Kitec plumbing in your new house is very serious (and expensive!) and we still see it all the time.

Most recently, Neighbourhood Plumbing was called out to a large project in Mississauga. A couple had purchased a 14-year-old house that looked beautiful on the surface. However, behind the walls, there were numerous illegal pipe fittings causing plumbing problems.

Worst of all: there was Kitec plumbing throughout the whole house that the builder had hidden!

Neighbourhood Plumbing is currently at work replacing the bad pipe and fittings. This means cutting holes in the walls all throughout the house, not to mention the expense to the homeowners.

What is Kitec piping and why is it a problem?

Kitec is a type of plastic plumbing pipe used in Toronto house and condo construction from about 1995 to 2007.

At the time, we thought it was a great new long-lasting material. Unfortunately, what we discovered is that it’s actually incredibly prone to leaks, breaks and corrosion.

Kitec was recalled in 2005 and is no longer made.

If your house or condo has Kitec piping, your plumbing is a major problem waiting to happen. It’s so bad that condominium corporations must legally warn buyers if there’s Kitec plumbing in the condo. (Of course, some corporations find ways around this like claiming not to know).

Why is Kitec plumbing bad?

  • It greatly increases your chance of plumbing failure, and that risk gets worse and worse over time. Your Kitec pipes may not just leak, but burst and flood.
  • The average life expectancy of Kitec plumbing is about 10 years.
  • Because of the risk, you may have a hard time getting insurance for your home. Many insurance companies simply won’t cover houses or condos with Kitec plumbing.
  • You’ll also have an incredibly difficult time selling your home or condo without replacing the plumbing.
  • Replacing Kitec can cost between $4000 and $14,000 and the owner is responsible for the cost (even in condos).

What to do if you find Kitec plumbing in your home

Unfortunately, the only real solution to Kitec plumbing is to completely replace it. This means cutting holes to allow access inside your walls and under your floors.

Replacing your plumbing is expensive, but the cost and stress of a major plumbing failure or flooding is worse.

Your first step is to reach out to a plumber to check the current state of your plumbing. If it’s showing signs of failure, you may need to act quickly to prevent damage. Give Neighbourhood Plumbing a call at 647-404-7139 to schedule an appointment.

Kitec pipe and fittings often fail without warning. However, there are some signs of failure you should know.

Signs of Kitec plumbing failure to watch out for:

  • A white buildup on the outside of fittings
  • Blackening or bulging pipes
  • Most problems occur near the hot water tank, so pay close attention to that area

Kitec plumbing class action lawsuit

There is currently a class-action lawsuit underway against Kitec’s manufacturer, with more than $97-million waiting to be claimed. The deadline to submit a claim is January 9, 2020.

It’s certainly worth putting in a claim if you find Kitec plumbing in your home. However, most compensation payouts are in the hundreds to low thousands—not enough to fully cover your expenses.

Check for Kitec plumbing before you buy

The best way to avoid a problem is to spot Kitec pipe and fittings before you buy a house or condo.

Regular house inspectors often miss major plumbing issues like Kitec pipe because they’re not plumbing specialists. You would be better off bringing in a professional plumber like Neighbourhood Plumbing to do an inspection, especially on properties built between 1995 and 2007.

For a full house inspection, we’ve partnered with a professional electrician and HVAC specialist to form Triple Check Expert Home Inspections. Give us a call at 647-404-7139 and make sure no issue gets overlooked.

It can be hard to identify Kitec plumbing if you’re checking for it yourself. That’s because, while most Kitec pipes look a certain way, they were distributed in many colours and brand names.

If you want to be absolutely certain, the best way to check is to call in a plumber. However, here’s what you need to know if you decide to check on your own.

How to identify Kitec plumbing in a house or condo

  • First, check your house for any plastic piping. Look around your hot water heater and under sinks.
  • Look for a yellow sticker inside your electrical panel box. Many contractors who used plastic piping used yellow stickers to warn electricians not to ground near the piping.
  • Most Kitec pipe is either orange (hot water) or blue (cold water). However, can also be red, grey, white or black.
  • Look for a brand name on plastic pipes. Be aware that while Kitec pipe was usually sold under the “Kitec” brand, it was also sold as:
    • AmbioComfort
    • AQUA
    • KERR Controls
    • IPEX
    • Plomberie Amelioree
    • PlumbBetter
    • WarmRite
    • XPA

Here are some photos from the class-action lawsuit website to help you identify Kitec plumbing:

Stay informed to protect your home

Sadly, Kitec plumbing is still something we come across all the time—and often the homeowner has no idea.

We highly encourage homebuyers to be aware of the common plumbing problems to watch for when buying a house or condo. Kitec isn’t the only pitfall you need to watch out for.

And, of course, the best way to be certain is to have a plumbing professional inspect before you buy.

Are you concerned about Kitec plumbing in your home? Want a plumbing expert to take a look before you buy a home in East Toronto? Contact Neighbourhood Plumbing today!