Kitec plumbing, a once-popular plumbing solution installed in many homes between 1995 and 2007, has emerged as a concern. Let’s explore the risks associated with it and how it can impact your home insurance.
Understanding Kitec Plumbing
Kitec plumbing was widely used due to its low cost and easy installation. It consists of flexible aluminum piping between an inner and outer layer of plastic pipe (PEX). Despite its initial popularity, it was soon discovered that Kitec plumbing is prone to premature failure.
The Risks of Kitec Plumbing
Corrosion and Degradation
Kitec pipes can corrode or degrade from the inside out, often unnoticed until a leak occurs. This degradation is accelerated by heat and the presence of oxygen, making hot water lines particularly vulnerable.
The brass fittings used in Kitec systems can also fail. They are prone to dezincification, a process where zinc leaches out of the brass, leading to reduced structural integrity and eventual failure.
Leaks from failing Kitec plumbing can lead to significant water damage in homes. This damage can be extensive, especially if the leak goes unnoticed for a period of time.
Impact on Home Insurance
Difficulty Obtaining Insurance
Some insurance companies may be hesitant to insure homes with Kitec plumbing or may require proof of replacement before issuing a policy. This can be a significant hurdle for homeowners looking to sell or refinance their homes.
Even if insurance is available, there might be limitations or exclusions in the policy specifically related to Kitec plumbing. Such as, if the leak goes unnoticed for a period of time, losses resulting from continuous leakage are generally not covered. Homeowners should thoroughly review their policies to understand what is and isn’t covered.
Identification and Remediation
Identifying Kitec Plumbing
Kitec plumbing can be identified by its bright orange (hot water) and blue (cold water) pipes. The pipes may also be labelled with “Kitec” or “IPEX.”
If Kitec plumbing is present in a home, the best course of action is to replace it. This can be a costly and invasive process, as it often involves opening walls and floors to access the piping.
Financial Assistance and Legal Action
Some homeowners have sought financial relief through class action lawsuits. In certain regions, settlements have been reached to assist with the costs of replacing Kitec plumbing.
To protect your home, homeowners must actively identify and replace any Kitec plumbing systems. It’s equally important to inform your insurance provider about its presence to adjust your policy accordingly. Taking these steps is crucial for the overall safety of your property.