Whether you are an existing homeowner or someone looking to purchase a property, you may not have heard of “Kitec” piping, which is a product sold and used in construction between 1995 and 2007. It was used in new home construction and in renovations of some existing homes, as a piping system for carrying water throughout the house, and for supplying water to radiant heating systems for both the home itself and for flooring and heated towel racks. The outside is prominently stamped with “Kitec” and is made of plastic (cross-lined polyethylene or PEX), while the inside is lined with aluminum. The pipe is usually orange in colour, but in some cases may be blue, gray or white.
So what’s the issue?
Some homes that contain Kitec have reportedly been riddled with problems; mainly, the deterioration of the fittings, as well as the disintegration of the pipes themselves in some cases.
The Kitec Stigma
The result of these problems, and the ensuing frenzy of litigation, is that in the resale market there is a stigma affecting those homes containing Kitec pipes – similar to the stigma which affected those homes containing U.F.F.I. in the 1970s and 1980s. That stigma continues to date, which the reason for the U.F.F.I. clause in all Agreements of Purchase and Sale.
To amplify the problem, some insurance companies are now refusing to provide insurance for those properties containing Kitec based on the insurer’s liability risk assessments. Many financial institutions now require confirmation that the property does not contain Kitec. This makes these properties even less attractive to potential Buyers.
The issue is not confined to single-family homes that may have Kitec installed. The problem also affects many Condominium buildings that also contained or still contain Kitec. These Condominiums now face or have faced major expense and inconvenience to have it removed and replaced. The financial costs or remediating this problem has resulted in many Condominiums requiring Special Assessments levied against the owners to fund the removal of the Kitec and installation of proper piping.
Here are some helpful tips on what to do if you own, or suspect you own, a property with Kitec installed:
Even if you are briefly tempted not to disclose the existence of Kitec, any prudent potential Buyer will probably hire a home inspector, who is likely to point out its presence.
This will put you back to where you started, in terms of having to replace or account for the cost of replacing the Kitec in your home, with the added element of potential mistrust on the Buyer’s part.