Water pipe line system hanging with ceiling

What is Kitec Plumbing?

The world looks a bit different for plumbing companies in Calgary than it does for other people. When they look around a home or neighbourhood, they see all the piping, fittings and systems that bring us potable water and dispose of greywater. Plus, they see the trends in newer and older areas of the city alike, with long-forgotten innovations that did not stand the test of time.


One of these supposed innovations is Kitec plumbing. This was a type of plumbing system characterized by its design. A flexible aluminum pipe was set between an inner and outer layer of PEX or polyethylene, and the fittings were entirely made of brass. Originally, this plumbing saw a steady rise in popularity for its low cost and ease of installation compared to traditional copper systems.


Plumbing companies in Calgary, the US and elsewhere in Canada used Kitec plumbing for potable water lines, in-floor heating systems and hot water baseboard heaters. However, despite its clear advantages over copper, there was trouble brewing for this IPEX product.


The product was sold between 1995 and 2007, but noticeable issues began to appear with Kitec plumbing after a few years on the market. Firstly, the only fittings available for the system were made by the same company that made the piping (IPEX). However, these brass fittings also possessed a high zinc content, which led to premature failure in many homes across Canada and the United States.


How Did Calgary Plumbing Companies See Kitec Fail?


The process of dezincification is to blame for Kitec plumbing’s unfortunate fall from grace. The high zinc content in the brass fittings made them volatile. Then, when exposed to the slightly acidic or alkaline solutions in our waterways, it began to corrode quickly, which led to one of two failures. Either the zinc would build inside the pipe and block the flow, or deteriorate to the point of bursting the line. 


Warm water floor,pouring concrete floor


However, the single manufacturer fittings were only the first problem for Kitec plumbing. Soon after, plumbing companies began to question the temperature resistance of the piping. The piping was distinct for having a light blue (cold water) and bright orange (hot water) colour system, but the heat rating for the bright orange piping was only 82℃. 


In theory, this rating was just fine. The high rating for water heaters and furnaces was only 70℃, but this did not account for older systems. With these systems, the heater’s efficacy would degrade over time, and homeowners were prone to setting the heat above regulated limits. When they did this with a Kitec plumbing system in place, the pipes could literally dissolve with the extra heat.


Where Do Kitec and Calgary Plumbing Companies Stand Now?


As a result of both these failures, Kitec plumbing was eventually discontinued. However, this wasn’t the end of the problem. Afterwards, class action lawsuits began in both Canada and the US. IPEX denied any issues with the piping, but they did agree to a $125 million settlement. In fact, 2020 was the last year to make claims for this lawsuit. The claims deadline was January 9th. 


Service King Canada has been providing Calgary with home improvement services for over 20 years. Our commitment is evident by our highly successful record and a stream of happy customers. We can offer residential properties a host of different services to help them with their needs. We provide electrical services, plumbing services, sewer repairs, drain cleaning, water heater repairs, and furnace installation and repairs in Calgary. It doesn’t matter whether you need us at midday or midnight, you’ll get the same high-quality valued service with no overtime charge. Contact us today on 403-246-0030!

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