I have a confession to make. About a week before I wrote this article I didn't know much about Kitec plumbing (pronounced k-eye-tech). Soooo, I went to google and sought to enlighten myself.
I wasn't satisfied so I contacted my lawyer, Bob, and my plumber, Steve and they painted a bit more reassuring picture.
Then I got a call from an agent today who knew even less than I did prior to last week (although he acted like an expert). This is what prompted to compile this for you.
It was used extensively from 1995-2007 in residential applications for hot and cold water pipes. It's a flexible plastic piping that was cheaper and easier to install than copper piping. Of course, cheaper is better for builders so it became quite popular in condos during that period.
It was widely believed that Kitec was corrosion resistant but problems started to arise with premature pipe failure; especially in lines with either high pressure or high temperature.
I've heard of deals not closing because of Kitec which seems a bit much especially considering it was a condo. There are plumbing leaks, overflowing toilets and all that wonderful stuff happening every day in condos in this city.
You're more likely to have one of those mesh pipes under your sink burst and create a mess than to have Kitec do the same. Those mesh pipes are supposed to be replaced every 5 years and nobody does it.
The presence of Kitec should be, at the most, a bargaining chip in negotiations. It's also a great excuse to get a home inspection too.
Of course. You should be concerned but you don't need to panic. Kitec is more prone to premature failure than, say, copper piping. It's by no means a ticking timebomb like the agent on the phone seemed to believe.
Ideally, it should be replaced because admittedly, it did not live up to the manufacturer's claims.
If replacing the plumbing is not in the budget then monitor it for now.
Signs that can indicate a problem include a drop in water pressure, discolouration or blistering of the pipes and corrosion around fittings. As a smart precautionary step, you may want to hire a plumber to come out and inspect your Kitec plumbing so you know what to watch out for.
Here's what Absolute Draining and Plumbing had to say:
With the increased risk of premature failure, you may also be anxious and wondering whether you should take the step of having the Kitec plumbing replaced. The truth is that you do not necessarily need to have the plumbing replaced. As long as it is not subject to high pressure or temperatures above the 77°C rating from the manufacturer, it can last a long time without problems.
For sellers, you should disclose this to potential buyer prior to them preparing an offer. Although you are not legally obligated to disclose the presence of Kitec plumbing, you will save yourself a lot of hassle in the event that a problem arises down the road.
For condo purchasers, this need not be a deal breaker for you. Your building will have insurance for the damages to the unit and your policy for contents will cover your belongings. At some point, your condo board may want to replace the piping though and you may be required to chip in.
Be sure to include clauses to protect you if you are concerned about Kitec in your home. At the end of the day, insurance is there to cover you if something major were to happen.