Home >> Why have it inspected ? >> PPoly-B and Kitec – Inspection

What is plastic piping like Poly-B and Kitec?

The pipe ‘s Poly-B or Kitec are pipes of polybutylene . They are easily recognizable by their blue color e for cold water and orange for hot water. They are made of two layers of plastics separated by a thin layer of aluminum.

When this type of plumbing first appeared in 1995, it was preferred because it was economical, flexible and much easier to install than conventional copper piping. Indeed, it is found in entire neighborhoods all over the United States and Canada and the pipes were no problem during the first years of its installation.

To recognize if your home has Poly-B or Kitec pipes , you must look behind your hot water tank, or even under the sink, where the pipe and plumbing connect. This is where you should find the distinctive orange and blue pipes. Note, however, that some companies that produced similar pipes have used other colors, such as gray, red, blue or black . Normally, you should also find markings on the fittings or on the pipe which should indicate the supplier, such as Kitec , in the case that interests us. Remember, however, that other companies have produced piping of the same type.This is where your home inspector can ensure proper detection.

Insurers who are cautious for Poly-B and Kitec

Almost 10 years after installing this type of pipe, several property owners have noticed problems with their piping, such as:
  • Pipes which do not tolerate excessively high heat and which degrade more quickly. Hot water tanks can produce high temperatures and the hoses were not designed to withstand them; 
  • Do not withstand high pressure and suffer as a result of it; 
  • Zinc in fittings can crumble over time and cause blockages and reduce the flow of water, greatly increasing the chances of broken pipes.  
However, the most significant problems were seen in the United States. In Quebec, the dangerousness of Poly-B or Kitec pipes is disputed. This is because the level of chlorine in water in the United States is much higher than here, which affects the life of the piping. In addition, cases of complete replacement of Poly-B piping have been observed, but those of Kitec pipes are rarer or not listed.

Even so, a class action lawsuit was filed in 2011 against the manufacturer, requiring it to pay nearly $ 100 million to people struggling with Poly-B pipe problems.

All this has led insurers to be very fearful of houses with such a piping system . Some insurance companies flatly refuse to cover the purchase of a new property containing this type of pipe. Square one insurance, for example , explicitly warns its future customers of the dangers of this product  : ” Some plumbing experts say the question is not IF your Kitec plumbing will leak, but WHEN it will leak. ”

When buying a new property, it is therefore essential that an expert check on the one hand the condition of the plumbing, but also the type used, since this is information that the insurance company will want. to have. In the event that Poly-B or Kitec -type plumbing fails and the insurer has not been notified, it may refuse to cover the damage caused.

Should we replace our Poly-B or Kitec piping ?

The answer is: it depends on who you ask the question. Your insurer will tell you to proceed with a complete replacement of a Poly-B pipe, an intrusive procedure of several thousand dollars. They argue that these pipes, when they reach the end of their life, do not just leak: they burst outright, causing very significant damage. In addition, Poly-B plumbing no longer meets the quality criteria of the Canadian building code. Thus, even if the piping is still in good condition, it might be more judicious to proceed with the replacement in order to be able to benefit from a more advantageous insurance opening, in addition to offering yourself peace of mind.

In Quebec, the pipes Kitec are still present in several housing properties and its ns cause major problems.

One thing is certain, considering the many problems observed in North America because of these products, it is recommended to register for the class action . People with this piping will be able to do so until January 2020. Arm yourself with patience, however, because the heaviness of the documents to be completed and the technocratic labyrinth in order to have at the bottom of the class action have discouraged many citizens. Today, homeowners are turning to social media to advertise their many problems with pipe x Poly-B and Kitec so that other people be informed associated risks. In any case, nothing can replace the expertise of a plumber who will come and assess the condition of your home!