Real estate is something that is ever-changing due to a variety of variable. As REALTORS ®
we are expected and in fact have a fiduciary duty to protect the interests of our clients whether they be sellers or buyers. New issues arise every day and while we are not expected to be experts on them all, we do have a duty to advise our clients to seek expert advice when we suspect something might be up with not just a property but also with the transaction itself.
One of the latest issues that has reared an ugly head is a construction related matter involving plumbing and the use of plastic piping. Commencing in the mid 1990's, many builders began using plastic, instead of copy piping in home. Plastic piping is easier to run as it requires fewer tees and elbows. It was also perceived as being quieter. Copper piping had long been used which replaced galvanized pluming in older homes. Galvanized piping would rust inside and corrode causing a reduction in water pressure over time. Copper pipe did not have this issue however, the solder used in copper pluming contained lead and we all know that lead isn't good.
Not all of the flexible plastic piping on the market is of questionable performance. The brand/type that presents the largest threat is known as "Kitec." The following is a quote regarding what Kitec is and how to identify it
"Kitec plumbing consists of flexible aluminum pipe between
an inner and outer layer of plastic pipe (PEX pipe) with brass
fittings. Marketed as a cheaper and easy-to-install alternative
to copper piping, Kitec was sold between 1995 and 2007
for potable water, in-floor, and hot-water baseboard heating
systems. The sizing of the pipe require fittings from its own
manufacturer, IPEX, and these fittings were made with a
high zinc content that caused dezinctifying in situations with
aggressive water conditions. This in turn could either restrict
water pressure or cause the fittings to fail completely, causing
flooding and water damage to homes."
"Most Kitec plumbing can be identified by its bright orange
(hot water) and bright blue (cold water), which were the
most common colours; however, it was also sold in red, blue,
gray and black. The pipe is typically marked with one of the
following brand names; Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX AQUA,
WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls
or Plomberie Améliorée."
We have seen Kitec pluming used in this area. Some insurers will not insure a home with Kitec. Other may with the stipulation that you replace it within a certain time frame. As you can imagine, re-pluming an existing home can be a costly affair, which is yet one more reason why most of us selling real estate recommend buyers obtain a home inspection from a qualified inspector before finalizing a purchase.
For more information on this subject you see http://www.kitecsettlement.com/ and CBC news also has a good story on this. Have any of you had experience with Kitec plumbing? I would love to hear from you.