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What is Kitec plumbing?


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. In Nova Scotia, Kitec piping is primarily used in hot-water baseboard and in-floor heating systems. There are fewer fittings used in heating systems than potable-water systems, so the potential damage is likely to be lessened, and quicker to spot if fittings fail, because they are more visible than the fittings in potable-water systems. However, fittings aren’t the only issue. In Nova Scotia there have been problems with the actual pipe disintegrating. One theory is that the pipes degrade from running the hot water system at too high a temperature. Kitec was certified to run at a maximum temperature of 180° F. A typical hot water boiler is set at a high of 170° F. In cases where the coil that heats the water off the main boiler degrades and reduces water temperature, some homeowners increase the temperature of the hot water system past what it was designed to handle, causing the piping to disintegrate. Where is Kitec likely to be encountered? Kitec was sold between 1995 and 2007, which means it can be found in houses constructed or extensively renovated during this time.


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