How is KitecŪ defective?
Replacing these fittings usually requires cutting into the walls and replumbing the entire house, which costs between $6,000 to $8,000, on average, although it can cost several times this amount. These costs are often paid out of pocket, as some insurers do not cover repairs to items that were recalled. Many insurers that will cover the repairs will require sizable deductibles and increased rates.
KitecsŪ Canadian manufacturer, as well as home building companies and plumbing contractors that installed KitecŪ fittings, have been the target of a series of massive class-action lawsuits. More than 31,000 homeowners in southern Nevada sued IPEX in 2006 and received a $90 million settlement. Roughly 30,000 homeowners in New Mexico united to file claims as well, and California is likely to follow suit, once the scope of the problem is better understood. Builders and plumbers who installed the product have also been targeted. Nevada builder Del Webb was recently ordered to pay more than $27 million to homeowners in that state. The purpose of these lawsuits is to force the defendants to replace the KitecŪ fittings and compensate homeowners who already paid to have them replaced.
Who is affected?
The exact number of homes with KitecŪ water pipe fittings is difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint. Many homes will have low water pressure but never know why. Based on the lawsuits that have been filed, it seems that at least 60,000 homes in southern Nevada and New Mexico have KitecŪ fittings. In addition, it is likely that tens of thousands of homes across the southwest, notably in Tucson and Maricopa County in Arizona, in Sacramento and Los Angeles, and in parts of Texas, have KitecŪ fittings.
Identifying KitecŪ Plumbing
Identification of KitecŪ plumbing must be performed by a qualified plumber. The plumber will bore small holes beneath sinks, then insert an instrument with a flexible arm to help identify the fittings. InterNACHI inspectors may be able to identify KitecŪ by a yellow or neon sticker on or inside the electrical box. Inspectors and plumbers should beware, however, that stickers were sometimes used indiscriminately to warn of non-metallic plumbing systems other than KitecŪ. Therefore, it is possible that a home has no KitecŪ fittings even if there is a KitecŪ sticker in the electrical panel box. Similarly, many homes that contain KitecŪ plumbing do not have stickers in their electrical panel boxes. Also, KitecŪ PEX pipes may have the "Kitec" label.