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What is Kitec Plumbing?

What is Kitec Plumbing? | Fox Marin Blog

Here’s What Home Buyers and Sellers Need to Know About Kitec Plumbing

If you’re a regular reader of our blog (and we hope you are!), you may notice that we frequently talk about potential problems with a property. From questions like, what is asbestos to what is insulbrick, we share those hard facts about what to be mindful of when buying or selling. Are we paranoid Chicken Little types, constantly running around yelling, ‘the sky is falling!’ with every home we enter? No. Instead, we simply want to spread knowledge so that you can be the most informed real estate trader you can be. Which brings us to today’s touchy subject, Kitec plumbing.


Kitec: What is It?

Kitec plumbing was a type of plastic and aluminum water pipe with brass fittings used from 1995 to 2007.


Why is Kitec Plumbing a Problem?

Essentially, the fittings (corners, connectors, etc.) used with this piping has a high zinc content that causes ‘dezincification’. And the problem here, is this leads to pipes breaking down and leaking. Conditions within the pipe and fittings have to be perfect:  the right pressure and temperatures, for example. Otherwise, the breakdown would start to occur. And, the unfortunate news is, this is exactly what’s started to happen because water conditions are not always consistent within a system. In fact, there is a $125,000,000 class action settlement in relation to this issue!


What do Buyers and Sellers Need to Know?

If you are buying or selling a home or condo that was built or renovated using Kitec, you have obviously figured out by now that you’ll want to do one of few things:

  1. As the seller, disclose it; or
  2. As the buyer, be aware of it (and its’ existence or removal).

As a seller, not disclosing Kitec can lead to a legal issue between you and your buyer, whether a leak occurs or not. This is because you’re ‘hiding’ the issue. Some sellers won’t want to disclose it because of the stigma that it’ll cost money to fix.

As a buyer, finding out you have it after you’ve closed the deal is extremely frustrating. It can affect your property’s value as a defect. And of course, this will now cost you time and money to replace it with something that doesn’t carry the same risks of breaking down.


How Common is Kitec Plumbing in Toronto?

If there is a silver lining, it’s that the problem was found and the use of the faulty parts stopped within a relatively short period. However, there are some condo buildings and freehold homes that still have Kitec plumbing. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t purchase or sell a property containing Kitec – just know what you are in for.

As a matter of fact, some buyers will not want to enter into a purchase agreement with a seller if they know a unit or building has it. And, some buyers will not worry as much, but instead, ask that the price reflect that the unit isn’t perfect. Further to this, some buildings have made arrangements to have the entire building updated to eliminate all of the risk. However, others are letting individual unit owners decide for themselves what they would like to do.

For you, it will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis. It comes down to your comfort level with the situations’ risks and costs associated with Kitec plumbing. Generally speaking, replacing all of the plumbing in your house or condo is estimated at $10,000 to $20,000 on average. This depends on the size and severity because of how invasive Kitec can become. Often it requires opening up drywalled and tiled surfaces to get at the problem. And, from here, it needs to be properly replaced.


Here’s What You Can Do

When applicable, and even sometimes when there may be uncertainty, in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale used to trade properties, we include (on your behalf), language that will do one of the followings things.

For sellers, we’ll:

  • Disclose these details to the buyer, if you know you have it, but have not fixed or replaced the problem;
  • Warrant and represent that you do not have or never had Kitec, if that’s the case; or
  • Warrant and represent that the Kitec has been professionally removed from the property and replaced with current safe plumbing that’s up to code.

For buyers, we’ll:

  • Request that the seller represent and warrant that Kitec does not exist in the property;
  • Ask that the seller represent and warrant that all Kitec-related plumbing pipe and equipment has been professionally removed from the property and replaced with current safe plumbing that’s up to code; or
  • Acknowledge that you are aware of it and still wish to proceed, should that be the case.


How do you know if you have Kitec Plumbing?

Often, experienced agents will know the buildings that have had problems with Kitec plumbing and the effect on a property’s value and sale. If a building was built or renovated during the years Kitec was used, that can be a red flag. If it gets past that stage, the Status Certificate review by the buyers’ solicitor (a standard part of a condo sale) will sometimes be the point at which we find out. This is because the corporation will likely disclose this in those documents. If it’s a freehold property, a home inspection will likely reveal it.


Point is, you should be making an informed decision!

Of course, we do our best to find out everything we can for you about a home. We want to ensure that you’re making the most informed decision you can before entering a real estate transaction! And, chances are good that you may not encounter any Kitec in your travels. Whether you have or haven’t, you will know what it is and why there is a lot of talk about the subject between agents and clients. If you are thinking of buying or selling and you are concerned about Kitec give us a call. We’d be happy to chat about the pros and cons of having to work around Kitec plumbing as an issue: in your property or in someone else’s.


This article is written by Fox Marin Sales Representative, Ian Busher. With an extensive background in carpentry and contracting, Ian is our resident “Renovations Expert”! He takes pride in his ability to assess the quality and condition of a house. This, in tandem with his talent for speaking to the feasibility and cost of potential renovations, and his eye for the aesthetic details of a property, makes him a powerful partner for anyone looking to buy a home in the Toronto real estate market.