During cold weather, there’s nothing more comfortable than radiant heating, especially when it’s installed in your flooring or used for high-end treats like heated towel racks. However, if you’ve used a product known as Kitec in the installation of the radiant heat, some insurance companies won’t insure your home. The product has been plagued with failing fittings and disintegrating pipes. The insurance issue turned up in a house inspection recently and caught everyone by surprise.
Is this the new UFFI? It seems that the plumbers who originally installed Kitec have come to believe that if you have Kitec in your home, it will eventually cause a problem – not maybe but definitely.
If you have radiant heating in your house that is water-heated and was installed between 1995 and 2007, call your plumber and have him certify that no Kitec was used. If you do find Kitec, the best thing you can do is replace it right away and join in the class action lawsuit to get some money to help the remediation.
Sold between 1995 and 2007, Kitec is a piping system that was used both for carrying water throughout a home and supplying water to radiant heating systems. The Kitec system used brass fittings as well as blue and orange flexible piping, which was made from a mixture of polyurethane and aluminum. This system was initially thought to be a superior product to copper piping because the Kitec pipes are more flexible, easier to install and less expensive than copper. In fact, many plumbers pushed for the use of Kitec over copper piping before it became apparent that the product was faulty.
If you bought a home and discovered that it has Kitec in it, you may have trouble getting your home insured – it all depends on your insurance company. According to a 2013 article from the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, “Insurance companies assess risks based on their own claims experience, and some larger companies have not had enough bad experiences with Kitec to deny insurance. Some companies are denying insurance, however, most likely because they are not relying solely on their own claims experience, but avoiding all possible risks.”
Even if you haven’t been denied home insurance because of the product, you should still be able to receive compensation from manufacturer IPEX in order to help you replace the Kitec.
In 2011, three class action lawsuits – one in the U.S., one in Quebec and one covering the rest of Canada – were brought against IPEX on behalf on anyone who owns or had previously owned a home with Kitec in it. In 2012, all parties reached a settlement in which IPEX was forced to create an account of US$125 million in order to compensate the claimants.
The settlement became effective as of Jan. 9, 2012, and the deadline for filing a claim against IPEX is Jan. 9, 2020, so if you believe you deserve compensation, be sure to visit www.kitecsettlement.com to see if you are eligible and to find out how to make a claim.
Richard Silver is a sales representative and leader of Silver Burtnick & Associates at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. He is designated as an ABR, e-PRO and a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS). A past director-at-large for CREA as well as a past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Richard is also a speaker and writer focusing on the use of technology in real estate, as well as the international real estate market and its effect on the industry. He is the founding past president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, Toronto Chapter.