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Léa Plourde-Archer
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Plourde-Archer

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Class action lawsuit against Kitec: what you need to know

Last modified: 2019/02/07 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Have you heard of Kitec? This plumbing system produced by IPEX in the late nineties has been gathering press as of late, and not for the right reasons!

If you think you have this type of system installed at home, here is all the information you need to identify it and to take part in the class action lawsuit against its manufacturer.

The Kitec system in a nutshell

This plumbing system appeared on the market in 1995 and enjoyed some popularity in the following years for two simple reasons: its speed and ease of installation. Indeed, the fact that the pipes were flexible proved a major advantage during the installation process.

You should know that up until 2007, the Kitec system was installed in several homes and condos in the United States and Canada. After that date, it was replaced by the Pex system (produced by the same manufacturer IPEX), also appreciated for its simplified installation process and its good price/value ratio.

How do you know if you have a Kitec system at home?

Be aware that the best place to identify the presence of this type of plumbing system is near a hot water tank or in the engine room (where the pipe runs through the wall or where it is connected). You will also notice its presence under the vanity of your bathroom sink or under the kitchen sink. Pay attention to where the fitting (or pipe) passes through the wall.

bathroom

Photo: Pixabay

Since the Kitec system was marketed under multiple names, look for one of the following on piping: PlumbBetter, WarmRite, IPEX AQUA, Improved Plumbing, Kitec XPA, XPA, KERR Controls or AmibioComfort. In addition, note that problematic piping is also identified with one of the following: ASTM 1281, CSA B137.9 / 10 or ATSM F1974. It should also be noted that the cold water line is blue, while the hot water line is orange.

Lastly, in some homes where this system has been installed, a yellow sticker may have been affixed inside the electrical box. To confirm its presence, it is strongly recommended to hire a certified plumber for obvious security reasons, but also so that the information on it is confirmed by a professional.

Identification factors

What you need to look for

The colour of the pipes

  • Blue for cold water
  • Orange for hot water

The brand

  • Kitec
  • PlumbBetter
  • WarmRite
  • IPEX AQUA
  • Plomberie Améliorée
  • Kitec XPA
  • XPA
  • KERR Controls
  • AmibioComfort

The terms written on the pipes

  • ASTM 1281
  • CSA B137.9/10
  • ATSM F1974

The electrical panel

  • Yellow sticker inside the electrical panel (to be confirmed by a certified electrician)

What are the problems associated with the Kitec system?

It should be noted that it was in the United States that the system’s deficiencies were first observed. More particularly, there is a reported tendency to corrosion as well as sealing problems. As a result, some homeowners have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with leaks or water damage.

Although no such issue has been observed in Quebec or in Canada where this plumbing system was also installed, it goes without saying that the situation is raising more and more concern among homeowners.

In addition, another point is currently playing against the Kitec system: the scarcity of fittings. As this product is no longer sold, the brass fittings needed to repair breakage are rare.

What recourses are available if you have a Kitec plumbing system?

Due to the problems experienced by many homeowners, a North American class action lawsuit was filed against the manufacturer in 2011. As a result, Quebec, Ontario and the United States jointly agreed to compensation from IPEX amounting to 125 million, compensation that was granted even if the company refuses to officially recognize their wrongdoings.

Of this sum, $ 25 million was set aside for the payment of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit, as well as certain administrative costs, while the rest of the amount was set aside directly to cover the applicants' compensation.

class action kitec

Photo: Pixabay

Should you ask for compensation?

Although many homeowners are entitled to compensation, it seems that very few have taken steps to claim their dues. Therefore, even though the agreement has been effective since January 10, 2012, it seems that the total amount of claims made does not even reach $ 3 million.

But why? On the one hand, it seems that the lack of waves generated by this agreement simply left many landowners in the dark. On the other hand, several critics have risen from owners who have decided to go ahead with a formal claim. The discontent expressed is caused by the very modest sum obtained following their complaint.

However, David Robins, one of the lawyers involved in the case, assures that the little money allocated per claim to date can be rationalized thusly: that of estimating the number of claims to come as well as their respective importance, to respond fairly to all requests sent before the deadline. Once this deadline has passed, it is possible that the amount received as compensation will be revised upwards. Thus, while the claim process would benefit from being made easier, the lawyer strongly recommends that people who are entitled to a compensation devote enough time to making a claim.  

If some are thinking of giving up because they are not experiencing leaks or problems with the system to date, keep in mind that its mere presence will cause a property to lose value. In the same vein, let's also say that selling a house with a Kitec system will prove to be almost impossible, unless, of course, the price goes down.

Note that if you want to take part in the class action, you have until January 9th, 2020 to do so. You can get all the documentation online by clicking on this link.

Need additional information?

If you wish to have specific information regarding the settlement, you can do so by contacting one of the Claimants' principal co-lawyers in Quebec or Canada or with the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court of Quebec or with the Office of the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario, addresses listed in the box below.

 

Contacts

Addresses

Simon Hébert: co-lawyer responsible for Quebec claims (Siskinds, Desmeules LLP)

  • Les Promenades du Vieux-Québec, 43 rue de Buade, bureau 320, Quebec (QC), G1R 4A2

Charles Wright: co-lawyer responsible for claims in Canada (Siskinds, LPP)

  • 680 Waterloo Street, London, Ontario (ON), N6B 3V8

Harvey Strosberg, co-lawyer responsible for claims in Canada (Sutts, Strosberg, LLP)

  • 600-251 Goyeau Street, Windsor, Ontario (ON), N9A 6V4

Bureau du Greffier de la Cour supérieure du Québec

  • District de Québec, Palais de Justice, 300 Boul. Jean-Lesage, Québec (QC), G1K 8K6

Office of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice

  • Windsor Courthouse, 245 Windsor Avenue, Windsor, Ontario (ON), N9A 1J2

 

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