Kitec was the “go-to” pipe used in plumbing and heating installations between 1995 and 2007. It was manufactured by a company called IPEX Inc. which still exists to this day.
Kitec is a composite plumbing material made from five layers of metal, plastics and resin adhesives, with brass fittings.
The outermost plastic layer is usually colour-coded to indicate hot water (bright orange) or cold water (bright blue). The label ‘ASTM 1281’ is printed on the outer layer in black lettering.
Starting in the late 1990s, Kitec was marketed as a cost-effective alternative to copper pipe that was also much easier to install. IPEX Inc. and its distributor sold Kitec plumbing under the names Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX AQUA, WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls, Plomberie Améliorée.
- Despite layers of protective plastic and resin, both the aluminum layer of the pipes and the brass fittings had a tendency to corrode quickly.
- Kitec fittings contained very high levels of zinc, which reacted with the chemical composition of Kitec and leached minerals into the pipe. This caused the fittings to degrade quickly and a build up of zinc oxide that restricted the flow of water.
- The plastic and aluminum layers expanded and contracted with temperature changes, weakening over time until the pipe burst.