Repiping America Since 1992

Highest Quality Repipes and Lowest Turnkey Pricing.

Kitec - Why Should I Repipe?

The trade term for Kitec is PEX-AL-PEX, which indicates the 3 layers in the pipe. The thin outer and inner layers are made of PEX, the middle layer is made of aluminum. Kitec is currently in production under different names/labels and is still used in some potable and hydronic heating applications. Potable Kitec is typically red, blue, or orange – while Kitec used in radiant heating is typically orange only.

Builders embraced Kitec because the aluminum layer made the pipe appear to be indestructible. It could also be bent into a shape that would hold throughout the install process. Kitec was and is sold under a number of brand names including: Ambio Comfort, Aqua, IPEX, KERR Controls, Kitec, Plomberie Amelioree, Plumb Better, WarmRite and XPA.

Three Ways We See Kitec Fail

1. Brass is composed of copper and zinc. The brass alloy fittings that complete Kitec connections contain more than 15% zinc and are therefore susceptible to a process called “dezincification”, where the selective removal of zinc leaves a relatively porous and weak layer of copper and copper oxide when exposed to an electrode (water). Corrosion of similar nature continues beneath the primary corrosion layer resulting in gradual replacement of sound brass by weak porous copper, leaving a ‘birdbone’ type fitting.

2. These fittings also react negatively when they come into contact with the aluminum layer in the Kitec pipe. This process is called “Galvanic Corrosion”

(See ‘Galvanic Series of Dissimilar Metals’ Table Below).

A less noble metal – called an anode – deteriorates at an accelerated rate as it deposits portions of itself onto the the more noble metal – called the cathode. The anode is essentially trying to return to its original state, before it was refined. In this case, the aluminum layer (Aluminum 1100) acts as the anode, and the brass fitting acts as the cathode. This process leaves visible corrosion on the brass fittings, causing failure such as leaks or bursts.

These two photos illustrate what occurs when the aluminum layer in the Kitec pipe is pressed against the seat of a brass fitting – in this case, a popular and often used SharkBite fitting. Notice the separation of the thin inner layer of PEX.

3. The third failure method we see relates to handling during installation. If the pipe was ever kinked (Picture A) by bending into a tight radius or crushed by weight, the aluminum layer will tear or perforate (Picture B), and eventually penetrate the inner or outer layer of PEX – or both. Also, the aluminum layer is slightly overlapped to form the circumference (Picture C), and we have seen this overlapped area separate time and time again. We see such perforations, tears and overlap separations leak behind walls, in ceilings, concrete hydronic heated floors, heated driveways, and sidewalk slabs ruining foundations and caissons.

A
B
C

How To Identify Kitec

Kitec pipe can be identified by its blue, orange, or red color. Look for one of the following brand identification marks on the pipe: Ambio Comfort, Aqua, IPEX, KERR Controls, Kitec, Plomberie Amelioree, Plumb Better, WarmRite and XPA. Also look for the trade classification such as
PE-AL-PE, or PEX-AL-PEX.
The following picture gives a few examples.

The following table illustrates both ends the cathodic and anodic table of dissimilar metals. The farther apart the metals lay on the illustration, the greater the galvanic corrosion.

Buying A House With Kitec Piping?

We recommend negotiating the repipe with the seller during the home inspection. This mitigates risk of water damage, solidifies insurability and increases the value of the home. Your real estate agent should be able to walk you through the necessary steps.

Why Choose Us To Repipe Your Kitec System?

Family owned, the Team at Replumb Specialties Inc. has repiped Polybutylene, Kitec, Copper, Galvanized, Entran, and other failing plumbing systems across our service area since 1992. We are the original repipe contractor for the Polybutylene Class Action Settlement. Our Turnkey process includes the permit, repipe, drywall, texture, paint and tile repairs. We’ve successfully repiped systems in 28,000+ homes, condominiums, apartments, and hotels – including over 2,200 hydronic heating applications.

“We found out we had Kitec after moving into a new home. It was disappointing, but having Jamey and his crew available made everything better. He will give you the best deal without compromising quality. I was living in the house while they did the replumb, and it was as comfortable as a replumb can be. They clean after themselves every night and are on time hard at work every morning. The job was completed quicker than expected, thanks to their diligence. By the end of the job, I could not even tell that the house had been replumbed; they match the color of your paint, they reposition tile, etc. I could not be more satisfied! With Jamey and his crew, you will be in the best hands.”

Fernando Castro-Alvarez

-“I Could Not Be More Satisfied”

EXPERIENCE THAT COUNTS
0 +
Years Of Expertise
7500 +
Occupied Residences Repiped By Our Crews, Not Subcontractors
2000 +
Heating Systems Repiped By Our Crews, Not Subcontractors
0 Million+
Feet Of Pipe Replaced