Problematic Pipes:

KITEC PIPE REPLACEMENT

REPLACING KITEC PIPES

KITEC was used in the early 2000’s as both a potable (drinking, lavs showers…etc)  AND HYDRONIC HEAT PIPING as baseboard register heating, in floor radiant heating and staple up in floor radiant heating. The trade term for Kitec is PEX al PEX, which indicates a 3 layer pipe, the outer and inner layers consist of thin PEX with a layer of aluminum sandwiched in between. Kitec is still in production today under different names / labels and is still used in some hydronic heating and potable applications. potable Kitec is typically red and blue or all orange in color, Hydronic Kitec is typically orange only.

Showing the type of kitec pipe (with a kink) that Replumb Speciaties repipes

The Problems

The brass compression and or crimp fittings that connect Kitec piping contain high amounts of zinc, which to simplify the explanation – is basically water soluble causing them to break down when exposed to water and oxygen. This is called dezincification, by which Zinc oxide forms within the fitting and causes a ‘Bird boning’ effect rendering the brass weak and brittle. Zinc oxide can also cause blockages in the fitting and attached copper components.

 

Additionally, dezincification is accelerated when the first layer of KITEC PEX is penetrated by the brass compression fitting or compression ring and GALVANIC CORROSION initiates upon contact with the aluminum. We see this often, essentially two dissimilar metals come in contact and engage in a corrosive electrolyte, water being the electrolyte conductor. One metal (the cathode) is protected, whilst the other (the anode) is corroded. The rate of attack on the anode metal is greatly accelerated compared to the rate when the metal is not in contact with a dissimilar metal.  – Quite a mouthful – long story short = shortened life.

The third failure method

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

WHY CHOOSE REPLUMB SPECIALTIES, INC. TO REPLACE KITEC PIPE REPLACEMENT

Replumb Specialties, Inc. has been replacing polybutylene pipes in Colorado since 1992. We are the original pipe replacement contractor for the Polybutylene Class Action Settlement. We developed and perfected the ‘containment process’ copied by most replumb contractors today.

 

Our containment process includes masking and protecting work areas. Furniture is covered and drywall penetrations are cut by hand rather than with a power saw. All penetrations in drywall and tile are professionally repaired and painted to match.

 

We are licensed and insured and pride ourselves on being punctual and professional. Our crews have been working together for 20+ years. Realtors and home inspectors regularly refer us and account for 70% of our business.