Updated: Wednesday, February 5 2014, 11:08 PM CST
Chances are you don’t know what kind of plumbing you have in your home, especially if it’s new.
But, KEYE TV discovered there is one brand that could sink you financially.
It’s called Kitec. Kitec plumbing was used during the building boom here in Central Texas.
But, it was recalled in 2005. Sadly it did not stop some builders from using it here in the Austin area beyond 2005.
It’s been found in some homes built as late as 2008.
“It pretty much put a sinking feeling into your chest pretty quick,” said Tim Lively who found Kitec in his home.
Tim and Christine Lively never thought twice about the plumbing in their brand new dream home.
“You spend a lot of money on a brand new house and think it’s built according to current code,” Christine said.
They found out it wasn’t built to code when they tried to install a simple water softener.
“We’ve got water running down the walls and everything in the garage where we’re installing the water softener,” Tim said.
“Basically that’s when we found out we had KITEC plumbing,” Tim said.
“You can’t find parts for it.” It turns out the Lively’s home was built in the boom of 2007 with Kitec plumbing that was recalled in 2005.
Kitec plumbing was recalled because it corrodes quickly, the fittings leaked and the pipes would fill up with deposits causing them to burst.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” said certified plumber Jeff Rhoades. "It is a time bomb waiting to happen. It will break down, the manufacturer makes no buts about that.
Then that headache is passed on to people like the Lively’s. “Basically a $250 leak could turn into a $20,000 problem overnight,” Tim said.
The only way to fix it is to rip it all out.
A freak lighting strike forced the issue for the Lively’s. “So when electricity hit the plumbing it just melted the cores completely out,” Tim said.
“We had shut the water off as our living room, the bedroom and the master bath were slowly filling up with water.”
Their plumbing had to be ripped out one way or the other. But they’re not alone.
More than 325,000 homeowners nationwide and in Canada are part of lawsuits with Kitec.
But, a licensed certified plumber we talked to says tens of thousands more in Central Texas may have Kitec and not even know it.
“More homes than anyone wants to admit probably have Kitec in them,” Rhoades said.
Rhoades has been an expert adviser in Kitec lawsuits involving homes in Sun City Georgetown.
“It’s in a lotta houses,” Rhoades said.
“There’s been plenty of homes that we’ve seen that have been built in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 that have contained Kitec products.”
He’s seen a wide spectrum of problems in homes throughout Central Texas. “We’re talking little leaks all the way to flooding out houses,”
Rhoades said. “It was put in to last 50 to 70 years or more and to try and remove something that’s been installed that way can get ugly for everybody.”
Just ask the Lively’s. “I’d like to not see it happen to anybody else,” Christine said.
They say it almost added up to financial ruin and it all started with the installation of a water softener.
“I’m gonna say it’s probably a $100,000 issue,” Tim said. “Total cost.”
The Lively’s said insurance paid 80 percent of it but they were still on the hook for $20,000 and out of their home during the remodel for about two months.
The best way to identify Kitec in your home is to call a certified licensed plumber or look at exposed pipes and fitting and see if you can find the initials KTC or Kitec embossed on the pipes.
If you do have Kitec chances are you might be able to join a class action lawsuit to help recover replacement costs. Here more information on the Kitec Plumbing Settlement: http://www.kitecsettlement.com/casestatus.cfm http://www.kitecsettlement.com/index.cfm By Walt Maciborski</SPAN>