August 22, 2023 at 7:00 am #8484
Remembering the days of Kitec
The following letter was forwarded to me by a resident of Sun City Anthem, however, since many of use living in Del Webb/Pulte homes survived the Kitec issues a few years ago, and since we personally survived the issue of mold remediation in our home a few years ago, I wanted to share this letter with the hopes that;
(a) you don’t have this problem, (b) that you might have a suggestion I could pass along to the writer, (c) that you carefully check your home and make sure you don’t have the same issue hiding in your walls somewhere.
I own a Montecello model, 2769 sf. house located in Highlands Village.
I was out of town when my contractor found a slow drip in a bathroom, which led to extensive black mold wallboard and carpet damage. The cause was the shoddy “Shark Bite” fittings attached to the Pec plastic pipes.
I have discovered at least another fitting similarly corroded and about to fail. The remedy is to dig into every wall where there may be a plumbing fitting and replace them with proper professionally done CRIMP fittings, which do not fail like the “shark bites”.
For full remediation of the mold, 110′ linear feet of wallboard will have to be removed (which includes interior and exterior walls up to 4′ in height removal). Time and materials will be in the $60-75,000 range.
The reason I am writing to you is that my guess is that ALL SCA Anthem houses have similar plumbing. This is not to blame the SCA builder, because they were simply following code, which originally installed shoddy “Kitec plumbing pipe”, which was replaced with PVC pipe. However, the PVC pipe was joined with the SHARK BITE fittings, which in the case of my house have or are in the process of failing.
I don’t know what to do with this information. This is like playing a game of musical chairs when the music stops. How many of the 7200 SCA homeowners will be able to avoid inevitable plumbing failure(s)? I would guess there are many, perhaps an overwhelming majority, who cannot afford to properly remediate black mold due from an (inevitable) plumbing failure, which in no case is covered by insurance.
By the way, the type of plumbing installed throughout SCA Anthem was perfectly standard at houses of all price points, including multi-million dollar houses.
Do you have any suggestions about this information? I would put it out as a public service, but do you have any other thoughts?August 25, 2023 at 5:03 am #8487Trish PulverParticipant
I recently went through a PVC pipe fitting break in my newly purchased home. Flooded the master bath, closet, toilet room, bedroom and hall. Luckily I was home or it would have been worse.
My State Farm home owners insurance covered the resulting damage and repairs (less deductible) but did not cover any plumbing costs to repair the break. Reasoned it was maintenance. While I had the wall open I changed everything to copper fittings for which I paid out of pocket. Plumber said it wasn’t necessary but I would rather be safe than sorry. Sounds like that was a prudent decision.
I was told by my Realtor that when they replaced the Kitec piping they ran the new lines up the walls and through the attic. Do not put a nail or screw in the wall unless you know there is no piping behind it and be diligent about checking below and around your bath and kitchen fixtures. Feel for any moisture inside the cabinet, on the piping, drains and around base of fixtures. Look for discoloring since our hard water leaves deposits. Also, walk outside and look closely at the walls if your bath borders an outside wall. I’ve become more proactive about checking for problems on a regular basis.August 25, 2023 at 5:07 am #8495
Thank you Trish for your thoughtful reply to this issue, hopefully we will receive more replies from home owners who have dealt with plumbing issues lately.August 25, 2023 at 5:38 am #8496
This reply is a “follow up” from the original resident as the opening topic:
I was about to (legally) go after the manufacturer of the fittings to honor his warranty, but then I discovered that these cheap press-on fittings only have a 5-year warranty, versus the crimp-on fittings with a warranty of 25 years. In other words, it looks as though the residents of SCA can look forward to these fittings failing, now that they are 15 years over the warranty period.
Insurance will not pay me for damages caused by the leak. I am now looking forward to $60-75,000 to repair the damage and to remove and replace all remaining plumbing fittings.
FWI Reliance Worldwide Corp (RWC) is the parent company for the cheap press-on Cash Acme fittings in the SCA houses, as well as for the superior Shark Bite crimp-on fittings. Did the builder remediating the Kitec pipe cut corners intentionally, using the much quicker to install Csh Acme fittings? The builder made his profit and is long since gone and left the owners like myself, with an expensive problem 20 years later.August 25, 2023 at 9:35 am #8497Barry GoldsteinParticipant
Recently a friend had this issue with a slow leak behind the wall. As a former independent insurance broker, he asked for my help with his insurance company.
It seems a major insurance carrier has no coverage for this issue, unless you purchase a separate rider, and then they limit coverage to a max of $10,000.
I hate to be an advertisement for an insurance company but The Hartford, through AARP offers an Advantage Coverage Package, that covers this issue, up to your limits of property coverage, subject to the deductible.
If there is a leak behind a wall, how can it be a maintenance issue? People don’t normally maintain pipes behind the wall.
This seems to be a problem with many homes in our community over the last few years. The first thing to do is call your insurance company, but then call a restoration company, or a public adjuster that will fight for you with your insurance carrier. If you go through an insurance agent, remember they work for the insurance company. If you go through an insurance broker, they work for you.September 9, 2023 at 9:21 am #8524MartyWParticipant
Sorry folks, but it needs to be said;
Anthem does not have a plumbing problem. It seems the original writer of this topic is that the particular homeowner did not do his/her due diligence.
As I recall my follow-up with the particular contractor I was always there, supervising everything, all the time. Furthermore I made sure that those horrible “sharkbites” were not installed and the box of red brass fittings were delivered and sitting in the garage floor and waited to be installed along with the appropriate PEX piping. I also asked for the cards of the installer’s to prove they took a class on how to use the special tool for the PEX.
To this day no problems have shown its ugly face.
Sorry for those that didn’t do any of that.
Oh, and on the exterior of this house the stucco HAD to match the original finish or it was done over.September 10, 2023 at 7:50 am #8526
Marty, you forget that many people who are running into issues with their SCA homes are likely to be people who were not the original owners. So many homes here have been sold over the years since we had the plumbing issues here and although a seller is supposed to report issues f this kind, I’m sure many do not.
We also have to problem of many original owners who knew nothing about what the repairs were to be as far as material used. We can’t all be mechanically savvy… Personally I had no clue and had to ask a friend who was a retired engineer to check what was being done to my home for me.September 10, 2023 at 9:11 am #8527MartyWParticipant
“Marty, you forget that many people who are running into issues with their SCA homes are likely to be people who were not the original owners.”
You are absolutely correct and reminding me about the “non” first owners of these homes…sorry.
However as you said, you did get a reliable source to guide you to overcome the issue of Kitek and Sharkbite connectors, and I commend you for that.September 10, 2023 at 8:25 pm #8528GARY THOMASParticipant
When we bought our home in 2020 (Golf Mesa) our realtor and inspector “warned” us about the shark bite issues. We were encouraged to have accessible connectors inspected and to be vigilant about checking for any signs of leaking if we did not intend to replace the shark bites. We also had plumbers tell us that many, many SCA homes with the shark bite product have not had any problems.
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