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Faulty fixtures may be to blame for more home problems

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Updated: 6/29/2012 6:24 pm
LAS VEGAs (KSNV & MyNews3) -- A massive plumbing crisis may be looming in the valley and the affected homeowners probably don't even know it. Experts say faulty fixtures are to blame.

More than a 100,000 homeowners could be facing problems such as leaks, mold and even flooding. In tonight's special report, we show some plumbing problems and offer resources for homeowners.

Just to be clear, these are new cases and not those involving Kitec.

If your home was built during the housing boom, you could be affected. A re-plumb might be necessary. News 3 taks a look at what to expect.

Homeowners like Gerald McKoy received letters telling them that they have faulty fixtures behind their walls.

“After they explained to me and they came in and showed me what the problem was, I gave them my OK,” McKoy said. “What needs to be done.”

These homes were built with pipe fittings made by a company called Kitec and thanks to a class action lawsuit. They are now being re-plumbed at no cost to the homeowner.

“That was a relief when i found out the company would do it for free,” McKoy said.
“But the fix is pretty messy.”

“t's very inconvenient for them but at least they don't have to wake up in the middle of the night with a flood in their house.”

The re-plumbs take about a week and the homeowners can stay in their houses during the process.
The Kitec story has been well publicized, but now News 3 has learned that yellow brass pipe fittings made by other manufacturers could give out too.

The law firm of Kemp, Jones and Coulthard has been taking steps to protect homeowners for about eight years.

“It is a major problem, an ongoing problem and the Kitec only resolved about 32,000 homes in the valley, but we think there's in excess of another 100,000 homes that have other manufactured yellow brass components and will ultimately suffer the same problems.”

Experts say these pipe fittings just don't mix well with the valley's water supply. Buildup occurs within the fitting and leaks, mold and even massive flooding can follow.

“The experts say a plumbing system should last 30 to 50 years with no problems and we were seeing problems 2, 3 or 5 years.”

So how can you find out if you might need a fix? Take a trip to your electrical box. Most tell you what type of plumbing system you have in your home.

“If you had a sticker this is where you'd normally find it (opening box)”

“The Kitec situation has opened a lot of eyes to a lot of people in this valley. Check things, double check.”

Ed Slovak works for dynamic plumbing. His company and several others have been doing kitec re-plumbs for years.

“We're doing about eight a day.”

And now it seems more work might be on the way. McKoy is glad he caught his problem early, even if it means his kitchen is off limits.

“I love to eat and when I find my stove covered up and I can't do some cooking.”

“When this is done, are you going to be able to sleep better at night?”

”Oh yes. I'll be more content because I know when I wake up in the morning the floor will be dry and I won't have any leakage.”

As of right now, only the Kitec fittings are being replaced for free, but lawyers are working around the clock in hopes of getting the other manufacturers to pay.

These faulty fittings were installed during the housing boom and builders eventually stopped using them.

The fittings were primarily used in homes built between 1995 and 2005 and major builders including KB home, Pulte and Richmond American used them.
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