HPAC Magazine

Perplexed by PEX scenario

February 1, 2014   By Kerry Turner

I sometimes get asked how I come up with ideas for this column. Editors in all markets approach their editorials in different ways. When it comes to determining subject matter, I generally avoid walking you through the issue’s content. It is not particularly useful: you know where to find the contents page and how to use it. It is also safe to assume you do not care to hear about my food likes and dislikes, exercise regime (that would be a short column), travel plans, pet preferences and “favourites,” and so on.

As each magazine deadline approaches I look to industry contacts, media outlets, colleagues and our readers for ideas for this column. The challenge is to select a topic that will engage our diverse readership with useful, thought provoking and informative content.

Imagine my interest when a neighbour told me her insurance company was refusing to insure the house she purchased recently. The reason given was that the home had some PEX in a plumbing application and “that stuff leaks.” Ouch.

The installation of said PEX and a tankless water heater happened about six years ago. Frankly, the insurance company’s position shocked me, particularly since PEX tubing is recognized for potable water distribution in most model plumbing codes. Plus, this was a relatively new installation that was subject to a pretty comprehensive home inspection. With my editorial pegged, I then did some research.

Surely, this was a one-off, an uninformed, old school broker who may have had an experience with PEX many years ago (although the neighbour did say that the broker sounded about 16, so not likely). It turned out the neighbour took the decision to the next level but the company stood firm.

I suggest you Google: “problems in the pipes,” and “insurance coverage PEX Canada.” The broker and his insurance company referred to here are not unique in their conviction. 

We have seen the impact decisions by insurance companies can have on the mechanical industry. It is time to be proactive and educate and inform. Whatever pipe you prefer to work with, a lack of knowledge or bias does not help anyone in the industry.

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