Lake Benedict, MNThe retired doctor from Minnesota must have been thanking his lucky stars that he was home when his upstairs bathroom sprung a leak above the ceiling. He was there to shut the water off before thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars might have been done as a result of a defective Zurn PEX brass fitting.
Others haven't been so lucky, and more are joining a class action lawsuit against Zurn Industries, alleging a defect in the brass fittings that join lengths of PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene pipe, together.
Few in the industry, including plumbers, have anything bad to say about the actual PEX pipe, which is a flexible and less expensive alternative to far more expensive copper products. The flexibility is a godsend, given the prior requirement to accomplish literally hundreds of cuts and joins in a typical structure, while working with a rigid product like copper. PEX, in contrast, can be easily threaded and dramatically cuts down on installation time, as well as cost. PEX is also thought to be a worthy improvement on the problem-prone polybutylene piping.
The problem, is when the hardy PEX pipe is joined: the latter is accomplished by a brass fitting, which has been known to fail thanks to a process known as dezincification, which is a corrosion of the brass.
However, beyond that our doctor in Minnesota found a different problem: he writes that upon examining replacement Zurn brass fittings at a plumbing supply store, he found that every fitting had defective thread tapping, with cracks at four spacings of the thread tapper. "Now I'm a retired MD," he writes, "but I have a large workshop and do a lot of machine work and welding," so he had a fair idea of what he was looking at. A machinist in the store who overheard his observation confirmed that in his view, the thread tapper was rotating at too fast a rate, adding that he thought the brass to be of substandard quality and likely had too much zinc in the mix, compared to copper.
"In his words," the retired MD writes, "the product was junk."
That would explain what they found when they inspected the origin of the leak in the retired physician's beautiful lakefront home on Benedict Lake. After removing tile to get at the problem, it was determined that a large jet of water was coming from the side of the brass fitting connecting the hot water supply to the shower control. "I have never heard of, or seen a half inch brass fitting fail in this way," he writes.
Failures of this kind can do devastating damage to a building, and contents. Thankfully, the damage to this gentleman's home was limited to about $1000, but others haven't been so lucky. That's because Murphy's Law will always dictate that disaster happens when you're not home, and no one is there to take remedial action.
And plumbing disasters can take many forms. It could be a gusher that happens the minute you close the door behind you to go shopping. Or it could be a slow leak that you can't see and will never hear, because it's behind a wall somewhere. Such a leak can lead to a more catastrophic failure, or introduce humidity and unwanted moisture into the home, risking the development of mold, mildew, and other moisture-laden conditions that can weaken a home's structure over time, not to mention putting you and your family at risk for your health.
Ever wonder why plumbers are so highly paid? Simple—they are entrusted in making permanent, leak-free connections so that you will be spared calamity from water going where it shouldn't. Plumbers are expensive professionals, and good ones are worth every single penny.
It is assumed, however, that they are working with quality materials. A plumber, like any professional, is only as good as his skill, his work ethic and the products he is given to do the job. In the end, it doesn't matter how good the plumber is…if he is making a connection with a failure-prone brass fitting that has allegedly been manufactured on the cheap, you have paid good money for nothing and have unwittingly invited disaster into your home.
It's a disaster that may be brewing right now, and one that you may never see, as all that plumbing is hidden behind the walls, and under the insulation in the attic. Further, opting to replace that plumbing in an effort to avoid disaster (assuming you have Zurn PEX plumbing in your home) will be prohibitively expensive given where it is. Walls, and ceilings would have to be breached and repaired, all in an effort to give you peace of mind.
And therein lay the problem for a lot of folks. An actual leak is an obvious sign of trouble. However, what can be worse is the knowledge that you may have a potentially defective product in your home that's known to fail. That equates to a ticking time bomb that you can't see, can't locate and can't hear.
Living with that fear, can be just as much a nightmare as dealing with an actual plumbing disaster when it happens. Meanwhile, it has been reported that after paying out a number of claims for failed fittings, Zurn is allegedly no longer doing so.
Thus, more worried homeowners are turning to the courts. A couple in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, registered one class action last August and yet another lawsuit is seeking class action status.
The assistance of a Zurn PEX lawyer could mean the difference between having the resources to deal with disaster, or mopping up on your own…
My husband and I purchased a home before it was built in 2003. Moved in the house in December 2003. It was going to be our retirement home, but in 2015 we started with the first leak, a pin hole in the pipe. It spread so fast. My husband was out of town. No one to help. Than again in 2016 Had 2 more leaks 4 months apart. In 2017 we had 3 leaks. Closer and closer together, pin holes in the pipes, I did not know water could spread from a pin hole that fast. We had already had two insurance companies to drop us not knowing it was faulty pipe, The third insurance company that we got. We had a leak within a month, paid it out of pocket, than another leak, paid it out of pocket. Could not afford the price to go up again, we were high risk.
The plumber that fixed the pipes the last two time said the only way to stop the leak was to repipe the whole house.The pipes were bad (Zurn) The Insurance would not pay for it. We had to wait for it to leak again. So out of our pocket came the replumbing. No more leaks. It was a night mare. If you think it is bad for a young person, try two old people wanting to retire and can't.
Posted by Thomas Mabry
My ome was 6 years of old and I devolepoed 2 foundation leaks. My living room floor had to be broken up to repai the first leak and the second was in the garage by the water heater. Both leaks were due to a hairline crack that was misting, so it took a while to show. After the repairs, about 3 weeks later, the garage started leaking again. Found out that it was also leaking behind the wall in the laundry room and another in the wall in the Master bedroom. The co pansy that made me first repair would not come back to the fix their first repair. That’s when I turned it in to the Insurance co pony. They took care of all repairs with exception f replumbing the house. Over $8000.00 worth of damage that the insurance company paid . The culprit, ZURN pest. Please include me in any class ac
Posted by Mary Mahavier
The Zurn system has ruined my home . I am trying to get help again . Water is leaking down my walls & I am being told to file in the law suit again . I already went through that in 2013 and was not reimbursed half of what I had to pay upfront . Can’t get call backs from zern . I have wet towels all over as I watch my walls get destroyed . The stress alone is not worth having this junk in my home .
Posted by Carol W
This has been the nightmare that won't go away. It is apparent that somebody out there will substantial knowledge of the defects with this stuff is not sharing the problems to be expected with the homebuyers. You become sitting target.
Your investment has been shot to hell and back. If is very unfortunate for those of us who purchased during the 2006-2010 timeframe. Found a lawsuit settled in Minnesota for this type of problem. But the timeframe to become a participant expired May 2014. The REaltors, Homeowners Assoc, State's Atty General Office, Plumbers were all to be made aware of this case but i guess they just kept on getting paid during the housing boom being overprice, got their check and we are left with the headaches. somebody help us. The water leak house I'm in I paid over $300K. Cant seem to give it away. Really disappointing.
Posted by mike
there is 10+ types of pex. Uponor makes great pipe and fitting. all of your problems sound like your plumbers are using the cheapest crap that probably crimps. ive plumbed 400+ multi million dollar houses with Uponor Aquapex and have had zero issues. STOP BUYING AFTERMARKET SHIT AND YOU WONT HAVE PROBLEMS. dont go to lowes or home depot and expect to save money and not have issues. YOU CANT DO IT...THEY CANT HELP...hire a GOOD plumber that uses quality materials and you wont have this problem.
Posted by Linda Simien
2 leaks in 2 years from Zurn Pex Plumbing
Posted by Drake Rogers
I am a plumber/contractor who started using pex piping in the late 90's. To date I have not had a failure. However I agree that care must be taken in installation. If one kinks a pipe; that piece should be discarded.
Also I only use complete manifold systems. That way the only fitting are at the manifold and where the pipe connects to the faucet.
The problem with pex is that anyone can probably install it and like in most cases " A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous"
Posted by Bob Edwards
I'm a former polymer chemist and extrusion process engineer with 40 years of experience manufacturing polyethylene insulated cables and conduit, including PEX. Polyethylene, including PEX, has dimensional stability problems, i.e., it shrinks back over time. It's not a good choice for water pipe under pressure. When I built my last home in 2005, the plumber tried to pull a switch and substitute PEX for the copper pipe he had quoted, saying PEX was superior. I fired him on the spot. I'm also very familiar with the various antioxidants used in polyethylene, some of which are approved by the FDA, only because they are the least toxic of the ones available. You would have to be out of your mind to use this stuff in your home.
Posted by Lisa Davidson
I live in a mobile home and I have these pipes, I have had many water leaks and still do today. I have receipts of people who came out to fix these leaks close to 3,000 dollars and it's a never ending mess with leaks I continue to have can someone help me please
Posted by Rosemary Fletcher
We just built our house and have now come home twice to a broken 3/4" Pex fitting (the house isn't 1 year old yet). This second flood (in our basement both times) is far worse as the restoration people put boxes back in the basement all over - not stacked, so mostly everything is wet. Thank goodness it is clean, cold water, but we are now paranoid and waiting for it to happen again. We are shell-shocked and can't even explain how this could happen once let alone twice to our insurance company. So this website has made us feel like it's not our fault at least. Have taken lots of pictures of the fittings, so we shall see. We live in Canada and purchased those fittings at Home Depot. Thank you and we really feel your pain to all of you who are suffering with this issue.
Posted by Barry Abrahams
We have "Pex" pipe in our home built in 2006. We have not yet determined the brand of Pex yet, but the pipe develops what appear to be fractures which then leak. We have suffered through two recent (within 2 weeks of each other) leaks, one in a hot water line one in a cold water line. Previously we had another Pex line leak but that seemed to be caused by rubbing up against an adjacent nail! But who knows??
We have concluded we have to re-plumb the whole house. The fittings are Rehau Everloc and they are not the cause, it is the pipe which we are assuming is a Rehau product also, but will try to verify that during re-plumb.
So far leaks have been covered by insurance, but don't know if we are going to be cancelled after these leaks occurring within a year and a half.
Posted by Danny Little
I've had 7 pinhole leaks in my pex pipe hot water lines. I built my house in 2003. Now I'm in the process of replumbing the whole house. Strangely enough, the leaks haven't been in the fittings, only the pipe.
Posted by Jaime Jakubczak
I am sorry to hear all of these issues with PEX. I am a retired general contractor who used only copper. I became a building inspector/code enforcement officer in the East Bay area of San Francisco. Our Building Official was also a contractor and did not allow PEX in our jurisdiction. He was afraid of these issues including foul water. As we know, copper has some antibacterial properties. PEX does not. So I think that when a lot of plumbers and homeowners in our jurisdiction wanted to use PEX and we turn them down, they are probable happy we did!
Posted by John and Carla Libhart
Hello I'm reaching out for someone to help us resolve our pex pipe leaks
We built our home in May of 2008 . We are almost afraid to leave our home for any extended time in fear of coming home to a flooded house!
Jan 1,2016 at 2am was our 8th leak In Our house
We have to replace walls,floors, baseboards, carpet
We have filed 2 claims with our insurance which is RVOS and paid out of pocket for all the rest
Posted by Gail Acebo
We used a custom builder to build our retirement dream home 7 years ago & spared no expense on plumbing cost.
My disabled husband & I awoke this morning to a flood of water POURING from the ceilings of both first & 2nd floors.
After plumber was called, problem located was Zurn stress fracture going into one of the hot water heaters.
The ceilings have caved in, Restoration will be substantial & lengthy. Thus, we have to vacate our home.
After reading so many issues regarding Zurn, I am extremely concerned about the rest of the plumbing throughout the entire house.
I would like to join the Class Action lawsuit to cover the cost of the current problem & possible future problems ahead.
This additional stress on my husband is still unknown, but due to the upheaval is also a very real concern.
Posted by Donna morris
We live in a double wide. It's 11 years old and we have not had any trouble until a year ago. It started with pipes coming apart, now mice eat this stuff like candy. Our insurance has already paid for floor damages once, and just this past month we had to have them back out. They r paying for another area this time.
Now, at 3:00 am this morning I woke up to a horrible sound and my husband had to go turn off water and we had to mop up the bathroom floor. It's 3:50 am now and water is off until morning, but the drip from the insulation is still audible.
I want this stuff gone from our home. I'm sick of unwanted renovations to the sub floors and walls. If we had wanted to build a house we would have, now we r having to rebuild the floors on this.
Mice eat this stuff like candy, and it just slips apart!!!!!
How do you get the company to fix the problem? Or has anyone had any luck getting their insurance to pay for new pipes?
Posted by Sylvan Tieger
It takes a certain mentality to place plastic where it is not accessible subject to having rodents gnaws though this type of materials and not knowing the possible health risks with toxins leaching into the water supply.
Saving money is why so many dangerous materials are now being used in construction as we have the best politicians money can buy that place the cost savings over human health. IMHO
Posted by Kelly Hanson
I purchased my home less than ten years ago. I watched the building process including the plumbing work. All was well until I came home from a trip to a flooded home 2 1/2 weeks ago. The issue was a defective split (1 inch) in the PEX cold water supply line in the ceiling of the first floor. 2 1/2 weeks later when we're ready to repair the damage, and another PEX line had a small split (1/4 inch) in the first floor bathroom ceiling. I did notice that the walls of the line are inconsistent, (thick on one side and thin on the other, which is where the failure is located) Second PEX failure in 2 1/2 weeks! What a mess. I don't have any confidence in this product. I've kept the defective pieces for future litigation. Is there any class action in progress?
Posted by paul rutledge
My red pex hot water line pulled loose at the shut off valve under my kitchen sink,on inspection red line feels like it has high and low spots all the way around the line.we installed it less than a year ago...will cut off about 1 inch and repair, but
how can i trust this will not happen again?
Posted by Cassidy Ryan
I own a com/res plumbing business in Washington St. and I switched to zurn pex about 7 years ago I think it was. I have it in my home and have installed it in more that 8 300 unit+ apt complexes in Seattle and surrounding area and numerous homes. I'm not speaking for any plumbers but myself when I say that I love the stuff. The only leaks I've had with pex were just missed ratchet clamps by my guys during hydrostatic testing. I literally only make half of what I used to on jobs but its well worth the years its gonna add to my life. I use it correctly though, and yes, there is a wrong way. My two biggest rules I try to instill in my guys and girl is that its not indestructible and only use plastic fittings and copper manifolds. The way some rookies treat the stuff is crazy. They yank, step on and throw the stuff around like its titanium. Make sure you have a plumber with knowledge of the product they're using. I know alot of you didnt get that choice and im sorry for all the bad plumbers out there. If a plumber claims he uses pex and knows it, ask about Wirsbo (wheres-bo) or Uponor (you-pun-your), its just another name for pex, like zurn. If he looks confused, don't hire him. Always make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured also. His bond could save you thousands, you never know.
Posted by Sherry
5 pex pipe 'pinhole' leaks in 14 months with approximately $10K+ damage to my home built in 2007 in Summerfield/NW Greensboro, NC
I want to know where to begin with a class action lawsuit?
Posted by Joseph
My hot water PEX supply lines have failed twice by the hot water heater. The first leak blew a large chunk of drywall completely out in the garage in my house that is only 9 years old. I repaired it using a snap-in-fitting elbow and the leak was solve. A few months ago, the same thing happened again, only lower within the wall, same location. And again, the rest of the drywall was blown out. This time removal of the hot water tank had to be removed. Two leaks were repaired using the same materials. NOW there are two more leaks; one underneath the concrete slab in the washing machine room, and another behind the master bedroom shower. This is ridiculous! Construction companies saved money by using worthless PEX junk, and the home owners gets nailed with the cost of repairs; money which I do not have. A friend of mine had the same problem which cost her $5,000 in total water line replacement with copper. My home will never be worth what it was appraised for! A Class Action should be filed.
Posted by Patrick
Pex pipe is junk, plain and simple. It is not worth the "savings" over copper to have repeated leaks and damage to other parts of the home... We have a 12 year old house and the PEX has developed pinhole leaks in two places (that we know about) both right by the water heater, in a 1" line that supplies the whole house. Is the substandard pipe itself covered in any class action suits, or just the scrap metal fittings?
Posted by Robert Beck
I purchased a 14 year old house . After having now three pin hole leaks in a year and a half my plummer has informed me that this is only the beginning. He says that I will continue to have problems until I re-plum the house. He says that my pipes are now yellow instead of white and that I will have leak after leak. Why hasn't there been a class action suit against this pipe maker and what can I do about my Problem ?
Posted by Philip Quinn Cedarbrook const
As a licensed general contractor In the state of North Carolina. I installed Pex into my personal home about five years ago. About three months ago The first problem arose with the pex fittings, About 3:00 in the morning I was awoken by the sound of my well pump running in the crawl space. That I noticed it started to get warm in the house. When I got into the crawl space. I noticed the water spraying on my $30,000.00 geo termal system. As you could imagine, I was devastated. The water was spraying on the computer of the geothermal system, I was able to fix the problem at about 4:00am in the morning. And with a hairdryer I dryed the computer system out on the geo Thermal system. With fingers crossed. I reset the system to go on. And with some words to the lord above, it came back on. Three months later I am now finding evidence of more fittings railing in my crawl space. This problem is now on my mind on a daily basis what to do.
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