What’s the Problem with Zurn PEX Fittings?

Date Published: April 2, 2024

When we inspect homes, plumbing is one of the major systems we observe. And having conducted thousands of inspections over 18 years, it follows that we have seen a lot of different plumbing configurations. Some plumbing materials and components have stood the test of time and proven to be reliable. However, there are quite a few that are not so reliable. In this blog, we will discuss the once popular Zurn PEX fittings, and why they are not used anymore.

What Are Zurn PEX Fittings?

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), is a plastic piping material that has been widely used for residential plumbing since the early 90s. It has been become a sought after alternative to materials such as PVC and copper due to its flexibility, durability and ease of installation.

Zurn PEX fittings (sometimes also know as Q PEX) were subsequently designed to be compatible with PEX piping segments. These brass fittings, which were manufactured by a large plumbing supplies company called Zurn Industries, were sold for residential use between 1996 and 2010. They gained popularity due to their strength and resistance to corrosion.

However, much like Kitec piping, they turned out to be problematic in many homes across America, causing leaking, cracking and bursting pipes.

Zurn PEX fitting

Image sourced from: https://forum.nachi.org

What’s the Problem with These Fittings?

Dezincification

Brass is an alloy (or mixture) of copper and zinc. While this alloy is meant to be resistant to corrosion, the zinc in it can actually be highly reactive to certain elements present in water sources. Similar to Kitec piping’s brass fittings, these Zurn PEX fittings can experience a reaction called dezincification.

When the water supply is too acidic or alkaline, or if it has elevated levels of oxygen or carbon dioxide, the zinc will corrode over time. A tell-tale sign of dezincification is the white, powdery substance that accumulates on the fitting (shown below). Once the zinc is stripped from the alloy, the resulting metal is much weaker and tends to become porous. This then leads to the premature failure of the fittings.

Zurn PEX fittings

Image sourced from: https://superbrothers.com/repipe-articles/pex-piping-drinking-water/

Lawsuit

Numerous homeowners have experienced the negative effects of these fittings firsthand. The problematic fitting model was specifically F1807, which can be identified by the word “Q PEX” stamped on its side (pictured below). In some cases, Zurn PEX fittings have failed catastrophically, resulting in serious water damage and costly repairs. Over time, these incidents resulted in multiple lawsuits against Zurn Industries. The company finally agreed to pay out a $20 million settlement.

Just to be clear, although fitting model F1807 turned out be problematic, Zurn is still in business and manufacturing many products that have no concerns.

Zurn PEX fitting model F1807

Image sourced from: https://topclassactions.com

Inspecting for Zurn PEX Fittings

PEX piping is easy to identify, as it generally comes in bright red and blue (and sometimes orange or gray). So when conducting a home inspection, our inspectors will definitely know when they come across PEX. We always make sure to observe all the fittings, where accessible. When we do see Zurn PEX brass fittings, we know to look extra carefully for any signs of corrosion, leaks or damage.

Image sourced from: https://www.familyhandyman.com

Even if no damage or defects are visible, we still make note of the material, and inform our clients of its potential issues. Oftentimes, it might even be best to hire a plumbing specialist for further evaluation. But keep in mind that the presence of these fittings does not always mean that replacement is necessary.

At Scott Home Inspection, a division of Scott Home Services, we are all about providing you with the most thorough and transparent home inspections. That way you are comfortable and informed when deciding on whether or not to purchase a home.

If you are in need of any home inspection services, we’d love to help! Visit us online to learn more, or contact us to book your inspection today!

Colorado’s Top Rated Inspection Company:

Scott Home Inspection is Colorado’s highest rated inspection company offering home inspections, energy services, and Boulder Rental License Inspections. Click your service to learn more.

Home Inspection Services
Energy Services
Rental Inspections

About the Author: Chris Kimmel

Chris Kimmel worked as an Associate Home Inspector for two years, handling numerous services including sewer scope inspections, pest inspections, mold air sample testing, radon testing, and water quality testing. Chris now works with Scott Home Inspection as a Content Writing Specialist.

Recent Posts

1403, 2024

Kitec Plumbing: Why Is It Problematic?

Plumbing material is one of the most important components of a residence. Even though most of it is hidden underneath floors, and behind walls and ceilings, it [...]

403, 2024

Home Inspections In Golden CO

About Golden Golden, Colorado is a beautiful, vibrant city situated at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and just about 15 miles west of Denver. [...]

Ready For A Great Inspection Experience?

Experience quality with the top rated Colorado based company for home inspections, energy services, and rental inspections.

SCHEDULE NOW
OUR SERVICES

Discussion

Visit Our Ask Your Inspector page to see all our posts, find great Colorado contractors, and ask us questions about your home. 

Ask Your Inspector