It appears as though a class-action lawsuit has
been filed against Zurn® regarding brass fittings
installed in Pex piping systems. The reason for this
lawsuit is undetermined at this time. Speculation
has it due to the brass content of the fittings. Some
believe it’s either due to the thickness of the fittings
while others think it is because of the “Made in
China” label. Here is what we can provide as
information to date:
The Zurn® fittings that are in question have “Made
in China” stamped on them. The brass alloy
mixture had problems and caused the fittings to
split and crack. Zurn’s brass Pex fittings can be
identified by their “Q” or “Q Pex” stamp. The “Q”
stands for “Quest,” which is a trade name Zurn®
used for its Pex systems. There is not necessarily
a “Made in” stamp on these fittings.
NPI was informed that Zurn® changed the
thickness of its fittings to increase the inside
diameter of the fittings to help increase the flow of
water. This is another reason why the fittings
started to fail.
Zurn has also stopped selling the brass fittings and
is now touting its plastic Pex fittings. NPI
recommends staying abreast of these plastic
fittings, which was the reason behind the second failure with PB pipe installations.
There has also been speculation of a problem caused by lack of zinc called dezincification
that has caused excessive buildup in the fittings.
Zurn’s fittings are identified by a “Q Pex” or a “QPex” stamped on their side. The homeowners who brought these cases claim that Zurn’s brass fittings were incorrectly designed and manufactured. As a result, the homeowners allege that the Zurn® Pex fittings fail prematurely – sometimes only months after installation. Substantial water damage may occur when the fittings fail.
Zurn® has acknowledged that it has seen an increased number of premature failures and leaks in its QPex fittings but denies that it is liable for those failures. This case is intended to determine who is responsible for the premature failures.
The problems associated with Zurn® Pex fittings cracking and leaking are so severe that one of Zurn’s own representatives calls the fittings a “ticking time bomb.” The following is an excerpt from a 2005 e-mail from that Zurn® representative:
“We are all sitting around watching a ticking time bomb, why do we wait for fittings to fail when we know there is an existing problem!”
Zurn® Stops Selling Brass Pex Fittings:
After selling approximately 200 million brass fittings for its Pex systems, Zurn® stopped selling brass fittings in May 2010. It will now sell only plastic fittings for Pex systems.
We believe Zurn’s withdrawal of the brass fittings from the market is strong evidence that the brass fittings are defective.
Because there are more than a dozen class actions filed against Zurn® in numerous states, the cases were transferred to a single federal judge for coordinated handling. The federal judge recently granted class action status to the first case presented for class certification.
The class action status means that the claims of all owners of Zurn® Pex systems that use brass fittings in the state of Minnesota will be decided in a single lawsuit. Class action status will be sought in the other cases.
For more information, go to http://www.zurnclassaction.com.