What's up with the PEX pipe?


  #1  
Old 01-23-06, 01:36 AM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tampa
Posts: 173
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
What's up with the PEX pipe?

What is going on in the industry? Now new homes are being plumbed entirely with PEX pipe. I'm not talking mobile or manufactured homes, I'm describing a new subdivision of $150-$300,000 Homes! Every single one is being plumbed with PEX. This is good for the plumbing contractor, as he only has to train a few flunkies and pay them 7 bucks an hour. Once the home is finished, he's got his money. What's the homeowner to do after that? Can he repair his own plumbing? Can he add plumbing fixtures? What if he wants to improve the quality of his water by adding a water softener? Can he go to his local Home Improvement Center for parts? The answer is NO. They stock parts related to the most common plumbing materials and when you say the word PEX, they look at the homeowner as if he is some poor derelict living in a trailer, not a $300,000 home.
 
  #2  
Old 01-23-06, 05:39 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 948
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
don't know where you're shopping, but we are a small two store company and we stock pex pipe, fittings, rings, and rent the crimpers. we also stock compression type fittings for pex that require no installation tools for plumbing threaded fittings, t's, 90's, valves, etc. if you live in a pex plumbed home you should have at least a couple feet of pipe and a pair of compression couplings for those sunday emergencies
 
  #3  
Old 01-23-06, 07:24 AM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
**Moderator note: Off topic comment removed.

Anyway, Qest fittings are pricey but readily available. I don't know what the problem is at any particular store. It could be inadequate training for the $6/hr guys.
 

Last edited by mattison; 01-26-06 at 03:38 AM.
  #4  
Old 01-23-06, 07:32 AM
S
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,635
Received 98 Votes on 86 Posts
Pex is still a little new, so I can see that maybe some stores don't stock much for it, but it's becoming ubiquitous, as captwally points out, so I don't think it will be long before every store stocks it.
 
  #5  
Old 01-23-06, 08:34 AM
majakdragon's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: N.E. Arkansas
Posts: 7,813
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Pex may be the "wave of the future" or the Poly of the past. It takes the "plumb" out of Plumber. It may be a good product but I don't like to see spaghetti hanging in the joists and thats what it reminds me of.
 
  #6  
Old 01-23-06, 09:05 AM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The "plumb" in "plumber" was lead.


Yes, installations in rigid material do look neater, e.g. electrical wires in conduit versus NM cable.

I think PEX is easier to splice and extend than copper and it is easier to fish than cpvc. So it could be a boon for DIY.


I'm not sure what might need to be repaired. Perhaps just pull in a new run to replace the damaged one.
 
  #7  
Old 01-24-06, 08:07 AM
5
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,039
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The box stores will probably soon come up to speed on these new materials.

There are a number of different PEX systems and manufacturers. Many use the crimp, and Wirsbo uses expansion tools. One product or the other tneds to dominate any particular geographic area. The advice given to purchase the appropriate tools and an assortment of fittings to make routine or emergency repairs in your home is sound. Be aware that if you decide to store some pex tubing, it cannot be exposed to daylight for longer than 30 days. UV is bad. So store in in a box or otherwise protected from daylight.
 
  #8  
Old 01-24-06, 10:55 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,268
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Sounds like the concensus is that PEX is a good thing and here to stay. I personally live in a relatively high end home and the entire place is plumbed in PEX. I had no firsthand knowledge of the materials or system when I moved in until I decided to add a game room/bathroom/wet bar in my basement. I found the necessary tools and materials online as I couldn't find a local distributor who would sell "retail". After running the new lines and additions, I'm a convert. PEX is a lot easier to install than copper - is easily hidden/contained in soffits and along joists. It costs a bit more than copper for materials/tools - but the time savings are incredible and leak potential "gone" - compared to DIY copper joints.
 
  #9  
Old 01-24-06, 10:38 PM
C
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tampa
Posts: 173
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Angry PEX, I'm still not convinced

So let me get this straight... One can't let this stuff sit out in the sun? Should we keep the fittings in the refrigerator, away from light and heat? Hey this is Florida. You can't escape light and heat! One big box store I visited to obtain fittings for this type of plumbing had fittings for small applications, but not 1" pipe. They thought I was some weirdo for asking about it.

And isn't this the pipe that prompted a tremendous lawsuit several years ago? I cornered the Plumbing Super on a jobsite to ask him why he didn't allow adequate room for me to install a water conditioning system. He said in a very rude manner, that he does not provide room for a water conditioning tie in because of "guys Like me".... What is that supossed to mean? I have to deal with plumbers' garbage work, and make it neat, something they do NOT do. The bottom line is that it is the homeowner for whom you are building the house that has the say, and if they do not like the quality of their water,the call me to fix it. I'm the one who has to deal with poor plumbing, crooked pipes and non existent provisions for a water treatment system, which everyone knows is inevitable. Sure, there may be unscrupulous "Guys Like Me" But I am not one of them.
 
  #10  
Old 01-25-06, 05:09 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 12,019
Received 67 Votes on 56 Posts
The earlier product that was failure-prone was PB, whole different animal; like comparing copper and galvanized.
 
  #11  
Old 01-25-06, 06:33 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 948
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
it's not like the stuff is made from vampire tissue. maNy products degrade in prolonged, direct sunlight. what were you trying to plumb with 1" ?
 

Last edited by flopshot; 01-25-06 at 06:48 AM.
  #12  
Old 01-25-06, 08:45 AM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by captwally
One can't let this stuff sit out in the sun?
Correct. It is much more sensitive than PE and pvc to ultraviolet light. Some manufacturers are working on improved performance in this regard. Demand will probably take us away from clear PEX for this reason.



Should we keep the fittings in the refrigerator, away from light and heat?
If you have room.



You can't escape light and heat!
Heat is no problem. If you have glass in your basement windows, that is fine.
Usually tubing is concealed.
If you have grow lamps or natural light, you need to provide protection, such as white paint. Yellow PE should also be protected from sun.



One big box store I visited to obtain fittings for this type of plumbing had fittings for small applications, but not 1" pipe. They thought I was some weirdo for asking about it.
I agree. What are you doing with 1" PEX?



And isn't this the pipe that prompted a tremendous lawsuit several years ago?
No.



I cornered the Plumbing Super on a jobsite to ask him why he didn't allow adequate room for me to install a water conditioning system. He said in a very rude manner, that he does not provide room for a water conditioning tie in because of "guys Like me".... What is that supposed to mean?
It means that you two had a personality conflict.



I have to deal with plumbers' garbage work, and make it neat, something they do NOT do. The bottom line is that it is the homeowner for whom you are building the house that has the say, and if they do not like the quality of their water,the call me to fix it. I'm the one who has to deal with poor plumbing, crooked pipes and non existent provisions for a water treatment system
You should bid by the hour. Exactly what provisions do you need?
 
  #13  
Old 01-25-06, 03:37 PM
steve_gro's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,092
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
misc observations

1) The ID of PEX pipe is less than that of copper. That is, 1/2" PEX has an ID of less than 1/2". No matter what the reasoning, this seems weird to me, like asking for change of a dollar and getting 95 cents.

2) PEX has the potential to fall victim to the 'bad batch of chemsí, much like Perfection Plastic & the dip-tubes of the mid-90s, and Centaur ABS before that. It is a rare occurrence, but what a mess when it does happen.

3) In places where the public water supplier provides water with a pH that causes pinholes (thus creating a demand for PEX), why, in today's litigatious society, aren't they getting their pants sued off, or are they?

4) I'm neither for or against PEX. I can't use it in my code jurisdiction, so I don't have any experience with it. Just posting some semi-random thoughts.
 
  #14  
Old 01-25-06, 05:24 PM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
smaller diameter is an advantage

Originally Posted by steve_gro
1) The ID of PEX pipe is less than that of copper. That is, 1/2" PEX has an ID of less than 1/2".
Let us keep in mind that copper has an I.D. greater than 1/2".

PEX is only about 1/2".


No matter what the reasoning, this seems weird to me, like asking for change of a dollar and getting 95 cents.
Actually, L copper gives you $1.09.


The reason is that PEX has the same outside diameter but a thicker wall than copper tubing of the same nominal size.


Most applications would be fine on 3/8" copper. Keep in mind that with PEX, plumbing is not usually done with tees.
A dedicated 1/2" line is run to each location. Roughly 10% less capacity is really no detriment; it's an advantage.

Smaller diameter means less wasted water waiting for the temperature to settle.



2) PEX has the potential to fall victim to the 'bad batch of chemsí
So do most materials. As you said, it is rare and getting rarer.




3) In places where the public water supplier provides water with a pH that causes pinholes (thus creating a demand for PEX), why, in today's litigatious society, aren't they getting their pants sued off
It's the government. You can't sue.
 
  #15  
Old 01-26-06, 12:58 AM
steve_gro's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,092
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
1) Just reamed & measured the ID of a random scrap of 1/2" type L; it was .54". I don't have any PEX around, but I believe that the ID of 1/2" PEX is less than 1/2" by greater than .04".

2) I've never heard of a bad batch of copper pipe or no-hub.


Originally Posted by bolide
Smaller diameter means less wasted water waiting for the temperature to settle.
3) This is good news for all the folks with 60 year old galvanized water piping.

4) Do a google for the following: lawsuit AND "water supplier".
 
  #16  
Old 01-26-06, 08:15 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 29
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Here is some more info from P.A.T.H. on the subject that might make for good reading on pros and cons:
http://www.toolbase.org/techinv/tech...chnologyID=104
 
  #17  
Old 01-26-06, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: KY/OH
Posts: 3,523
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
This topic always gets numerous views/opinions

I usually at this point come in and bash plastic for all it is.......and promote copper piping systems because I live in an area where the only time copper piping fails is due to a loose neutral or grounding issue on the water line system.

There are many pros and cons to any product used. I like the fact that there are 50+ year old copper water services serving homes without any problems or issues.

It is when someone with the notion that copper was "a thing of the past" and introduced the newer aged products, meaning plastic, this is when the shovel hit the dirt more and more and more.

Want proof?

SDR piping.......that thin black plastic piping that is $22 for 100 feet. Money misers love it, buy it, put it in without proper grillage and BINGO, thermal expansion/contraction stretches the piping in the ground and either snaps or pulls apart in the ground from improper workmanship by not "snaking" the ditch. I've never seen copper stretch and snap, ever.

BlueMax Piping >>>> Cheap, new wave, falls apart due to chlorinates in the water supply. Hrmmmmm...someone spent years in the lab under ALL enviormental changes to make sure this was a good product? Must not of. Large class action lawsuits followed, people cannot sell their home until this product is REMOVED FROM THE PROPERTY.

PB piping, Largest class action lawsuit in history. Did billions in damage to property, devalued homes, changes lives, raised insurance premiums forever.

Dip tube failures, still affecting people today. Just view this forum and any other on the internet and you'll find out that even though this happened years ago, there are still in homes without anyone being able to be compensated for their problems today. They should of made a longer time period for those affected, just think about how much liability the makers of that blunder got away from paying.


Pex already (certain types) has lawsuits against their product in hydronic heating systems in the United States. All of this is available on the internet for those affected. This product also suffers from workmanship issues due to the ease of installation by anyone with a cutter and a crimper....that's it. The same way CPVC falls victim to the same gammut.

THERE ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE PRODUCED PEX THAT ARE ALREADY OUT OF BUSINESS THAT REQUIRES THE USE OF OTHER CRIMPING RINGS FOR THEIR PRODUCT.

How is the average homeowner supposed to know this until after the fact and through repeated tries to fix their own plumbing.

What you choose to put in your home is your choice. Copper in some areas is the worst thing to install if no one wants to address the water issue. You either solve the problem or fix the symptoms. Most times when you hear of pinholing in copper piping......the homeowners jump the bandwagon and switch to plastic, not thinking that the faucets, appliances, and every item in that home that comes in contact with that aggressive water is not affected once the trunk lines are replaced. It is just not true. They still get ate up, deteriorate and some of those faucets have copper internal parts/supply feeds. If you are going the distance in removing everything in the home just because it is copper, do it right and remove it all. Brass can still be affected by this water as well. Clermont county in Ohio is notorious for hard water and it seems that nothing in the home is resistant to such poor water quality.

It will take an army of more than one to draw pressure against the water treatment facilities in your area........but they need to know that what they are sending out from the plant is causing property damage on a nickel and dime expense.

And to refer to a statement made about ID's of copper and Pex........there is a good reason Pex or CPVC is not recommended for the water lines from the tub spout and shower head on most pressure balanced shower assemblies........the ID of plastic piping is significantly smaller than the dimensions of copper, therefore it is known to cause problems if installed in this fashion. Most common occurrence is a newly installed shower, water coming out of the shower head and the tub spout at the same time with no way to correct it other than repipe the valve the way the mfg. specified to begin with.

I've been on this site for a few years and I've seen posts of this origin come and go in regards to the wrong piping used.

Plastic piping has its place in numerous applications. Hospitals have to use it otherwise contamination would run rampant with the use of metallic products. Plastic is best when used in a short life span. It is when plastic ages is when it becomes problematic, most relative to temperature variances over time, UV exposure, improperly installed product, stress points when installed.

As I stated once before somewhere on the www.. I will be prepared to work on this product, I'll be charging 3 figures an hour to deal with it, and I will be profiting off of this product in a great way when the failures start to surface. I look forward to the situations when homeowners don't understand how to deal with this product and install 20 compression and threaded connections in a wall and the system still leaks/pulls apart.

I'll also be the one who shows up charging when the brave DIY'r thinks they have avoided the charges of a plumber to fix their pex piping systems by going to a rental yard to rent a crimper, only to find out that the rental yard won't and doesn't care if the crimper fell out of calibration. Guess what? When those crimpers lose calibration they will not properly tighten the crimp rings to specs which in the end will be leaking or piping blowing apart when you least expect it.

Am I making all this up? You do the math. Follow the history of Plastic piping and decide for yourself. If you want what is cheap and easy and you want to ride the wave, go for it. But when the wave subsides and the tides are calm, be prepared to deal with this product once it loses its flexibility and softness like the way it was when you first installed it.


Mice are finding out this piping to be quite a treat as well. They chew on items to keep their teeth from growing and pex is soft enough to chew with the reward of a free water source. And I will not buy the excuse that I haven't heard of it in my area, that will not hold water on any spectrum of knowledge.

Those who come to this site gaining knowledge about piping materials and knowing the differences of each and every product with an open mind I applaud. But I think we all can agree that the MAJORITY of those who don't know about the products they are working on will encounter such problems as described above without them knowing why it is happening, and why they just cannot glue or sweat something together like they used to all those years before.

Someone mentioned above that they couldn't even buy the product they needed in their area. I will be first to say that the product of pex is probably fantastic in the beginning. I, like all service plumbers have to deal with the aging of every product installed in the plumbing profession and I'm sure we have background on what products fail quicker than others. I've had too many plastic parts in my hands heading to the supply house or to my truck to ever believe anything less than what history dictates on the matter at hand.

Being a part of many community forums is the same as being around the plumbing profession for years. Even though I do more than talk about it I involve myself in the profession of service plumbing every day and what you stand to learn is tremendous. If DIY, plumbing forums existed years ago when PB, BlueMax and the failing dip tubes like the activity they spawn today on the world wide web, that communication would of stretched farther and faster to control the spread of the defective products they presented. People in California would of known what was going on in Ohio, same as Ohio would of known what was going on in Florida. The internet is a powerful tool of knowledge these days and information trading is crucial on whether products succeed or fail with limited liability to the users of such product.



(oils and shines up crimper )
 

Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBER; 01-26-06 at 08:57 AM.
  #18  
Old 01-27-06, 10:50 PM
steve_gro's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,092
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
That was a great post, Dunbar. I'm going to bookmark it.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: