Pex potable water systems

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Old 07-18-08, 11:45 PM
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Pex potable water systems

I have never used PEX. I am an old fashion copper guy. So I have some questions. Maybe there is a document or site that would be good for me to read.

I see potable tubing that is rated 160psi at about 77 deg and 100psi at 180 deg. I also see blue and red. Is one color different than the other?

How comfortable should I feel about installing PEX in a totally inaccessible area, like in a floor or wall? Is it any more or less likely to fail vs. copper?

How do you interface the flexible and unsupportive PEX to metal pipe such as where you connect a sink valve? to copper?

Are PEX sizes and copper sizes equivalent in capacity?

There are different types of crimpers and fittings - copper vs. stainless flanges etc. What is best? Especially in the case of a sealed/enclosed area that would never be opened for 50 years or more!

I had asked a prior question about a 60+ year old bath with iron pipe ad a failed brass fitting. I think I am going to have to rip out the bath and replace all the pipe. It will be a total rip out as I have to take the floor up. The house is 260 years old, plumbed in the early 1940's. The bath is built on a raised floor to accommodate the pipes.
 
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Old 07-19-08, 02:33 AM
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The only PEX I have worked with is the supply hose to my washing machine but I have read quite a bit about PEX.

From what I have read the Wirsbo pipe and tools are the best. You should always use the fittings and connection method specified by the pipe manufacturer. The red and blue pipe has the same characteristics as the white, it is mostly (only?) for instant recognition of cold (blue) and hot (red) piping.

The Wirsbo system is such that I think connections can be made in walls and other inaccessible places with confidence. I don't think it is more susceptible to failure than copper when either is installed in a proper manner.

I think they make fittings that are like a copper drop-ear elbow for securing the PEX to a threaded transition fitting and perhaps also a PEX to sweated copper fitting to allow copper stubouts to which you would install standard compression sink stops.

The nominal sizes of PEX, as I understand, are a bit smaller than copper so it may be a good idea to upsize one size for larger capacity on multi-branch supplies. On the other hand, PEX is often installed with "home runs" from a central manifold to each individual fixture and in such a case the standard sizes are probably just fine.

Again, use the same fittings and tools as the pipe manufacturer. I have never read anything bad about the Wirsbo system other than it is a bit more expensive. I'd rather spend a few dollars more for the tools and fittings than have problems down the road.
 
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Old 07-22-08, 08:08 AM
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I have used both Uponor/Wirsbo and Watts PEX.
I like them both and think they both work equally as well.
Installation of Uponor is a little harder I think and if you do not use the tool a specified, you will get leaks. I took over another plumbers job, and had lots of fun, NOT, repairing the leaks.

The tool for Uponor is about $275.00 and is good for multiple sixes. The only advantage of the Uponor is the fittings are a little larger ID so you will get full flow. The dis-advantages are, the tool is harder to operate in tight spots. You cannot turn the water on immediately after connection of a fitting, using the tool in the winter can be challenging because the pipe needs to be stretched. And you can only get the pipe and fittings from a plumbing supplier. Some don't even sell to the public.


Watts PEX on the other hand can be purchased at HD under the name Zurn. The piping and fittings are the same. The only difference is, I prefer the SS type cinch clamps and HD uses an older style ring. The two ring types use different types of tools. The SS type is much easier to work with. The tool is about $125.00. You can turn on the water immediately after a connection is made. If using the cinch clamps, get the new ratcheting tool and it is so easy. The pipe comes in red for hot, blue for cold, and also white.

Do not forget this description was for potable water only, If using pex for heat, you must have a pipe with an oxygen barrier in it.
 
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Old 07-22-08, 10:54 AM
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There is (or was) a class-action lawsuit against Zurn for failures with their PEX tubing and/or fittings. Maybe they have changed things but I know many professional plumbers have nothing good to say about Zurn PEX.
 
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Old 07-22-08, 11:27 AM
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Hi Furd,

I am not disagreeing with you, I am only stating my opinions and my use of these products. I have only used the zurn products on the weekend when I could not get the Watts Waterpex products. I also have only been using PEX products for about 2 years now.

This is the first I have heard of the problem with Zurn. Can you tell us more so everyone will know?
 

Last edited by plumbingods; 07-22-08 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 07-22-08, 12:48 PM
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Here's some interesting reading from a plumbing supplier. Don't know the company and not a plumbing guy...tho the scale says I am "plumping" guy.

Edit:
Well crapola...lets see if this works. Thx furd

http://www.plumbingsupply.com/pex.html
 

Last edited by Gunguy45; 07-22-08 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 07-22-08, 01:16 PM
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Gunguy, you forgot to add the link.

Here's some things about the class action lawsuit.

http://newsblaze.com/story/200708101.../topstory.html

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com...-plumbing.html

http://www.uslaw.com/lawsuits/Zurn+Pex+Inc.?itemid=380

http://www.zurnclassaction.com/

That should keep you reading for while. I haven't read any of these and perhaps the failures and problems were due to not following the manufacturer's instructions. I know I get nervous when I read of some product that is subject to a lawsuit.
 
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Old 07-23-08, 05:17 PM
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Wink

I highly recommend uponor wirsbo as it is a supperior pex product, it is classed a pex a which means it is crossed linked with the Engal method (85% crosslinked), giving it a thermal memory, and a shape memory, it can also make tighter bends than most all other pex.
Thermal memory if you kink it, you heat it up with a heat gun until it is clear than leave it sit with no pressure on it, and it will regain it's original form.
Shape memory meaning instead of crimping this pipe you expand it with the tool, and insert the fitting, (you do need wirsbo rings) the pipe than regains it's size and forms onto the fitting.
The wirsbo fitting compared to a crimpex fitting is a increase in inside diameter of approx. 38% quite a bit.
it's warranty is a 25 year limited warranty, on pipe and fittings and connection method. where as some pex products only have a 10 year warranty on the pipe only (scary yes).
There are metal pex bends that the pipe, weeves through, for your sinks and toilets it provides a pretty solid support.
I also recomend not using the homerun system as the cost is more, and is also a huge waste of water, because if you want hot water to a sink you have to run the whole line out then go to take a shower, well then you have to run that line all out before you get hot water again in the same bathroom.
I have used alot of copper, and alot of wirsbo, I like them both but wirsbo is faster and easier.
 
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Old 07-25-08, 01:12 AM
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Thanks for the link, Gunguy. I think I will stick to copper for the minor amount of plumbing I expect to do before I die.
 
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