Using Flex Lines In New Installation

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Old 12-14-13, 05:41 PM
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Using Flex Lines In New Installation

My husband and I like to install a new water softener using flexible lines if that is standard... we are not too confident with our soldering ability.

here is what I am thinking.

Before the softener would be a sediment filter. On the outlet side of the filter would be a flexible line which would connect to the inlet of the softener. The softener and the filter are next to each other.

The bypass valve in the softner would have 2 x 3" galvanized nipples. On the outlet side of the softener we though we would connect another flexible line which would connect to a 3/4" copper to the rest of the house using a compression fitting, sharkbite fitting or a male threaded adapter soldered if that is best....

Or should we be going about this totally different?
Is it not wise to be using flex line at all in this installation?

Any advice is appreciated.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 06:10 AM
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By "flexible" lines, you mean "PEX" sure. Good choice. You will need a crimper and PEX fittings, but totally doable. What size inlet and outlet does your softener have?
 
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Old 12-15-13, 06:17 AM
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The valve on the softner is 3/4" (inlet/outlet)... I was saying instead of using threaded male adapters which usually connect to the valve we would use 3" steel nipples there and connect braided stainless steel supply lines.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 06:26 AM
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I agree with Chandler, PEX is a good solution. Remember as you're laying it out, PEX is not all that flexible and needs a decent turn radius. (It's not like the braided hoses used under sinks).

You could use SharkBite connectors, but you'll probably find by the time you buy the 6 or so connectors you'll need, you might as well have bought a PEX crimper. Plus, you'll be able to use it for your future plumbing projects!

The only other suggestion I'd have is to try to stay away from galvanized nipples. Brass is much better as the galvanized will tend to corrode and/or clog over time. Granted, they will probably have a longer lifespan than your softener, but I'd spend a little extra and use brass nipples or a threaded PEX connector.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 06:44 AM
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Use the PEX threaded adapters and crimp directly to them. As Zorfdt said, Sharkbites make for good newbie connections, they are expensive.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 08:07 AM
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I will give PEX a look.

But is using stainless supply line between the water softener valve and the incoming and outgoing copper OK? Or should the supply lines (be it copper or pex) go into the valve?
 
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Old 12-15-13, 08:11 AM
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You won't find SS flex lines in 3/4" to handle your volume. Go with the proper sized 3/4" PEX.

The SS lines to which you refer are less than 1/2 the size you need.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 08:34 AM
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This is the supply line I was thinking. See below link. Very pricey. I figured I could get the same things (with or without the pushfit fitting on one end) at the hardware store.

Flexible Hose Kits, water softener valve connectors

If you take a look at the link, what are the white oring/sleeves in the nipples? So I cant just use standard brass nipple from the hardware store?
 
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Old 12-15-13, 11:14 AM
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hi mummy –

I’m not a plumber by a long shot (lol) but I’ve done some stuff including adding an Acid Neutralizer tank to my house (they look like a softener tank).

I was thinking about adding flex lines myself but went the other direction, copper pipe and brass nipples right up to the bypass valve on the AN tank, brass elbows, etc.

One thing I noticed about the pictures on that link you referenced is that the nipples do in fact look like brass, yet they say they are galvanized nipples? Maybe no biggy?

I guess you need one of the plumbers or other experts here to weigh in but I think that plastic sleeve in the nipple is so that so that the galvanized nipple will not corrode. I think those are called Dielectric nipples. So maybe if the nipples really are galvanized nipples (i.e., steel nipples) in that kit those plastic sleeves would make sense? But you could buy 3” brass nipples. All that brass stuff is not cheap (as I found out lol). But two 3” brass nipples wouldn’t be that much. I just used 2 lead free brass nipples connected to my stainless steel bypass valve and figured any corrosion from stainless to brass would take eons. Maybe I was wrong?

I think the way those hoses work is that one end of the nipple goes into your threaded bypass, the other end of the nipple is connected to the end of the hose with the nut on it, and then the other end of the hose with the plastic insert in it gets pushed onto the piping to your house. I believe that is correct.

So I don’t see why you would need a SharkBite fitting? Seems like one end of that hose does the same thing?

Maybe the experts will weigh in again.

Good luck!
 
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Old 12-15-13, 11:29 AM
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The ends of those tubes are basically sharkbite, push-on connectors. The nipples are galvanized, but are dilectric, in that they won't tend to corrode with dissimilar metals in the mix. I wouldn't kink the tubes drastically. Make gentle bends.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 02:44 PM
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So one side is standard threaded like you see on a washing machine and the other side is push in? I was at the big box store today and did not see any of those sharkbite flex lines. Figured it would be much cheaper than the link I posted which are almost as much as a service call to a plumber.

I did see a "pocket pex crimping tool" for 25 bucks at the store. You can use it with a pair of pliers.... is that a gimick tool?
 
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Old 12-16-13, 10:27 AM
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Generally, do you think its a bad idea to introduce PEX into my otherwise all copper plumbing system?

Softener and filter is on the way, I have to come up with a concrete plan now. I did NOT splurge for those flex hoses I linked too.
 
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Old 12-16-13, 10:48 AM
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Pocket PEX does not conjure up "happy". Full size pEX tool with 1/2 & 3/4" holes will run about $40. You need the leverage to crimp properly. What distances are you speaking of between units? PEX makes their own threaded fittings onto which you can crimp the tubing. PEX to copper is no problem. Fittings for that, too.
 
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Old 12-16-13, 12:00 PM
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Full size pEX tool with 1/2 & 3/4" holes will run about $40
Not what I am looking at. The "sharkbite" brand one is 60.... they go up from there. BTW plumber costs in the area of 120-150 for an hour. Thats the low side.

What distances are you speaking of between units?
They are right next to each other. I would need a total of 3 ft of material, and that is being liberal. Im not sure how flexible the pex is if I go that route but I like the idea of some wiggle room instead of being exact with pipe cuts. There are 3 - 45' angles I will have to deal with. Also the connection between the copper and pex.


There are two stop valves already in place that the current filter and softener is between.So its main in>shutoff>filter>softener>shutoff>rest of house. There is/will be a by-pass valve on softener. Should there be another bypass in this system to allow hardwater to pass into the rest of the house in case of emergency?
 

Last edited by mummy; 12-16-13 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 12-16-13, 08:57 PM
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Generally, do you think its a bad idea to introduce PEX into my otherwise all copper plumbing system?
I don't think it's an issue. Just make sure you're not breaking the electrical ground bonding path. Somewhere in your house the electrical panel is connected to the copper pipes via a heavy gauge wire, possibly near the water heater. You just don't want to break the connection between that and the rest of your house. A little copper between the softener and water tank and such is fine.

I'd also agree with Chandler about the pocket PEX tool. I've seen it and I'm sure it works... but you're more likely to mis-crimp with it. If you're never going to use the tool again, you can always eBay it when you're done... "Practically New!"

There is/will be a by-pass valve on softener. Should there be another bypass in this system to allow hardwater to pass into the rest of the house in case of emergency?
I personally don't think it's needed, but some people install one anyway. You may want to add a tee and cap it off before the softener for outdoor faucets. Many people don't like wasting softened water on outdoor watering (and it's supposedly not great for the plants). You don't have to make the connections now, but a tee may help in the future. (But then again with PEX, it's easy enough to cut and tee in.)

Sounds like you have it all planned out. My only other comment would be to buy two 90deg PEX fittings in case you can't make the bend radius. It sounds like you'll be fine, but it'll save you an extra trip to the store
 
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Old 12-17-13, 04:58 AM
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Couple other things I want to run past you:

SEDIMENT FILTER. I am replacing a comparable model with the following:
Pentek 3G 20 Inch Clear Whole House Water Filter Housing 150560

Do you think this is of good quality? I could not find one with "metal" threads. Also I did not buy one with a valve in the lid. Its just like my old one with a pressure relief and that is it. Its on the way so hopefully it was a good choice.


BYPASS VALVE CONNECTION.
If I were to connect PEX to the valve. Should I use nipples connected to valve and then the appropriate 3/4 female to 3/4 PEX fitting to the nipple or should I be connecting the appropriate male 3/4 to PEX fitting directly to the valve?

Or something completely different?

WATER PRESSURE:
Is the pex fittings or sharkbite fittings any more restrictive than sweated jointed? Since I am already comprimising pressure with having a filter in place.
 
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Old 12-17-13, 07:10 AM
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I am a believer in whole house sediment filtration. Since I installed mine almost 15 years ago I haven't had to clean sediment from a single faucet aerator like I used to do monthly. I am also a believer in installing a filter that will accept a filter catridge available at any big box store, Ace or True Value. Catch them on sale and buy a couple and change them roughly every 6 months. Here is just an example of the type I like. The replacement filter cartridges are easy to find and inexpensive.

Shop Whirlpool Opaque Whole-House Pre-Filtration Housing at Lowes.com
 
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Old 12-17-13, 10:01 AM
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If I were to connect PEX to the valve. Should I use nipples connected to valve and then the appropriate 3/4 female to 3/4 PEX fitting to the nipple or should I be connecting the appropriate male 3/4 to PEX fitting directly to the valve?
As long as there's room to crimp, you can connect diectly without a nipple. Use 3-4 wraps of teflon tape to ensure a good seal.

I agree with Joe's suggestion of a filter that's found in your nearby hardware store. I like the one Joe picked out, but I would just suggest a filter that has a clear tube so you can easily see the color of your filter and when it needs to be replaced.
 
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Old 12-17-13, 11:43 AM
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Still trying to figure out a plan of attack.

Heres a crude drawing of what I am doing. I just need to plumb the outlet side of the filter into the softener and then connect the outlet of the softener to the rest. There are shutoffs already in place.

The filter will be connected with a compression fitting on the inlet side. The outlet side could be another compression or pex connection into the softener.

The red mark in the drawing I just realized maybe I should put a compression union here. It would allow for servicing and I wouldnt have to solder a coupler here.

For 3/4" copper, what is the compression union that I need if I do that?

WHat do you think? I really value all of your opinions so please chime in....



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Old 12-17-13, 06:16 PM
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For 3/4" copper, what is the compression union that I need if I do that?

WHat do you think? I really value all of your opinions so please chime in....
I like copper plumbing, but am not fond of compression fittings, I'd sweat those fittings. I piped a valved bypass around my whole house filter in case I would ever have a problem with the filter unit. Think about this, the filter units are made of plastic. If something breaks, even the plastic filter cannister, your entire plumbing system will be 100% out of commision till you get a replacement filter housing piped in.
 
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Old 12-18-13, 07:07 AM
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I apologize, I realize my inquiries are bouncing around like a tennis ball....

You won't find SS flex lines in 3/4" to handle your volume. Go with the proper sized 3/4" PEX.
Im not saying this is the route I am taking, but doesnt water heater flex lines come in 3/4"?
 
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Old 12-18-13, 08:36 AM
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Yes, but it is questionable at best. I don't like them. I think you are fighting the logical solutions we have given you, in using PEX, not sure why.
 
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Old 12-19-13, 12:30 AM
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Unless the water conditions were detrimental to copper I would just run it all in copper. Soldering copper piping is not rocket science and is a skill that is easily learned. A proper copper job will ALWAYS look better, and usually perform better, than ANY flexible pipe job. The only reason to use flexible piping in such an installation is where local code mandates such due to seismic (earthquake) conditions.
 
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Old 12-19-13, 07:29 AM
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I think we are going to try to sweat the connection first. If we have trouble I have some pex on hand.

One question.

For the piping between the filter and the softner. Is it best to install the softener without the filter first and then cut in the filter. Or should I be connecting the filter first and then have to measure the connection (including an ell) between the outlet of the filter and the inlet of the softener?

Im thinking cutting it in is better?
 
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Old 12-19-13, 09:58 AM
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I would never 'cut' anything in unless it was necessary. It makes the connection so much more difficult.

I would dry-fit all the pieces together, then take them apart in chunks and assemble and solder them on the floor separately. Then connect the final pieces.

It becomes a bit of a puzzle since you don't want to solder anything too close to the filter or softener because they are both plastic fittings. So you may pre-assemble a few of the pieces, then leave one joint to solder in-place.

If it were me, I would definitely go the PEX route no questions asked.
 
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Old 12-19-13, 10:21 AM
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I figured it was easiest to put it together like there is no filter in the equation. Make my soldered connections. Then just remove the portion of the pipe for the filter like the installation instructions show for installing a new filter in pre-existing plumbing with 2 compression fittings.

So thats not standard to avoid having to solder around the plastic housing?
 
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Old 12-19-13, 04:44 PM
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Use copper unions where necessary to avoid soldering anything in place to the point of hindering eventual removal.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]23281[/ATTACH]

(Image courtesy of pex supply.com)
 
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Old 12-19-13, 05:35 PM
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If I use compression fittings at the inlet and outlet of the filter then I can easily remove it if I had to, is that correct?

Also I still dont see the reasoning that it would be harder to plumb the softner as if there was no filter and then cut out the section afterwards for the filter... please advise, job starts in the morning.
 
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Old 12-19-13, 06:30 PM
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I personally don't like common compression fittings, I have far more leaks with them than with soldered fittings, including the unions I pictured. Now if you were to use Swagelok stainless steel compression fittings...at a cost of probably $30 each (or probably more) I would say go for it.

Piping it up first and then cutting out a section for the filter is a lot of work and depending on how close everything fits it could be a real problem getting the piping to "spring" enough to allow it to fit into the socket ends of the soldered fittings. You could cut out a section longer than necessary and then use a repair coupling (one without an internal stop) to make the last connection but would mean two more soldered joints.
 
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Old 12-19-13, 06:47 PM
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Thanks Furd. I wont try to cut it in then, I will rough it all in first. I will disconnect the fittings to the filter and then solder the closest elbows to the filter and/or try my best to solder what I can on the floor.
 
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Old 03-12-14, 04:51 PM
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It's fairly common to install water softeners at the exterior, so it should be pointed out that PEX must be protected from UV exposure (sunlight).
 
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Old 03-13-14, 04:08 AM
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Fivethumbs, maybe in sunny California, but not in Delaware. Too cold of winters. Yes, pex must be protected from UV.
 
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