Pex vs copper...yet again

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Old 05-13-14, 09:40 AM
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Pex vs copper...yet again

Pex vs copper...yet again

Before anyone gets made I have scrolling around and read others posts on the matter, did the google search thing and searching on here, so I have done my reading.
First of all I am in the skilled trades (electrical), I am neither plumber nor carpenter but I do try to fix my own home and make improvements where I can. My new project is to put in a small basement apartment. All the rough in are there for the toilet and drains so I don’t have to cut up the floor, but I am getting mixed reports from family and friends (and the internet) about using pex. The house was built in 2001 and is done in copper. I really don’t have an issue working with copper, other than the cost of running it, but I can see the advantage of using pex, to a point. Like I pointed out the house was built in 2001 and I can see already that some of the copper(all type M) has seen better days. The line going to the toilet (upstairs & main floor) have white stuff on them and some the copper lines have a blue/green stuff on the joints, but nothing shows signs of being wet. I changed out the kitchen sink taps and replaced some of the copper (I replace with type L) lines there, not a big section, also tried using the shark bit fitting for shut off on the kitchen sink and dishwasher but I also doubled up on them and soldered on some shutoff, but so far no problems with the shark bit (I don’t think I would use them behind walls) When it comes to the basement my father in-law keeps telling me to just keep using copper, his reasoning is that the rest of the house is copper so just keep it all the same. My friend just did a house for the first time using pex and he is not 100% sold on it, and he was telling me that it is a pain in the butt to do a nice job, and by the time you get all the fittings and buy the tools your cost savings are minimal. All the stuff I read online seems to point me to use pex Even when I think, ok I’m going with pex, I get into reading all the stuff about crimping rings or cinching: Uponor Class Action Informational Website &
1 yr old home-PEX Nightmare
This seems to be a never ending debate….. I can’t afford to screw it up and don’t want problems down the road… I would like to get out and talk to some pro-plumbers but haven’t yet had the time to, so what’s the really low-down… tie pex into existing copper for the basement and have ˝ the house pex and ˝ the house copper? Do the basement in pex and start replacing the copper to pex when needed. Really I am not sure how to handle this.
 
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Old 05-13-14, 10:48 AM
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and I can see already that some of the copper(all type M) has seen better days.
Builder was cheap I guess. Should have been L copper..

The line going to the toilet (upstairs & main floor) have white stuff on them and some the copper lines have a blue/green stuff on the joints, but nothing shows signs of being wet.

Contractor probably could care less and did not wipe the joints after sweating...


and he was telling me that it is a pain in the butt to do a nice job, and by the time you get all the fittings and buy the tools your cost savings are minimal.
I highly doubt the savings were minimal. Your friends opinion is just that...One opinion... And a definition of a neat job is different for everyone.

I think, ok I’m going with pex, I get into reading all the stuff about crimping rings or cinching: Uponor Class Action Informational Website &
1 yr old home-PEX Nightmare
OK.. They dont make those fittings anymore. Like any new product sometimes things happen. At least the company owned up to it..

Like a new car things go wrong... Ummm Toyota gas petals sticking!!!

As far as that second link...again one opinion. I can find many that speak of quality and benefits of using pex.

Although it is my opinion to use crimp rings only and not the cinch rings...

so what’s the really low-down… tie pex into existing copper for the basement and have ˝ the house pex and ˝ the house copper?
Sure... why not? I added a bath to the second floor. I ran 3/4 pex risers from the crawl to the 2nd floor bath. And pexed it all right to the fixtures.

Really I am not sure how to handle this.
Its your home.. Do what makes you feel comfortable. As a plumber for 30 yrs I would use nothing else but pex..
 
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Old 05-13-14, 10:51 AM
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One thing, and I'll be corrected if I'm wrong...

I think you may need/want to upsize your PEX. IIRC, the inside diameter of PEX is smaller than copper of equivalent OD?
 
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Old 05-13-14, 10:58 AM
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I have rental houses and whenever there is any plumbing work to be done I convert what's convenient over to PEX. Many houses have a mix of galvanized steel, copper and then PEX when I've updated an area. But, eventually I get them totally converted to PEX. It just holds up so much better. I have never had any problem caused by a mixture of piping materials.

There are some areas in my county where the well water is highly corrosive to copper. Over time the copper is just dissolved away until the pipes are paper thin. Sometimes they're so bad that tubing cutters crush the pipe instead of cutting it. Before PEX there was Quest which used copper fittings. Even those would corrode through and fail in 8-10 years but the PEX brass fittings have held up so well that when re-doing an area I'll salvage and reuse the old fittings.

I will use Shark/Gator Bite push on fittings to make the transition from galvanized or copper to PEX but everywhere else will use the crimped rings. They have proven to be extremely reliable joints and are significantly less expensive than the push on fittings.

---
As for the article you linked it sounds like a poor quality installation. They mention poor quality installation details but never mention what failures they are having so from that standpoint is sounds like an Internet sensationalist story. I'm not discounting the class action suit but that story sounds more like a rant. I must admit that when I forget to crimp a PEX joint it will drip when I turn on the water to test. I've never had a crimped joint leak.
 
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Old 05-13-14, 12:30 PM
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Thanks for the replys everyone...

lawrosa: Like a new car things go wrong... Ummm Toyota gas petals sticking!!!
That is a good way to look at it.
I understand that, but why ask for problems... 'stuff' happens but I don't want my house to flood because I didn't do the research, to which I am doing now.

So can you go this far and say: The pex products that are on the market today are all "tried, tested, and true"

crimped joints sound better then cinching.
 
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Old 05-13-14, 05:10 PM
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I consider the modern PEX and crimped connections "debugged" and have proven to be extremely reliable. It's flexibility makes it a natural for retrofitting and it's ability to make smooth, sweeping turns without fittings helps negate the restricting affect of the fittings.

There are a few differences that should be noted. Most tubing is not UV resistant so it should only be used in areas protected from sunlight. The tubing is flexible so it needs to be attached more thoroughly than copper. While being left loose inside walls does not hurt the tubing but it can cause it to clunk from water hammer if a fixture is quickly closed. Other than that, it is plastic so it can not be allowed to lay against or across sharp metal like truss plates, hurricane straps or nails.
 
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Old 05-13-14, 07:13 PM
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In California the 70s and older homes with copper in the slab get repiped in pex after they fail . There is class 1 and 2 or a or b Pex always use the best . Like others post its de-bugged now .
 
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Old 05-14-14, 03:29 AM
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Pilot Dane: The tubing is flexible so it needs to be attached more thoroughly than copper. While being left loose inside walls does not hurt the tubing but it can cause it to clunk from water hammer if a fixture is quickly closed. Other than that, it is plastic so it can not be allowed to lay against or across sharp metal like truss plates, hurricane straps or nails.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/pl...#ixzz31gQMEWjE
So if I wanted to change a run of copper going for the basement to the upstairs bathroom (assuming a straight run) I should be ok to attach the pex to the copper and use the copper to pull in the pex?? I would just add a air water hammer arrestor to the line some where, and hope I don't run into any nails. I guess I would still be breaking up the wall somewhere to unattach the old copper

lawrosa: Contractor probably could care less and did not wipe the joints after sweating...

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/pl...#ixzz31gSUxlb5
Careless plumbers from a electrical point of view I know are work is hidden behind walls and people generally don't ask nor care about the mechanics of a house when looking to buy but really whenever I do a job even hidden I try to do the cleanest job can...even throu I don't live there, to bad everyone doesn't have the same additud.
So could I take an SOS pad and try cleaning the white and blue/green stuff from the joints or is it best to leave it. I tried to clean it with just a wet rag but no luck??
 
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