The benefits of plumbing manifolds are many. A plumbing manifold is a central control valve which has several ports for water lines, and is a new trend in indoor plumbing due to the variety of benefits that result in installation. The manifold is basically a control box, in which hot and cold water lines are connected and directed to a variety of destinations or fixtures. Individual outgoing lines are flexible plastic lines, and are routed to the needed fixtures and appliances throughout the structure.
Manifolds offer better control over the direction of the water supply, ease of repair in leaks, and optimal pressure throughout the building. Plumbing manifolds can be used in both residential and commercial applications, and offer a tremendous savings over traditional plumbing options. If a significant remodeling project such as a kitchen or bath remodel is in the future, you may want to consider integrating a manifold system, as it will provide much more flexibility to route water supplies. Or, you may just want an upgrade.
Manifolds can be made of plastic, copper or brass. Copper is the most popular as this material is long lasting and inexpensive. Plastic manifolds have to be IAPMO approved. Copper manifolds require gate valves be installed. The lines extending from the manifold to the respective fixture is made of flexible PEX line, and provides better insulation than copper piping.
The cost of the manifold varies from $30 to over $200, due to the variety and complexity that is offered. Overall installation is relatively simple, so many home or business owners can save a significant amount of money installing the system themselves. Over time, the manifold system will save money, as any replacement materials (with the exception of the manifold it's self) are inexpensive and easily attained. There is no welding involved with the individual lines, and money is saved on repairs over the years. Additionally, installation of the PEX line is more direct, with fewer bends, which decreases the distance the water has to travel and reduces heat loss. Too, the insulation provided to hot and cold water is inherent to the materials that the piping is made of, thus decreasing heating costs.
Installation of the manifold is a project that most do-it-yourself people can handle. There are specific parameters that must be followed in the installation, so follow directions carefully and ensure the building codes are consulted. Each line should be individually labeled for ease of shut off in the event a leak develops or repairs are needed. Installation of the individual lines is much easier than typical copper tubing, as they are flexible and no welding is involved as with traditional piping.
PEX piping is comparable to traditional copper tubing in terms of lifespan. It does not however have many of the issues in terms of freezing, leaking, or bursts that copper does as it expands and contracts more easily. PEX piping should not be exposed to direct sunlight, as it will break the material down the same way it does other rubber materials. The manifold it's self usually has a warranty, anywhere from 1 to 10 years.