Aquapex expansion question (Wirsbo)

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by IaHawk, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Hi all. Quick question. I'm having some plumbing work done in my basement and the guys that I hired typically work with PEX?? as opposed to the Wirsbo Aquapex that is in the rest of my house. They are matching what I have and they are using the expansion tool. They made a bunch of connections in the bath and put some couplings in off the main lines--no problems. However, when the put the connections on for the bar area and then turned the water back on, they have leaks. They were perplexed and very apologetic and kept working on it, but it still leaks a little bit. They are coming back tomorrow to fix it. They were going to check if their PEX stuff with crimps would work with the Wirsbo Aquapex.

    My preference is that they stay with the expansion tool and get that done right. I tried to do a bit of research on this stuff and it looks like for the size pipe I have they should be doing 4 expansions and then sticking it on? I have two questions really. Since none of the other joints leak, am I crazy in thinking that it takes a little bit of time for the pipe to "come back" to its normal size and seat on the fitting? Like I said, the first joints they did (and left to seat for awhile while they worked on other areas) are fine.

    Last question would be if the answer to my first question is "no, you can turn the water on right away." then what else might be causing these two separate connection to be leaking?

    Thanks for any insight you might have
  2. Aquapex is easy

    the only thing that they can be doing wrong

    are they trying to re-use the brass fittings???

    I have had troubles with the brass stuff and I prefer
    the black plastic fittings over the brass.....


    If they are doing 1/2 inch that is pretty easy......

    tell them to cut it back a ways and put in a coupling and start over with new stuff
    dont try to re-use that beat up fitting or scarred up end pipe or you will not win......


    another good tip.....it is really wise to get very hot
    hair dryer or dryer that is used for FIBERGLASS WORK
    and after the joints are made simply HEAT
    them up...for about 30 seconds or so........

    I recently did a whole building and could see my breath
    in the basement.....we had to heat the place with a slalmander
    and I had to use a hot hair dryer on every joint

    just to make sure that they shrunk back down quickly
    the hair dryer worked great....


    The only leak I had on the whole system was an
    end cap that I put on going to a sink ......
    the only reason it leaked was I thought it would
    be ok and did not heat it up with the hair dryer,,,. took a short cut....


    they will win eventualy...
  3. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Master Plumber Mark,

    Thanks for the reply. The area where they are having problems is where they are trying to attach the wirsbo tubing to an existing manifold. The manifold was put in when the house was originally built. There were a couple of extra spots that were capped off. They are expanding the Wirsbo and then putting it on the manifold. After doing this, they were immediately turning the water on because these were the last connections they were making. The basement is heated and I would estimate the temp is high 60's in the area where they are working.

    Do you still think its a temp issue? Is there any issue on the timing of turning the water back on? None of their other connections are leaking, but these two are for some reason.

    Thanks again for the reply.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,156
    Location:
    New England
    If it has been sitting for a few hours, turn the water back on and see if it leaks. It takes it longer to return to original size the colder it is.
  5. scarring up that brass nipple

    I would guess that your problem has been resolved
    already,...

    They had to take something off the manifold
    to be able to install the new ine.....

    if they somehow scarred or scraped or nicked up that
    brass fitting , like useing a serrated pocket knife to cut off the
    old band and pipe that was on there........
    it can be hell to pay.

    you might have to use sand-cloth on any knicks in the brass cause\
    you certainly cant change the stub out from the manifold.

    the brass nipples have given me greif before
  6. construct30

    construct30 New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    NorthWest PA
    Can you just cut the expansion sleeve off and heat to get the old off a manifold or how should you do it. Crimp style comes right off after you cut the crimp off, I always assumed wirsbo was the same, I never took one of those off.
  7. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    UPDATE with pics

    Ok. They had another guy they work with sometimes come over. He couldn't figure it out either. He ultimately concluded, by looking, that they had nicked the brass nipples when cutting off the capped pieces. This guy went and got new manifolds--no charge to me. They reconnected all the existing and new lines and turned the water back on. No leaks. That's the good news.

    Here's the bad...maybe. I was looking at the connections they made, and some of them don't look so great. When I researched the Wirsbo website, they basically said the connections have to be snug up against the rim of the fitting. Some of them are, but on a couple, there are some gaps. On one run there are two couplings where one should have sufficed. I suspect it is because when the other guy got the new manifolds, he got an extra slot so the line they were going to "T" off of is now connected directly. Still, just one more unecessary joint IMO.

    In some cases, it looks like the pipe wasn't cut perfectly square. Like I said, no leaks as of now, but are some of these connections begging for trouble? If so, how do you get someone to fix something that isn't leaking? They claim if it's not leaking now, it won't barring some equipment failure. These guys have been good to work with so far, but am I making a big deal out of nothing re: these connections? Thanks. Your technical answers will help if I need them to come back.

    Attached Files:

  8. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    By the way. Thanks to Master Plumber Mark. So far, you've been spot on in your assessment on the problem I've been having. Thanks.
  9. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I don't like that last connection on the right side of the manifold! the tube needs to be on there with less stress. They probably cut it too short or the talon clamp needs moving.
  10. BAPlumber

    BAPlumber Plumber

    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Vashon, Washington
    the only fitting on the manifold that I would accept would be the one on the far left. The collar should extend over the end of the tube, not slid back. All the other connections show the collar slid back. If these "installers" had taken Wirsbo's classes they would probably know how to properly use the product. When expanding, the ring should not slide back, if it does, it should be re-done. Usually the ring slides because of water or some other substance on the tube.
  11. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    So it seems the consensus is that I need to have these connections re-done. Obviously I'll have to have someone else do it. I know talking specific prices is taboo, but any idea on the amount of time and general range of cost for redoing these? Thanks.
  12. they dont know what they are doing

    that looks pretty crappy....they have not used the stuff before..........


    it would probably be best to just to re-do it all.....

    becareful not to scar up the mainfolds if you are goun to re-use them


    the idea is to keep it clean and cut it square...... ane the outer ring should overlap the
    inner ring by just a "blonde hair" if you know what I mean.....

    they have done those ass backwards and I am surprised
    that more are not leaking....

    these are the best pics I got of some past stuff this winter with the hair dryer
    in a nasty cellar.....,,,,,

    click on the first pic....
    you should be able to see in this first pic on some half inch elbows the
    outer ring is over lapping the innner pipe that " special blonde hair"
    and that makes all the difference.... please ignore the rest of this hell hole.....



    [​IMG] [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  13. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Thanks to all. I called Wirsbo and asked for a list of "certified" Wirsbo installers in my area. They gave me a list and I called one of the local companies. They are having a guy who has used the stuff before come back out and redo the fittings. The guy on the phone estimated 1.5 to 2 hours to reconnect the fittings.

    So, I guess now the only question is how to I get the guys who did the original work to compensate for the extra charge I'm going to have. I figure I have a couple of options at this point.

    First, I could ask them to adjust the job quote for the cost to get these connections done properly and have them finish the job. From here on out everything is a copper connection and they shouldn't have too many problems.

    Second, I could ask them to bill me for the materials so far which includes the wirsbo tubing, fittings, bar drain, install of a sterling shower unit, and shower valve. I could then contract with someone else to finish the job.

    What do you guys think? Obviously I just want the job done right. When they told me they don't usually work with Wirsbo but PEX instead, they didn't tell me that they never work with Wirsbo. I don't think I should have to pay for being the guinea pig.

    Any suggestions for resolving the situation? Thanks.
  14. BAPlumber

    BAPlumber Plumber

    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Vashon, Washington
    I've made mistakes in my life and career. The worst thing is not being given the opportunity to correct them.

    If I there was a problem on a job and the customer had someone else fix it without giving me the chance? Fine, but I'll assume no responsibility for costs of fixing it. I need to take care of my own problems. If I need to learn something new, Great.

    I also wouldn't have gotten into a job I wasn't prepared for.
  15. IaHawk

    IaHawk New Member

    Messages:
    27
    I agree....nobody is perfect. However, if they were uncomfortable with this product, they should not have bid on the work. I'd be more than glad to have them fix it, but it's clear they don't know what they are doing, or they wouldn't have called in the other guy. It's also clear the guy they brought in to fix it didn't know what he was doing. In fact, it was his connections that are the worst.

    I'm definitely going to call them in the morning to see what they want to do before the other guy comes out, but I'm not going to be the guinea pig for their Wirsbo experiment. Well, I guess I kind of already have been. If they are worth their salt, they'll take care of the problem one way or the other.
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