Gimme PEX education

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Randyj, Dec 14, 2006.

  1. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Alabama
    So far I have not run into pex but have seen it installed. I know that sooner than later I'll be called to install or repair something with PEX. I really need to know ALL about the tools required... what I need to buy to be set up for working with pex and installing it. In the house I'm building I plan to use LOTS of PEX... so that will be a very good education for me. You guys know of a site with an online manual or really good educational materials? I just need some really go info. From what I've read it seems that some think you have to have different tools for every different manufacturer...from what I see these tools ain't cheap ... that can be good for plumbers...keeps the DIY's out of the business .... but also, it appears that with PEX there is much less reason to call a plumber for repairs.
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    There is lots to read on it.

    Just do a word search and start reading?

    The tools are a little pricy but you only buy them once.
  3. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    Yep.. thought of that...not much time today to weed thru it. Someone has a book for sale on that internet auction site. With shipping it seemed pricey for what should be available on the internet and probably free in several pamphlets from Wirsbo... figured someone would have a link to it...design considerations and informational materials.
  4. I was afraid of Wirsbo

    Probably the best you can get is the Wirsbo with the

    plastic rings that squeeze down on the pipe...

    That is the best to get ,

    Now the crimping rings..type Wirsbo scares
    me and reminds me of the old Poly -buteline and I wont use it....


    read that other post I just made.....

    it is very easy to work with. ...and it certainly dont freeze.....

    it saved me a lot of greif that I just repaired yesterday


    just go get the expansion tool kit for 1/2 + 3/4 and then fool around with

    about 15 dollars worth of fittings ......

    as long as you just cut the pipe square, and then put that outer ring
    on the inner with just a slight overlap it never fails.....



    Actually you can get the battery operated wirsbo tool for about 475
    from my supply house right now ...it saves on the fore-arms
    when fighting with the 3/4 and one inch size.

    I was afarid of it at first ....

    but then I realized that if an Aprentice plumber
    (basically a moron) can do it all day long

    it cant be that hard .....
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2006
  5. lauramoomaw

    lauramoomaw New Member

    Messages:
    2
    pex question

    Hi guys. well, i hope it's as easy as you all say. I am remodeling my kitchen and ALL the plumber and I do mean ALL are at least two months out. so, to my question: house built 1947. downstairs all copper (late remodel) before we bought it. upstairs galvanized. When I tear out the plaster i am replacing with pex. What do I need? Thanks.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Go to a local supply house. They will probably specialize in one brand of PEX and will have the tools and fittings to go with that brand.

    You do need to think about sizing, because PEX is CTS ( OD) but thicker wall, so the ID is much smaller than copper.
  7. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    That expansion tool is what made me so grumpy in the first place!

    I couldn't imagine using it in a tight spot to fix a leak...there are new alternatives (Cass'll like this...) called "Sharkbite", that slip right over the PEX and VOILA!
    BUT...Like Mark just said...these fittings are new...I think of the whole controversy and headache that occured with PB years ago...I'm a wimp, I'll wait and watch what happens...at least for now
  8. mrmedic

    mrmedic Junior Member

    Messages:
    57
    Location:
    Delaware
  9. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    The one thing I don’t like about PEX is all the different brands need there own tools. The one thing I like is big blue sells one kind and big orange sells the other. All of the supply houses will only sell one of the 2 types where we live.

    For boiler systems there are only 2 types that get used.

    So everyone has to carry 4 different types of tools and the stuff to fix them.

    I do as little PEX as possible and will turn down or my bids are way to high so I don’t get the big jobs. For me I charge about the same for copper and non copper work (fro fresh water systems). If it’s non copper my labor is higher.

    The only PEX that I have in my house is the feeds off of my out side wood boiler and my back up propane boiler.

    I do wish that the counties would get together and say you can only use this brand for your water and this kind for your heating systems. I do think it would help bring down the cost because you could buy more in bulk and needs less tools.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    A few questions and observations. Did ya know that PEX has less friction loss than copper? And when its run homerun with no branches that that's why you can run one smaller ID than when using copper?

    How about the word on the street about the guy giving people unGodly high bids so he doesn't get the job instead of simply saying "sorry, I don't do X"? How about the guy turning down certain jobs? How about the guy charging more for labor putting in a Pex homerun/manifold system that is much easier to install than branch'n tee copper which takes much longer?

    IIRC, you said you're in NM, the water quality there, have you ever looked into its effect on copper compared to plastics? How about the negative effects on water quality that copper can cause?

    Tools are tax deductible, so buy all you need for whatever PEX and deduct them off your gross, and increase you income.
  11. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    Thank you Rugged. We needed that.

    What’s your response Gary?

    I know that I’m starting stuff but I do want to know what you will come up with.

    I have seen many studies on where plastic lets bacteria grow in its pores if it’s not made at the right temp. The temp the plastic will hold bacteria will grow into the pores is within speaks for a good batch PVC or PEX. Yes I know that there made different.

    I don’t like the manifold setup because if you need to add on then you’re off to snake a new feed. With copper if the installer will think for a few seconds before he installs the piping than adding on is a snap.

    How about having to stand there to let you have hot water at the sink when you just took a shower? That bugs the crap out of me.

    But then anion Gary do you mostly work on high end houses that have all the bells? Most of the work I do have hot water recirculation systems. Would you pleas show me a diagram for doing this in PEX and show me how it is more cost less than copper. And before you ask yes I have done it 3 times now.
  12. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    I've done alot more than that, some AquaPEX but mostly heat with Wirsbo, and thats all I'll use it for.
    It's too nerve-wracking in tight spaces, kinks if you don't have the space to 90 at a very broad sweep so you wind up using fittings where you estimated you wouldn't, the fittings are more expensive...the overall cost (to me) doesn't validate using it for potable. Not up to being a guinea pig here...but time will tell.
  13. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277



    I think you missed something in the quote you did on my that needs to be there.
  14. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    I think by saying "hot water recirculation system" you meant heat?...as in boilers?
    A hot water recirc. is for hot water heaters that exceed 100 feet from furthest fixture...lets chalk that up to miscommunication.
    I was agreeing with you. I think.
  15. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    It’s cool but I was making a point. And it did have a bit of a question in it to. Miscommunication will happen all of the time so it doesn’t matter.

    Have you ever had to install a recirculation system in a PEX home run system? And if so how is it cheaper to install then with copper.

    I have worked on a lot of houses with the utility room on the far side of the house then where the bath rooms and the kitchen are located. The house I was working on last night had 80 foot pipe run to the first T off for one of the bath rooms. I don’t know why a lot of houses are set up like this but I see it all the time.
  16. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    I've used it extensively for heat at 180 degree's, so if you're already using it for hot potable at 130, why not on a recirc?
    One thing I'd consider in my area though, I know PB is still legal, but you cannot use it on a recirc..have yet to research that one on PEX.
    ESPECIALLY for long runs, it's more cost effective.
    PEX is definitely not what I'd use in tight spots with alot of offsets or tee's,
    I'm just too worried about those fittings being concealed.
  17. got_nailed

    got_nailed DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    277
    I think PEX looks like hell when it’s in stalled and then try looking at it after you do a recirculation system on a home run system. You end up with a bunch of T’s, a bunch of 90*’s, extra manifold (some of the time I end up with valves to control the flow on some of the runs), check valves on each home run return, and a pump 24/7 or a timer system.

    With copper you just have to double back with a 1/2 off the main run and use a check valve. If it’s 2 stories then you have a second 1/2 run and a second check valve. I insolate all of my hot and cold water lines when I run copper.

    If you can show the math on how a home run PEX system is cheaper then copper on a recirculation system then I would love to see your math. Why not do the math on a single story 2.5 bath and kitchen. Open basement with the hot water heater on far side of the bathrooms.

    I don’t know about where your at but where I’m you can’t get away with not using 90*’s. The inspectors will not pass a PEX install unless all of the runs are more or less in straight runs. PEX must be supported every 20 inches.
  18. GrumpyPlumber

    GrumpyPlumber Licensed Grump

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    I have done AquaPEX for other shops, but have yet to run it for my own inspections. I don't use PEX on anything but heat.
    I don't like it's appearance either, there's a statement in our code that actually calls for uniform appearance and PEX is hard to keep straight without clipping every 12 inches. (it curles naturally from being stored in rolls)
    As far as using it for baseboard, it's low pressure and the fittings are exposed, so if a leak were to happen down the road at least it's accessible.
    I don't propose to be perfect, or closed minded..in a year I could be saying the opposite, but for now I think I'll wait.
  19. lauramoomaw

    lauramoomaw New Member

    Messages:
    2
    okay home depot?

    So, do you think home depot carries an adequate brand. I have read several postings that are pro wirsbo. home depot does not carry that. at least where I live. I was thinking of ordering online and the guys at my home depot are not very smart. It is a relatively new home depot and I don't think the plumbing dept. is very experienced.
  20. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    What'd he say!! Where is what he said! I love to hear him rant and now I've missed it...
    He LOVES the money he makes on copper and he's scared to death of having a leak etc.. Didchya read where he busted a tub the other day and hid the damage while the lady stood there and saw the rock, or rocks, there were two of 'em, fall off the ceiling panel?
    I recently read those studies and then more showing copper allowed more bacteria growth than plastic when the test was run for a bit longer than it was for that original study.
    So if you need to feed a new fixture in the future, use the branch method instead of a difficult snaking. If the place is being added to as in a new addition, feed the new area with a new feed line to another manifold with homeruns.
    The same happens with copper AND, copper allows heat loss much faster than any plastic... Or run your domestic hot water recirculation with PEX.
    "anion"? The only anion I know is in water treatment as in anion resins; they attract negative charged ions like sulfates, chlorides, Nitrate etc.. Softener resins are cation.

    I'm not a plumber but anyone should be able to run a piece of PEX from a tub/shower/sink back to the water heater. Hell sparkies run Romex to/from 'em all the time; even gas and oil heaters, boilers etc.. I've done a lot of water treatment plumbing on potable water lines and well water systems and... I sell equipment all over the US into all types of houses, mostly new and nearly new and some are very large. My record is 5.5 bathrooms and some of them with large two person with 6 body spray showers. More and more have PEX for potable water lines and hydronic heat systems.

    More and more people with branch and tee PEX, don't like it, and get upset when they find out after the fact, that it takes so much less time and fittings but they were charged as you charge for it. They usually know of the plumber or who it was and they won't be calling him for a long time into the distant future. I'm just the messenger here ya know... I get into the type of plumbing to help my customer do his DIY install of the equipment. To me, without getting into the water quality issues of copper, if you're running branch'n tee, I say stay with copper. But, expect to constantly lose business.

    Now as to my guess of what my good buddy DUNBAR PLUMBER, aka RUGGED, may have said.... He should be told that all industries change in time. Plumbing is changing like we gave up horses for cars, even when there wasn't so much as one mile of road like in the whole country! And going faster than 10 mph would kill us because it would suck the air out of our lungs! Wodd and then lead pipe and such was replaced by galvanized and then that was replaced by copper. Plastic is replacing copper. My excavator SIL told me on Sat that a plumber that he does excavation for said his price for a 100' roll of K copper was $497. I said why not a 500' roll of 1" 160 or 200 psi rated PE pipe for like $140 (it's been awhile so maybe I'm low on that $100 or so). He would sell a lot more water line replacements IF he'd offer/sell PE instead of only quoting copper. And he'd reduce his costs and the customers' costs and still have enough to do 3-4 more 100' jobs with... word on the street gets around very fast, and bad word of mouth gets going and travels faster than any good words.
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