Pex Plumbing Questions

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by ando1048576, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. ando1048576

    ando1048576 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I've been reading information on the various Pex systems on these forums and in other places, but have some lingering questions.

    It seems like over time wear and tear on an expansion tool would be more forgiving for a quality of PEX connection than a crimp-type tool would. It also seems natural that an expansion-type system offers a more reliable seal than a crimp-type system. Is this what people have found? Or is a crimp-type system available at Lowe's/Home Depot fairly reliable?

    How do you typically stub out PEX supply lines? Use a drop-ear elbow connection, or use a chrome sleeve some-how (not sure how this one works)?

    I plan on running a single 1/2" supply line to my bathroom, which I don't think will be a problem because there shouldn't be multiple fixtures on at one time for extended periods of time, and I have high water pressure where I live. It will tee into a shower, toilet, and sink. Any objections to this? (The current plumbing was 1/2" copper tee'd to all 3 fixtures with no pressure problems) I don't plan on replumbing my whole house, so haven't been looking at manifold solutions much (the main plumbing was redone about 3 years ago in 3/4" copper).

    Does it make any difference if you use the metal or plastic corner supports for Pex?

    If these have been answered before, please point me to the proper thread. I've been looking around and just haven't found these answers yet.

    Thanks.

    Andy
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The outside diameter of PEX is controlled, but the inside is smaller than the equivalent sized copper pipe. You might want to run a 3/4" pex line to the bathroom. They do make copper transitions to connect to valves, or depending on the type, you can use a compression one with the appropriate internal sleeve that prevents it from collapsing when you tighten the compression nut. The elimination of most of the elbows, etc., can reduce the friction, but you are starting with a smaller pipe in the first place if you go with 1/2".

    I think that the crimp rings require more time to install; partly because you should use the go-no/go tool to verify each one. Plus, sometimes, getting the crimp tool in can be a problem. But, if that was the case, you probably would have a similar problem with the expander. Maybe not, though, since the expander goes in the end of the pipe while the crimp needs to go perpendicular to it. I've only seen it done, (and been the recipient of the results), not actually done it myself, so take these comments in that light.
  3. ando1048576

    ando1048576 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I guess I should have prefaced with what the existing plumbing is. This is a 2nd floor bath, and they got water to the 2nd floor by running soft 3/8" copper. There's some noticeable corrosion (maybe nothing to worry about, but I figure a few hundred spent while everything's opened up is good for peace of mind, if nothing else).

    I've not had any problems with even a 3/8" supply line, and the expansion-type Pex connection is supposed to have a similar inside diameter to 1/2" copper. If I switch to a crimp-type connection, I would definitely switch to the 3/4" supply - I'm currently undecided on the expansion-type.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    The wall thickness of pex is greater than copper. How much depends somewhat on the type of copper pipe. 1/2" pex is smaller than 1/2" copper. Do you need anything bigger? Depends; the costs are much different, so it has advantages, but then you need a manifold to drop it to 1/2", which adds. I'm surprised you get a decent shower with 3/8" supply lines, and the time to fill a tub, if that is a possibility would change greatly if you went bigger.
  5. ando1048576

    ando1048576 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Right - but I believe Wirsbo's AquaPEX system is sized by the inside rather than outside diameter, so is more comparable to the equivalent-sized copper. That's the system I'm looking at using, if I can convince myself it's worth the extra cash up-front for the tool. See http://www.wirsbo.com/includes/get_docs.php?id=1005

    Note that I'm just a generic DIY'er, so I don't need the best of the best, but do want something that I can be confident will have a reasonable lifespan.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2007
  6. Mad Plumber

    Mad Plumber Mad Skills

    Messages:
    221
    wirsbo expansion fittings
    Just talked to my Fergerson salsemen yesterday.....

    about this exact subject.......


    It seems that Wirsbo is going to discontinue the
    cheap crummey crimp ---band type fittings that they had gone to for the tract home
    plumbers.....


    they are going to do only the expansion type in the future.... they feel its a better joint....

    I dont know any more abou it but


    something must have scared them....

    back to the tried and true method
    Master Plumber Mark

    It does seem much less prone to user/tool errors than the crimp - which is what I'm using to convince myself to buy a $300 tool for a fairly small job. [​IMG]

    I've done my fair share of sweating copper in the past, but I just don't see another way to get new water lines to the 2nd floor (other than soft copper, whose price isn't all that appealing right now). I could do a lot of the connections in the floor with CPVC or copper again, but I'd rather plumb it all with the same material. I do plan on leaving an access panel in the pantry below so that it's easy to get at both supply lines and DWV lines if needed.
    Last edited by ando1048576

    Pex
    ALL PEX is named by the nominal i.d., ( which is not the actual i.d., but rather the equivalent copper i.d.), but the o.d. is the same as the equivalent copper which has a thinner wall and thus a larger actual i.d.
    hj
  7. construct30

    construct30 New Member

    Messages:
    590
    Location:
    NorthWest PA
    I have used some of the zurn pex from Lowe's and have had no trouble with it at all. I am very careful with the crimps and fittings. I like it, other than you do have to be very careful not to try to make a crimp in a tight place. I do have a crimp tool I bought off **** for tight spots, but it is still hard.

    I like the look of the wirsbo system and how it works. I want to buy the tools to do it, but it is expensive and I have only one small supply house that sells it locally. I would go with the wirsbo system on my own house if I had a choice. I think in the long run though if other people don't start using the system it could die out. The crimp style seems to have caught on better and many companies make compatible tools, crimps, and fittings. www.pexinfo.com has a list of compatible systems.

    I think I would try to get a set of pipes to the tub or shower and another to the vanity and toilet back to the water suppy and hot water tank. The manifold type system is a great way to go, even if you make it yourself then if you find the need to add more later it is easier.

    Make sure you have a supplier in your area that has everything you need in one brand and then go for it. Being able to get what you need to do any job is important. Make sure the supplier knows the product if you are a beginner so they can give you good info and advice if you need it.

    mark
  8. ando1048576

    ando1048576 New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Part of the problem is I live in a small town, but I think I can get most supplies an hour or so from here. I planned on getting all of my parts online and just being careful during planning to try and get everything at 1 shot.

    Is there any advantage to brass over plastic tees? At this point I plan on doing a 3/4" Pex line teed down to 1/2" for the fixtures.

    The $300 Wirsbo tool is kind of a downer, but I think I'll go with that system anyway.

    Thanks.

    Andy
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