PEX Tubing Questions

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by psjr56, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. psjr56

    psjr56 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    S. Jersey
    I know how to sweat tubing fittings but with PEX being much easier to work with I have a bunch of questions for anyone who uses it:

    1. This one question for you Pros, do you guys use it much?
    2. What brand do you prefer?
    3. Do you use the crimp type or the Expand (Wirsbo) type?
    4. Are the colors for code or for less confusion?
    5. What size do you use the most?
    6. Where do you buy your PEX supplies?

    thanks for any and all replies.

    Pete
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1. Hardly ever.
    2. Whatever the supply house stocks.
    3. Crimp or cinch. Don't use enough of it to justify buying the Wirsbo tool.
    4. Less confusion. Just tell the installer, "Blue is cold and on the right except for the toilet. Red is hot and goes on the left." More than that might really confuse them.
    5. 1/2" and 3/4".
    6. Plumbing supply wholesalers.
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    1. Quite frequently
    2. My supply house stocks Watts SSC Crimp
    3. SSC crimp
    4. I use the red and blue, the white tends to develop a dark stain sometimes from the water. Red and blue hides it.
    5. 1/2" and 3/4".
    6. My local plumbing supply house
  4. psjr56

    psjr56 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    S. Jersey
    Is the Wirsbo Tool the only expensive part of using the Wirsbo type connection?
  5. psjr56

    psjr56 Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    S. Jersey
    Another question. Is most PEX tubing the same? Is it the ring you put on for the Wirsbo or is it a special tubing?
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Usually those using the Wirsbo fittings also use the Wirsbo PEX. Since I do not use it I cannot tell you if the fittings and tubing are the same or more, although my intuition says that Wirsbo will cost more. You use the crimp, or cinch, rings that come with the fittings, or are made by that manufacturer.
  7. benze

    benze New Member

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    I find it interesting to hear that you use 3/4" and 1/2" crimp/clamp PEX. My experience has taught me that 1/2" PEX has 5/16" fittings, and 3/4" PEX has 1/2" fittings (both ID). When I replaced 1/2" copper supplies to my kitchen with 1/2" PEX, I saw a significant decrease in the pressure/flow out from my kitchen faucet. Only after did I realize that the fittings had reduced the flow that significantly.

    Do you not encounter the same problems?

    I have new PEX to run in the next few weeks, and consequently have been seriously considering running Wirsbo AquaPEX since the fittings are the same ID as the PEX (ie: 3/4" fitting is actually 3/4" ID - not 1/2"). Although the tool isn't cheap, I can rent one for 20$/day. And from all the testimonials I've read, everyone seems to rave about the Wirsbo system.

    Thanks,

    Eric
  8. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    Uponor/Wirsbo pex fittings are the least restrictive of the lot because the tubing is expanded around the fitting. That said, technically, no pex fittings conform to the code which says that fittings shall not have internal ledges, ridges or obstruction to flow. furthermore most pex elbows are drilled straight in from both sides with next to no sweep in the middle. Most plumbers will compensate for the flow restriction by upsizing the pipe though it should be noted that nowhere in the code does it say that the shortcomings of the system can be made up for in that way. Still further though, damn few plumbing inspectors are enforcing that particular bit of the code. It pays to ask before you begin your project though.
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Copper fittings have larger openings than brass ones, but because of the physical properties of water, the smaller diameter, for a short distance like a fitting, does not affect it to any great extent. The water velocity increases to compensate for the smaller diameter. HOWEVER, the same effect does NOT occur when the restriction is lengthy, such as a length of piping.
  10. jeffeverde

    jeffeverde New Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    L.A.
    There are differences in PEX, but it's more the type of PEX than who's it is. Basically there's PEX-a (Uponor/Wirsbo's AquaPex), and everyone else's PEX-b (Viega, Watts, Hydro, etc). (there's also PEX-c, but I *think* that's only used in irrigation tubing)

    Here's a lengthy description of the types if you want to read more
  11. CollinLeon

    CollinLeon Software Engineer

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    Having owned a house that was built back when the polybutyl pipe was "the thing" and having spent many a day digging up my yard to repair leaks. Luckily, the only interior pipe in that house that was polybutyl was at the service entrance in the garage, so when it leaked, it was just an inconvenience and not a major catastrophe... PEX is the "new thing" these days... Will it last? Or will it be the next polybutyl one of these days? On the other hand, copper has been around for quite awhile and we know the properties of it...
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,642
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Now you are trying to be logical, and many people forget logic when they start watching their wallets. PEX = "cheap" installation, using inexpensive material and easily trained mules to put it in. Which was EXACTLY the logic for using PB.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,019
    Location:
    New England
    Uphonor (Wirsbo) pex tubing has been around since the early 70's, and pex was invented in the 1930's. The production methods have evolved, and if QA/QC is not maintained, ANY pipe can be a problem from copper to pex to cpvc to whatever. Calling pex the new thing is somewhat misinformed. 'New' to this continent, maybe, but it's been in use in Europe for a long time. the pex types (A, B, and C) indicate the method of manufacture, and some of their properties. The different methods produce the cross-linked chains that give it strength and flexibility in different ways with slightly different properties.
  14. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    I hate Europe :)
  15. CollinLeon

    CollinLeon Software Engineer

    Messages:
    10
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    Well, one school of thought is that the more connectors that you put in something, the more potential for problems. I suspect that this is one of the justifications for PEX, just like it was for polybutyl. Plus, it's easier to install, so instead of needing trained plumbers to do it, builders can use semi-trained monkeys instead. It's just another step in the dumbing down of the technical trades -- as if installing PVC wasn't easy enough... They make a big deal about being able to have a manifold system for PEX pipe and thus a single run from a central location to every room or faucet. I don't consider that to be that big of a deal -- you could do that with plastic or copper if you so desired. What it does mean is that you will be having more PEX pipe being used and as such, more cost than if it was done with a traditional layout. Since PEX is cheaper, they don't consider that to be that big of a deal. I think that an argument could be made for PEX from a plumber financial standpoint since the tools are expensive and a homeowner might be hesitant to buy the tools for a small DIY job and will instead just hire a professional to do it.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,019
    Location:
    New England
    Of the types, type A is the original (and the most expensive to manufacture), and still has some advantages over the other types. Type C is the least expensive, and has the weakest cross-links and if not held to high quality control, can be brittle on the outside. Type A has the strongest cross-links (and is linked with carbon atoms - the others are a hydrocarbon link), the shortest bend radius, and is the only type that can safely be restored if you kink it. On types B and C, if you kink it during install, you are supposed to cut out the kink and insert a coupling. But, with type A, with a heat gun, you can restore it to the original strength and shape (if you've been trained and know what you are doing). Timewise, and cost, I'd guess it's sort of a wash on that repair, but one of the big things with pex is minimizing the connections, so I think it's worth the time to relieve the kink. Better yet to avoid getting one in the first place (and that's easier with type A, since it is more flexible than the other types).

    According to Uphonor's website, they've installed over 2 billion feet of pex in the USA and over 12billion feet worldwide. that's enough to wrap roung-trip to the moon, twice. That's a lot of miles of the stuff, and they've been making the stuff for nearly 40-years. When you add in the other manufacturers, there's a LOT of the stuff out there.

    There ARE differences in the available tubing. Whether they are important to you or not, would depend some on what you are doing. Consistent quality is the biggest issue, and that could be a problem on any, but is more questionable on the price leaders.
  17. DirtyDen

    DirtyDen New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Colorado
  18. zontik

    zontik New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    ny
    1. This one question for you Pros, do you guys use it much?
    Yes, 90% of the time.

    2. What brand do you prefer?
    Viega and Everhot

    3. Do you use the crimp type or the Expand (Wirsbo) type?
    Crimp

    4. Are the colors for code or for less confusion?
    to make things easier.

    5. What size do you use the most?
    1/2

    6. Where do you buy your PEX supplies?
    Mostly online, unless i need it same day.
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