PEX - Yea or Nay?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by sixlashes, Oct 28, 2008.

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Do you like PEX?

  1. Yes, PEX is a good product

    13 vote(s)
    100.0%
  2. No, PEX is not a good product

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. sixlashes

    sixlashes Plumber in Previous Life

    Messages:
    83
    Location:
    Pensacola. FL
    Another thread brought this issue up and I am looking for an experienced opinion. I am planning to use PEX to plumb my home utilizing a manifold for an all-home-run installation. I heard there was a problem with brass fittings. I was planning to use the crimp on rings with brass transition fittings.

    Do the benefits of using PEX make it worthwhile? I was a copper only fan until folks I trust talked me into using PEX. What do you think?

    Thanks.
  2. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Read this excerpt from the IPC. Quite a few plumbing inspectors have refused to allow and in fact made the installers tear out pex that did not comply. This includes but is not limited to Watts, viega, Rehau, Zurn and pretty much any pex tubing that uses an inserted fitting and a crimp ring, band or sleeve.

    Reference: IPC 605.5
    Category: Water Supply and Distribution
    Subject: Materials, Joints and Connections
    Code Text: Pipe fittings shall be approved for installation with the piping material installed and shall
    conform to the respective pipe standards or one of the standards listed in Table 605.5. All
    pipe fittings utilized in water supply systems shall also conform to NSF 61. The fittings shall
    not have ledges, shoulders or reductions capable of retarding or obstructing flow in the
    piping.
    Ductile and gray iron pipe fittings shall be cement mortar lined in accordance with
  3. Jay Mpls

    Jay Mpls Master plumber

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I am in! I would run with Veiga or Wirsbo(Uponor).If You have any questions about the brand of PEX you wish to use I would give a call to your local plumbing inspector and run it by him/her.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I'll give pex a thumbs up!
  5. crater

    crater New Member

    Messages:
    49
    one year old house--> home-run system using Pex with crimp rings NO LEAKS from the very start. fingers crossed
    Pressure test lines before you cover them.
    Places that disallow Pex should really get with the times. The code mentioned should include "the 1000's of standards depending on the inspectors mood" and would only pass some space age material not yet handed down to us by little green men from mars.
    Don't get me wrong codes are code and we may have to follow them, but I'll bet there is no one person on this forum that hasn't said that one or another code just doesn't make any sense. These are the very ones that the trades try to get corrected but still slip though the cracks at the "inspectors convention" every year. Until the book gets changed it'll take a engineers stamp to override the code, stupid or not.

    Job security I think
  6. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Well that little excerpt from the IPC has and will continue to cause problems. Local inspectors do not have the authority to override a code unless the ammendment is more stringent, not less. Even the State inspectors can't give a pass on that one. I've had plumbers assert that if they up size the pex by one pipe size that covers it, but again the code itself does not say that. The code says what it says. If you crimp Watts, Viega, Zurn and then cut the joint laterally you can plainly see a ledge where the fitting inserts into the pipe, and the code strictly prohibits this. Is it stupid? Probably. But again, I would hate to rough an entire house and then have to tear it all out. Even if the local inspector passed it, if it ever came down to a law suit I would be liable, not the inspector. Never assume that because the manufacturer puts this stuff out there that is must be ok to use.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,267
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    code

    That would be an assine interpretation of the code. That would mean that polyethylene pipe could not use the common barbed fittings, even though they, and the PEX fittings, have passed the IAPMO and other certification tests.
  8. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Plumbers love it because its so damn easy running basically hoses through walls. They can leave their chalk line and level in the truck. Plus they don't have to clean and flux, then heat joints inside wood studs. I had my house plumbed with it because I knew it would save time. The only problem that I've had with it is expanding it. The tool to crimp the bands is expensive, and is difficult to fit into tight areas, which are typical with doing retrofits.

    This is the same house that the "professional" refused to install a PRV and I found out from the utility that the street pressure is over 150psi. At least I know the stuff has been tested (along with my refrigerator and the rest of the house!).
  9. sixlashes

    sixlashes Plumber in Previous Life

    Messages:
    83
    Location:
    Pensacola. FL
    I see the issue with the reduced internal cross section of the fittings. However; the cross section of the riser tubes for sinks are almost always 1/4". I am all about not cutting down flow. I will indeed call the local inspector to find out his interpretation. Good point that just because the supply house sells it, doesn't mean all of the surrounding county inspectors will pass it.

    Has anyone seen any failures with the crimp rings? I remember reading about an issue with the fittings being able to spin after installation. Or issues with the PEX itself? I plan to use drive-in insulators in studs and joists to keep it from possibly chafing. I have access to all sizes of the Zurn crimpers with the go no-go gages.
  10. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    What can I say? You read it, I read it. It says what it says. I think it's an assinine interpretation also, however it ain't up to us to interpret. Remember this is for supply and distribution piping. Typically insert fittings are used before the supply piping begins. Supply tubes to fixtures have always been exempt in Flow calculations due to the short distance. Nominal passage through a 1/2" pex fitting is about 11/32 nds of an inch compared to 1/2" swett copper, plus the ledge. So you tell me. If you were an inspector would you let it go?

    Attached Files:

  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I Dunno...
    You tell me...

    http://www.watts.com/pdf/IS-WaterPEX.pdf

    Sounds like the IPC might be cotradicting itself...
    Maybe you should bring it up for the next round of revisions...
  12. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Well ya. All this crap needs to be put up for revision. It's the reason I have been so against the IPC since we adopted the damn thing. It's full of stupid stuff. I really wish that every State would adopt the same code with local revisions. Someone (not me , I have enough crap on my plate) needs to take all of the existing codes and blend them into one sensible, coherent piece of legislation that incontrovertable.
  13. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    Messages:
    584
    Location:
    MN, USA
    I've not heard of any problems with regular PEX and brass fittings.

    As I understand it the problems were with AL barrier PEX

    edit: I thought the expander tool that they used on PBS looked easy to use, but expensive.
    They put a larger ring of PEX over the PEX and then used a tool to expand it before putting it over a barbed end.
  14. crater

    crater New Member

    Messages:
    49
    funny you mention that the fittings spin after crimping. I myself said there was no way that this won't leak (because murphy follows me like my shadow) my fittings spun,not loosely but never the less they could turn. The only problem I had once was with a quick connect Pex fitting. It leaked because I didn't have it all the way on. The kind that just slip onto the end of the tube. My advice; don't use Quick connect fittings, the're way more expensive and seem not to instill the confidence that they won't leak, plus I'm not sure about pressure they'll handle.
  15. Basement_Lurker

    Basement_Lurker One who lurks

    Messages:
    668
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Unless you are doing a huge b&t pex system, the small pressure drop caused by the reduced diameter of the crimp fittings is hardly a factor. And yes a crimped fitting can spin if you twist it hard enough...if you think about it, you'd understand why...the crimp ring forces the tubing down onto two grooves which press into the tubing...so you may be able to spin the tubing as the grooves are circular...but you won't be able to pull the joint apart!
  16. Southern Man

    Southern Man DIY Hillbilly

    Messages:
    530
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Years ago NY State had a nice plumbing code that gave a simple design method for sizing supply lines based on cumulative fixture units. I designed all the plumbing for a 44 unit hotel in about an hour. With the current IBC you need a friigin' computer program to figure it out, even for a small job.
  17. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Wirsbo uses this method. Depending on which expander tool you use it can be expensive.
  18. pbaker

    pbaker New Member

    Messages:
    6
    pex problems

    I have had 3 failures with pex fittings over the last 7 years. Each of them at the pipes coming in from a well to the water heater. The first was the T fitting coming into the water heater. The next was the 90 coming out of the water heater. Each of these we caught with minimal water clean up. Fortunately we have mostly scored & stained concrete slab, too. The last one was the doozie. It was the 90 going into the water heater. It flooded 70% of the house. I came in and there was 2" of water on the kitchen floor. I heard it in the laundry room, waded to it and there was a jet stream pelting the opposite side wall. I told my wife, "I think it is time to get the manufacturer to see this."

    After contacting Zurnpex, shipping the fittings to them and trying to sort it all out, I received a letter last month that the fittings were not theirs, but Dura-Pex. I contacted NIBCO - Dura-Pex and their representative sent me to an insurance company. I was not even talked to by a claims adjuster, only a "Litigation Examiner" who never asked any questions and simply denied the (was not even) claim saying that Consolidated's materials were excluded from their policy. I work in construction, so I know how many unexpected variables can cause failures like this, however, everything I have checked seems to go back to fitting failure... plain and simple. I am not sure of anyone's expertise with this, but I would greatly appreciate any direction and advise offered.
  19. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
  20. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Messages:
    460
    Location:
    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    I use the Propress / Viega tool. I presently just crimp copper tubing, however, I can buy a jaw for 3/4 PEX for $100.
    Does anyone have experience with the viega PEX. It appears to be a much more robust crimp and looks very similar to a crimp used on a hydraulic line.
    Comments?

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