Cracks forming next to plastic Uponor fittings

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PHXflood

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Has anyone else been seeing Uponor PEX pipes forming small cracks and leaking next to the expansion ring fitting? We seem to be removing more and more of these with no apparent pattern other than the location of the water leak and the plumbing system.
 

Reach4

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Check the markings on the pipe. Is that marked Wirsbo, Uponor, or Aquapex?
 

Jeff H Young

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I'm not working on PEX much. but I will assume you are talking specifically about Uponor and a specific project? When you say you are removing more and more of these that are leaking, please elaborate for us as to what to look out for . PEX. all the same brand, near the water heater, possible sunlight?
My suggestion would be to notify and get advice from manufacture, they might even pay for a repipe. Keep us posted its important information to us all!
 

PHXflood

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Thank you for the input! The pipes are typically marked Uponor-PEX-a or Aquapex and are less than ten years old. Some of the fittings have the Wirsbo logo on them. They have the oxygen barrier film on the exterior. The cracks are showing up more often on the hot side of the plumbing but we have seen some cold side as well on pipes containing the blue film. I don't think I've seen similar cracks on the translucent pipes. The cracks show up more often near manifolds or tees installed within the wall or crawlspace. They are not usually immediately adjacent to the hot water heater connectors so I haven't suspected excess heat, although the abundance of cracks does sometimes resemble the brittle failures that have shown up in some older Nibco pipes. Sometimes there does appear to be added stress to the joint due to bending of the pipes but not much more than I would expect to see on a crimped joint. I only started seeing it about two years ago but now it seems like every other call regarding a PEX pipe is for one of these.
 

Pulse

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Do not like hearing this, I am about to re-pipe home with Uponor..
 

Jeff H Young

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phxflood, thanks for info. Im a little confused are you a pro plumber? water damage specialist? It sound like this isnt one house but several. I havent experianced many pex problems but my exposure to customers with pex isnt that high.
one thing I would think that phoenix is a very hot and very dry climate. I can only guess that someone with many calls for pex leaks would have answers and been in contact with the manufactures but of cource we dont get paid for reasearch, so perhaps you just fix leak and get paid go to next one. kinda like leaky water heaters who knows why they leak just replace it. I am interested though. warranty should be more than 10 years but the company will probebly just cover the bad part
 

Reach4

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phxflood, thanks for info. Im a little confused are you a pro plumber? water damage specialist? It sound like this isnt one house but several. I havent experianced many pex problems but my exposure to customers with pex isnt that high.

They have the oxygen barrier film on the exterior.
I thought that statement stood out.
 

PHXflood

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Not a pro plumber here. Primarily working with the pipes after they've been removed so there are some gaps in my knowledge. The manufacturer's response in some cases was that there was an install error, usually bending of the pipe next to the fitting or little-to-no rotation of the expansion head during installation. That definitely might explain a few of the cases but its just hard to see that causing all of them. I could see the heat or UV exposure having an effect in this environment too. Its a weird story on my end as well.
 

jadnashua

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FWIW, no pex is immune to UV. MOst call for covering it up within 30-days. The other question is are the fittings actually from the same manufacturer? Are the pipes run through the attic? The vents on some can let light in. Plus, in Phoenix, where the air temp could be 120-degrees on a nasty day, an attic could be way hotter. Pex has heat limits, too.

Not sure why you'd use oxygen barrier pex for potable water.
 

bow

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I know this post was from last year, but I am experiencing the exact same issue. House completely remodeled in 2014 and my PEX started getting pin point cracks, on the hot, at the plastic connectors.

I’ve had to replace 8 holes now… YES, 8.

Happens right at fitting!!! I keep chasing it. Basically a new leak starts every few months!

JUST fixed one tonight!
 

bow

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Some pics…
 

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Jeff H Young

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Similar post by breplum called. crimp vs Uponor hH found a house with splits in the pipe some weren't leaking. he or customer got involvement from Uponor. Bad batch possibly he never got back to us and shared details like so many. Maybe if you post on his thread he will reply.
I haven't had this problem though
 

bow

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thanks Jeff!

I’ll check that out!


-bow

Similar post by breplum called. crimp vs Uponor hH found a house with splits in the pipe some weren't leaking. he or customer got involvement from Uponor. Bad batch possibly he never got back to us and shared details like so many. Maybe if you post on his thread he will reply.
I haven't had this problem though
 

Reach4

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I know this post was from last year, but I am experiencing the exact same issue. House completely remodeled in 2014 and my PEX started getting pin point cracks, on the hot, at the plastic connectors.
Are these outdoors?
 

Jeff H Young

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Breplum's was a bad batch.

yea but never heard if Uponor picked up tab for a total repipe or what arrangement was made I'd probably want to compare notes because I'd be wanting a full repipe material labor and damages. don't know I would get it or not but seems fair. otherwise homeowner could fix the bad joint and come after damages on next blow up
 

breplum

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Pex split 1.jpg
PEX split 2.jpg

Similar post by breplum called. crimp vs Uponor hH found a house with splits in the pipe some weren't leaking. he or customer got involvement from Uponor. Bad batch possibly he never got back to us and shared details like so many. Maybe if you post on his thread he will reply.
I haven't had this problem though
UPDATE late 2021: Uponor is paying for complete house repipe and patching. They have been very closed-mouthed about cause or other similar issues. See the Colorado class action which I think is already settled: https://www.classaction.org/media/matzdorf-et-al-v-uponor-inc-et-al.pdf
The house in question was only 10 years old and is 100% Uponor product failure.
The customer and attorney is pushing for something more whole-house remedy but Uponor resists so far.

The splits are exactly the same as PHXflood (original poster),
Definitely the heat applied color was the cause of weakness.
DO NOT install colored Uponor PEX. Plain is fine.
 
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jadnashua

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If I were to guess, and this is not from lots of product knowledge, my guess is that during the manufacturing process, whatever happened, the crosslinking process was not performed completely or properly. The crosslinking is what creates the memory. If it's not to spec, they would not be as strong, nor would they collapse as tight to create the seal with the fitting...it the worst case, the links would break, and a crack would form.

One of the main differences between the three types is the amount an method of creating the crosslinking in the tubing. Type-A has the most crosslinking, and as a result, is the only one that can work with the expansion tool. The others don't have as much flexibility, or as much memory. Seems that the tubing is acting like a type -B or -C, not as type -A that it should be.
 
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