Opinions on the cheap PEXES

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Master Plumber Mark, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Well --- due to the sky high prices of copper

    I finally have broken down and jumped into the

    world of ------- WIRSBO PEX.....

    I am wondering about which pexes most plumbers out ther are

    molre fond of and their opinionis of them all....

    when 3/4 copper M is about 275 per foot and 1/2 is over 2.00

    you simply have to face the facts that when you can buy a 300 foot roll of 1/2

    pex for $85 dollars you cant deny the saveings in both time and troubles....

    what thsi stuff does 35 years down the road is not my problem,
    I will be dead and gone

    anyway, at my supply house I was able to buy a new battery

    operated knuematic wirsbo tool for the price of $475.00.....

    I should have it by tomorrow.

    they were having a special sale and normally they are over $1100..
    just saw them on the wirsbo site for $1200 this morning....

    so I could not pass up the deal

    its much much quicker than the hand held one...


    anyway, what pex type pipeing systems do you all like..

    or are having the best luck with??????
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2006
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    As you know, I'm not a pro. But, when I had my master bath remodeled, they used Wirsbo pex to do it. I linve in a multi-family dwelling (a townhouse condo) and in our city, you can't do your own work on plumbing or electrical in them, only in single family houses.

    Didn't they change the name of the company awhile ago? If the packaging still says Wirsbo, that may be the reason they are dropping the price so that they can get the inventory to represent the new name.
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  4. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Sep 14, 2005
    That is one hell of a deal on that battery tool. Last time I looked into one, they wanted $1600. That's the cat's meow compared to the pump jobby I have. You'll easily save 20 seconds per fitting with that tool.

    Uponor bought Wirsbo out, but the Wirsbo 'HePex' and 'Aquapex' monickers will remain.

    Probably the reason for the price cut is competeition:

    1: Viega
    2: Rehau
    3: Vanguard
    4: Watts
    5: Zurn
    6: Safelink
    7: RHT
    8: Roth

    Plus countless others.

    What a mess. Differing fittings/ differing pipe/ different tools. Some OD (outside diameter) controlled, some ID, some-- who knows. How many different tools/fittings/pipe/suppliers/training cards will the poor service plumber need?

    I guess to compete you buy a bunch of SharkBites and go to town.

    I'm glad I'm running commercial jobs now, at least some places type L is still required, by code not cost. Brazed, soldered or pressed (!), it's still better than plastic, IMO.

    Well, at least I can still take pride in putting in something that takes skill, not a proprietary tool.

    Now don't take that as a slam at all. It's the nature of the beast. A guy has to compete, period. You do what you need. I don't fault anyone for that.


    I've looked in amazement at copper piping from the 1920's with the old, wrought copper fittings WITH HOLES DRILLED IN THE HUBS to add solder, way back before capillary attraction could be reliably machined into the pipe and fittings. Still a working system 90 years later.

    I've looked in amazement at brass piping jobs that are over 130 years old and still functional.

    I've replumbed houses from the 1870's with lead waste groups, that only merited replacement due to remodelling and age, not functionality. Such wastes that were also plumbed to the codes of today! (venting/sizing) The kind of piping that was made on the ground and hoisted up to the second floor, notches cut on the top of the joists for the waste to sit in, then steel mesh and an inch of concrete before the tile went on.

    I've stared in amazement at Durham pipe jobs from the 40's-60's. Imagine cranking 4" fittings all day. Linseed oil pipe dope!

    I found a 25# roll of solder above a plastered ceiling I cut into. Big, heavy... working man's stuff.

    I've tried to remove old concrete laundry tubs and found that it is not humanly possible to do so without bashing them to bits. Somehow, our plumbing forefathers did it.


    I've been mortified looking at the mechanical hackjobs in 1.5 million dollar homes: pretty on the outside, crap inside the walls.

    I've seen $200K starter homes with fixtures/workmanship that pale in comparison to those put in a 1972 Holly Park trailerhouse.

    I've replumbed houses that are less than 40 years old.

    I've gone out on a no-heat and found a 150# T&P valve installed on a low pressure/hot water boiler!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I've found T&P valves on water heaters plugged-- with a 3/4" plug.

    I've found the gas utility red-tagged a water heater for high CO, without realizing that all the appliances in the mechanical room (WH, make-up air unit and two pool heaters) were piped to 2# gas, with no regulators. Every appliance was being replaced every 3 years due to CO. In the 15 years since the building was built, no one caught on that it was the gas supply! No one ever put a manometer on to set-up the burners!

    I've replumbed several plastic waste stacks that have sucummed to thermal expansion (cracked fittings), some that were less than 10 years old.

    I've found many a pvc pipe that has popped out of it's fitting due to not using primer.

    I've found a brass pex tee snap due to thermal expansion, because the pipe was anchored to tight.

    I've chased many a noise because the piping was not suffieciently anchored.

    I've repiped houses that were plumbed with Qest- nylon fittings and aluminum rings.

    I've never installed an s-trap, unless you consider a toilet an s-trap.

    I fight with guys who think that nylon johnni-bolts are the best thing since sliced bread, because they are easier to cut.

    I fight with guys who think they do not need to anchor closet collars, whether they have a stainless ring or not.

    I fight with guys that plumb from the fixture to the drain, rather than fixture to the vent.

    I have fellow employees whose idea of preventative drain maintainance is supplying the customer a few pounds of Thrift.

    I have fellow employees that solder a pipe and it looks like a goose applied the solder--from 50 feet above.

    I hang my head in shame when I do a callback on someone.

    I have alot of trouble with those who don't take pride in their work.

    It just seems that everytime that something simpler/cheaper/easier comes along, our trade goes down a notch. It's not that it's intentional, but the less time it takes to do something, the less time one thinks about it.

    Those old dudes I talked about above measured twice and cut once. Now we have guys that cut the pipe 3 times and it's still too short.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Nov 8, 2005
    Hansville, Washington
    Excellent post. But, for this non-pro, can you 'splain to me what you meant by:

    I probably plumb from the drain to the fixture; where does that leave me :confused: ?
  6. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

    Apr 18, 2005
    Service Plumber, Outdoor Temperature Relief Owner
    Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati Area
    I vote to put dubldare's post as a sticky. Very informative and noteworthy on many fronts.

    I'm clueless to how many differing PEX products there are and how many have already went out of business. My point always being that if there is so much to choose from, how in the world is the average DIY'r/homeowner ever going to figure it out without much disappoint and struggle.

    Does it matter whole-heartedly to me if homeowners can work on their own plumbing? Yes, to a degree for the reason that I do not want to install anything plumbing related in a customer's home that they cannot go to the local store and repair themselves.

    If I install something that requires pricey tools and certain crimp rings and piping that has you travelling to 7 supply houses.........well, I feel that is a grave disservice to the customer that can't always afford/obtain the expertise of a plumber.

    I expect it of my electrician or heating and air company without having to inquire first about the matter.

    The ripple effect hasn't travelled far enough down the line to make PEX and the numerous brands available in easy to find ways in everyday hardware stores and other outlets that cater to plumbing materials.
  7. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    Sep 14, 2005

    Don't get me wrong, I wasn't intending to say that I do groundwork starting at the end working towards the drain, lol.

    Perhaps another way of putting it would be to say, 'Bring the waste line to the vent, not the vent to the waste line.' The goal is to eliminate unwashed, flat vents.

    It's more of a method in the layout phase, as one is much more limited as to where a fixture can be vented than how to get to the drain. Hit your vent within 90° and the trap arm distance, that is where your drain will go.

    See this post for a good example of this: https://terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5835
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2006
  8. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Nice post and entertaining to read.

    I don't like the flat venting either.
    As cheap as pipe and fittings are, it just makes more sense to plumb as well as you can for future generations of homeowners.
    It shouldn't be how little you can do, but how well you do.

    I'm using Wirsbo, though a few other brands look good too.
    Wirsbo is sold by two suppliers here, so I have more places I can buy it.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2006
  9. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    Does anyone know of a PEX Mfgr. that makes a PEX pipe with copper sized ID.
  10. plumber1

    plumber1 Plumber

    Aug 7, 2005
    dubldare, thanks for the post. You just about said it all.............
  11. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Wirsbo PEX

    well I slapped a wirsbo system in yesterday

    no leaks , no drips, no errors.......

    one hot manifold and one cold manifold..

    the way I have look at it is basically its like running
    soft copper everywhere , but actually its just much easier to
    man handle than the copper....

    Even though I used bassit straps on it to the studs to
    make it look half way civilized,

    It certanly does not look as nice as the copper but

    I supppose it will last untill I am buired

    and they cant come back after me..

    thats a good thing........I guess
  12. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    Wirsbo Dont Freeze......

    To make a re-cap about WIRSBO PEX.....

    today I get a call from the people that I installed the

    WIRSBO pex system for this summer......and had been left ON since then...

    the weather around here has been about 15- 20 degrees since

    last friday..... before that it was almost like spring

    since october.....

    I had not heard a thing sfrom them since this summer and I had a funny
    feeling about them last week......

    was it my plumbers sense kicking in ?????

    I get a call last night and they ask me if it would be wise
    to have the heat on in the house where I had installed all this pex..

    of course I said it would be very wise...

    :eek: :eek:

    happy happy....joy..joy

    anyway today......I go up there today to look over all the damages......

    water was comming out the front door of this framed unfinished
    2 story home .....

    the PEX was fine but the copper manifold I had installed
    had many munerous breaks in it and the faucets did not look too good either

    so now its back to WINTERIZE the home ---possible this satruday

    if they heat the home up with a salamander to thaw out the pipes....

    and deal with the damages on a later date...

    the good thing is the WIRSBO PEX that I had run everywhere
    throughout the rafters has remained in-tact....

    and I suppose I dont need to worry about it at all

    the bad news is all the copper is gonna give me fits
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2006
  13. OldPete

    OldPete DIY Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    I've only done one house with it. And here is what I can tell you from my non-pro experience.

    First off, I wouldn't use the Wirsbo plastic fittings. I would use the brass ones. They cost more, but when you think about what you're saving with the PEX, why be *that* cheap?

    I think down the road (a long long long long time from now) you're going to see problems with the plastic fittings. I think the brass fittings are the only way to go.

    Next, I think the Everloc (or APR Press) method is the best one, but I was too cheap to buy it. Next best is the ProPex (Expander). The Zurn and the crap they sell at Low*s I wouldn't let in my house except for temp. connections. If it isn't PEXa, I would stay away from it. Same goes for all that clamp-on stuff. Sorry, but something that just clamps on is eventually going to leak. At least the ones that I've had to deal with. I especially hate the fact that my whirlpool tub is all "clamped" with those "quickie" type looking clamps. Junk if you ask me.

    That's just my thoughts after a lot of reading. I've only run 3/4" hePEX for my hotwater baseboard feeds and 1/2" AquaPex for potable. So that is the extent of my experience.

    Just thought I'd chime in.

  14. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    I was just looking at some PEX-c. It is X linked with some sort of electron process instead of direct heat. It is supposed to be much more flexable when trying to run it but I'm not sure about the X linking process used on it.

    Any one know about the PEX -c process compaired to the a process.
  15. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber

    Feb 6, 2005
    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    damage controll

    I will be going back up to this froze up home

    this week when it gets up to about 50 and do

    some winterizeing for them.....

    really wish they would have called me about 2 weeks ago...

    it appears that the only problems I am gonig to have to

    address is going to be the copper pipe....

    possibly the black plastic manifolds on the end of 3/4 runs

    to 2 different bathrooms worries me too...

    honestly the wirsbo has worked pretty well....
  16. molo

    molo Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Cold New York

    Hello all,

    I am interested in PEX as well. I called my local hardware today, and he said they have PEX, he said that i can make my joints with "Sharkbites". And no tools are neccessary. Even when I tie the PEX into the copper!
    1. Is this true?
    2. Is this a reliable method?

    This sounds too easy,
    TIA, Molo
  17. OldPete

    OldPete DIY Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Is it true? Yes.
    Reliable? Some would say yes. I'm not one of those people. Not for a whole house anyway.
  18. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Nov 12, 2005
    The shark bites work by lots of tiny angled fins that grab / bite into what ever has been pushed into them. They look sharp if you look into a sharkbite. I question what they might do to PEX over time given that it is so soft where as copper, and CPVC is a hard material.
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