Uponor PEX problem ALERT

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JohnCT

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I think we all find these few stories alarming . There are many thousands of copper leaks each year And Mark feels pretty good about the track record on his home and I see very good service from copper, I've also repiped houses as new as 17 years that had copper. And heard of repiping entire tracts of homes paid by lawsuits that had copper less than 10 years old.
Does 1 house in a thousand get a PEX leak ? or 1 in 10,000? no one likes leaks except the repiper or drywall patcher but lets not get too worried

My house needed repiping because of low .pH well water. Swiss cheese copper... I installed an acid mitigation system but of course it was too late. If I repiped in copper with the acid tank, there would not be any further issue.

I wonder if the Uponor leaks are in systems with an abnormally high level of chlorine. If so, I wonder if Uponor is paying for a repipe with more Uponor product, and will they guarantee it again if it starts leaking in 10 years? Can chlorine be easily filtered out I wonder?

If it's a chlorine issue on some water systems, then other Uponor installations may last 100 years.

John
 

Jeff H Young

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Thank you for your replies! I will call them tomorrow!!! Appreciate it very much. Will update.
Maybe you can help us out here Disneyfan. with details like is yours a failure of only the red PEX. is it expansion or crimp?
It is possible that its a workmanship or equiptment failure or some rare case of extreme pressure. Not sure if its the same brand etc. Like to hear detail on what failed exactly and maybe one of us might have insight if its not related to these other causes no need lumping them altogether.
I sure hope you get this problem taken care of and share info to us all sorry for the stress you are having over this
 

Bmhhvactec

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I'd have to agree with Keith, Jeff and Disnyfan1. Attached are some pics of our issues. This was 6" under slab with hairline crack. This is on the hot water line. Another post spoke about the yellowing and what you see is below slab. The coupling in the pic was just to get back in service but later discovered another hairline crack about same size 3" below this coupling. This home was built in later 2014 and finish May 2015, so just 7 years in. I've done a lot of commercial plumbing repairs in a hospital setting with all kinds of plumbing material/systems and this one has me puzzled. For what it's worth the hot water temp is 125 and I'm checking pH and chlorine levels today. The only thing that sticks out is water pressure incoming from meter is 100psi. We discovered this when a new neighbor was purchasing a home 3 houses down from us and the lender made them install a PRV. We may have to do this same if the consensus is this is a pressure issue and not a failure on PEX itself. By the way this is PEX-A Uponor Aqua-Flex. The number before the footage on the pipe is UB55140712; I'm wondering if that is the batch #? Thanks for any support or comments the group has. Obviously my red flags are going up.

pex_1.jpg
pex_2.jpg
pex_3.jpg
 

John Gayewski

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I'd have to agree with Keith, Jeff and Disnyfan1. Attached are some pics of our issues. This was 6" under slab with hairline crack. This is on the hot water line. Another post spoke about the yellowing and what you see is below slab. The coupling in the pic was just to get back in service but later discovered another hairline crack about same size 3" below this coupling. This home was built in later 2014 and finish May 2015, so just 7 years in. I've done a lot of commercial plumbing repairs in a hospital setting with all kinds of plumbing material/systems and this one has me puzzled. For what it's worth the hot water temp is 125 and I'm checking pH and chlorine levels today. The only thing that sticks out is water pressure incoming from meter is 100psi. We discovered this when a new neighbor was purchasing a home 3 houses down from us and the lender made them install a PRV. We may have to do this same if the consensus is this is a pressure issue and not a failure on PEX itself. By the way this is PEX-A Uponor Aqua-Flex. The number before the footage on the pipe is UB55140712; I'm wondering if that is the batch #? Thanks for any support or comments the group has. Obviously my red flags are going up.

View attachment 87848View attachment 87849View attachment 87850
It shouldn't be the pressure. The lender requires a prv because higher pressure can cause other issues, but not this one.
 

Jeff H Young

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100 PSI isn't causing this problem. If you have 100 PSI you do need a pressure reducing valve regardless of the pressure rating of your pipe its flat out not meeting code so think about installing one.
I've never experienced these problems with PEX.

pressure-gauge-ashcroft.jpg
 
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Keith_WA

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In our house, the Wirsbo AquaPex failures (all 10 of them) were very small cracks in the PEX Piping itself. We have just had our entire house re-piped in the last 30 days (hot, cold, recirculation, and service out to the street water meter) with Legend HyperPure. In the sections of pipe that had failures, there was definitely discoloration in the pipe itself and the printed info on the pipe was faded.

A lot of the pipe that we removed had no indications of discoloration nor was the printing on the pipe faded. I'm assuming that if there was a chemical problem with the water (like very high chlorine), then the entire Wirsbo AquaPex piping should have been affected. But this was not the case....

Keith A
 

Jeff H Young

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In our house, the Wirsbo AquaPex failures (all 10 of them) were very small cracks in the PEX Piping itself. We have just had our entire house re-piped in the last 30 days (hot, cold, recirculation, and service out to the street water meter) with Legend HyperPure. In the sections of pipe that had failures, there was definitely discoloration in the pipe itself and the printed info on the pipe was faded.

A lot of the pipe that we removed had no indications of discoloration nor was the printing on the pipe faded. I'm assuming that if there was a chemical problem with the water (like very high chlorine), then the entire Wirsbo AquaPex piping should have been affected. But this was not the case....

Keith A
Is Legend hyper-pure type A PEX. part of Wirsbo? did you get help from manufacture with material labor , or patching ?
10 leaks I'd be ready for re pipe too!
 

Keith_WA

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Is Legend hyper-pure type A PEX. part of Wirsbo? did you get help from manufacture with material labor , or patching ?
10 leaks I'd be ready for re pipe too!
Legend HyperPure is described as "PE-RT" not PEX-A. Legend is not part of Uponor/Wirsbo. As of this date, I have submitted information to Uponor on my out of pocket cost to replace their defective Wirsbo AquaPex pipe (about $ 35,000. Final costs with drywall repair, texturing, and painting will be around $ 50,000). No response from Uponor yet....

Keith A
 

JohnCT

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As of this date, I have submitted information to Uponor on my out of pocket cost to replace their defective Wirsbo AquaPex pipe (about $ 35,000. Final costs with drywall repair, texturing, and painting will be around $ 50,000). No response from Uponor yet....

Sounds like a good subject for a youtube channel...

A lot of the pipe that we removed had no indications of discoloration nor was the printing on the pipe faded. I'm assuming that if there was a chemical problem with the water (like very high chlorine), then the entire Wirsbo AquaPex piping should have been affected. But this was not the case....

And that sounds like a manufacturing issue where some pipe is fine and other sections age dramatically, either from time or maybe chlorine exposure. Assuming you kept all the removed PEX, do the affected sections have a different run number than the sections that were unaffected?

John
 

JohnCT

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We have just had our entire house re-piped in the last 30 days (hot, cold, recirculation, and service out to the street water meter) with Legend HyperPure.

I see that PE-RT is beginning to get F1960 expansion approval. Do you know if the installers crimped or expanded your PE-RT?

John
 

John Gayewski

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I see that PE-RT is beginning to get F1960 expansion approval. Do you know if the installers crimped or expanded your PE-RT?

John
I've only expanded it. It works well but needs a little more time to shrink back up.
 

Disnyfan1

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Maybe you can help us out here Disneyfan. with details like is yours a failure of only the red PEX. is it expansion or crimp?
It is possible that its a workmanship or equiptment failure or some rare case of extreme pressure. Not sure if its the same brand etc. Like to hear detail on what failed exactly and maybe one of us might have insight if its not related to these other causes no need lumping them altogether.
I sure hope you get this problem taken care of and share info to us all sorry for the stress you are having over this
I can't even get through to Uponor!! Call the number, try every dept and it rings 4-5 times then fast busy and hang up. This is sooooo annoying. I emailed customer service but who knows it they will reply.
 

Keith_WA

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Thanks. I know you did a lot of research on your issue - what make you finally decide on PE-RT instead of PEX or copper?

John
I like copper, but thought it would be much more difficult to install that a plastic pipe in an existing house. Legend HyperPure PE-RT has a stated guarantee of 100 years. Yes I know that is crazy but the supplier of the raw material Dow Chemical has been around a long time (over 125 years) and obviously feels that it is longer lasting than ordinary PEX-A.

Keith A.
 

Keith_WA

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As a follow-up see the picture below:

DSC_6736-A.jpg


The photograph shows 2 pieces of Wirsbo AquaPEX water pipe taken from our house. Both of these pieces of Wirsbo AquaPEX pipe are from the original installation. Most of the piping examined during the recent re-piping process looks like the the lower pipe in the photograph (marked "A"). In all 10 of the leaks in our house in the last 4 years, the pipe was discolored and the printing on the pipe was severely faded (sample "B"). Although Uponor claims there is no manufacturing defect in their Wirsbo AquaPEX pipe, obviously something is different about pipes that failed because the environment was the same for both pipes.
 

JohnCT

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As a follow-up see the picture below:

View attachment 88567

The photograph shows 2 pieces of Wirsbo AquaPEX water pipe taken from our house. Both of these pieces of Wirsbo AquaPEX pipe are from the original installation. Most of the piping examined during the recent re-piping process looks like the the lower pipe in the photograph (marked "A"). In all 10 of the leaks in our house in the last 4 years, the pipe was discolored and the printing on the pipe was severely faded (sample "B"). Although Uponor claims there is no manufacturing defect in their Wirsbo AquaPEX pipe, obviously something is different about pipes that failed because the environment was the same for both pipes.

Thanks Keith for providing those photos.

At first blush, it would seem to be batch problems - that is some batch runs were not nearly as susceptible to chlorine or maybe some runs were flat out destined to fail with *any* water.

Another variable is if any part of the yellowed pipe was somehow exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time (either before installation or after) whereas the white intact pipe wasn't..

In any case, this is a disturbing issue.

I know this is unlikely, but this reminds of when counterfeit semiconductors started hitting the market. I found Toshiba and Motorola transistors counterfeited from either secondary junk manufacturers or relabeled devices of lower power/voltage/hfe, etc. Later, there was almost no popular IC or transistor that wasn't counterfeited, so we had to be very careful as to where we sourced our semiconductors. I hear these days that counterfeiters now closely duplicate the *movements* inside counterfeit Rolex watches to where an amateur jeweler might be fooled... Imagine if Aquapex was counterfeited??

Whatever happened to your pipe, I hope we get the full and true story of what's failing.

John
 

Jeff H Young

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the difference could be the condition of the pipe not manufacture differences or the raw material that might be purchased from outside (I think they buy from DOW? )
was the material in the sun for months or exposed to something like extreme heat ?
 
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