Why would NIBCO/CPI Durapex PEX split (lengthwise) and leak?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by celiason, May 27, 2008.

  1. celiason

    celiason New Member

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    Thank you!

    BRB19 -Thank you for the information! I am keeping it with all my records for future reference.

    Earlier in this process, I contacted the CHUBB Group and was informed by a representative that they only handle liability claims (for damages or injury) caused by CPI DURAPEX manufactured before the merge with NIBCO in 2006, not issues involving its manufacture. So I am hoping that the technical division of NIBCO/CPI in Lebanon, OH can give us some answers on this piping... I have been in touch and have been asked to call them back next week for an update on the analysis (I have the names of actual people to talk to!) So I remain optimistic that we can get an answer....

    Incidentally, in your post I got the impression that in the pics you thought you saw scratches on the outside of the pipe. Those are actually the splits where the water burst through the pipe...in all three portions that I saved, these seem to line up when I place the pieces together, so it appears to be a linear defect apparently...(and FYI in case anybody is wondering, we do not have a recirculating pump either ;)...)

    Also, our house is in the Charlotte region too. You say you have seen other instances of this in houses built in a certain time span here. Do you think a bad batch may have slipped through CPI's Quality Control and been shipped to a distributor in our area? It happens....

    Thanks again for your interest and to all who have asked questions and offered suggestions...I try to check in daily and will keep you updated as I can...

    I remain hopeful...:eek:
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  2. celiason

    celiason New Member

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    Update...

    I think we may have an answer...sorry for the delay...

    First, technical at NIBCO/CPI was very helpful and informative. They analyzed my pex sample and found the measurements conformed to standard and based on the "melt test" (tests cross-linkage), they could not confirm that the Durapex was defective. I can send a larger sample (six feet) for other tests, but based on conversations, I have a theory....

    When the house was built in 1999, it may have not been code to install an expansion tank (?)...(I am going to check this out with my county). We had a PRV which gave us a closed system. My theory is that with the closed system, over time, heat and pressure strained the section of pex nearest the water heater beyond limits (the splits so far have only occurred on the hot water distribution side of the heater and close to the heater and in hindsight and from what I have learned here, we had a few other symptoms that I didn't recognize at the time). Even after we installed an expansion tank we had one more split, but I think that this was on a portion that had been stressed before the E tank installation. Technical has recommended that in cases like this, 20 feet of the pex coming from the water heater should be replaced to prevent anymore splits...

    I haven't seen another expansion tank anywhere else on my plumbing, so I think the one we installed is the only one we have. If we have anymore problems after finding this possible solution, I reserve the right to pursue more testing on a larger sample, but I think this is the answer I have been looking for (and the most logical). Does it make sense to the Plumbers and DIY-ers out there or am I grasping at straws:eek:? I am going to be calling my county building inspectors and water engineers to ask some questions though...Now I am curious about all things plumbing...



    Thanks to all for your answers and suggestions. If you can think of anything else, I will keep checking in. This board has been and remains extremely helpful...

    -c:)
     
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    With no water running, the pressure is the same everywhere; the only difference would be that the water closest to the WH would be hotter. So, pressure and heat may be the culprit, but maybe not.
     
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    No smoking gun but a maybe.... With the heat and added pressure it could be...
    I dunno! Thanks for posting back!
     
  5. Penny Porter

    Penny Porter New Member

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Nibco Pex Problems

    We built our house in Rock Hill, SC 3 years ago. We had our first hot water line leak about a year ago. Since then, we have had 6-7 episodes of the pipe splitting. Chubb group has denied our claim. This has done major damage to our house, and the whole house will have to be re piped at great cost. Has anyone gotten any satisfaction on this issue?
     
  6. alternety

    alternety Like an engineer

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    Where are the pipes splitting with respect to the water heater. Have you read this thread? Do you have a closed system as discussed above? Expansion tank?
     
  7. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

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    Could you please post pictures of the piping, close-ups, and the identification of the piping you're speaking of?

    This will help others in your situation, and might lead to more answers for you in the long run.
     
  8. Penny Porter

    Penny Porter New Member

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    re picture and location of splits

    We will post pictures from a different computer...splits are almost identical to the pictures already posted on this site. They are no where near the water heater, and have occurred essentially in about three different areas of the house - they are not in the same section of pipe. The hot water is looped and on a recirculating pump.
     
  9. Dunbar Plumbing

    Dunbar Plumbing Master Plumber

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    What has the installing plumber done to rectify the situation?
     
  10. Penny Porter

    Penny Porter New Member

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Installing Plumber

    When we had the third leak, he called the local distributor where he purchased the pipe and told them they had better call the manufacturer because this was defective pipe. Next morning, we had a visit from the wholesale sales rep (Sunbelt Manufacturing) and the local distributor (Gateway supply) and our plumber. We were told by Sunbelt's rep that the manufacturer had insurance in place to cover this and basically told us it was borderline quality. He said it met specs but just barely and he referred us to the Chubb Insurance Group and they denied responsibility. Our plumber feels terrible about this, and we will most likely enlist his help to re pipe the house.
     
  11. Penny Porter

    Penny Porter New Member

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    PEX photos

    These show the identifying information on the pipes. The splits look just like the ones in the other photos on this thread.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Penny Porter

    Penny Porter New Member

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Update

    Our plumber is going to begin work within the next week to remove all of the pipes in the house and replacing them. I will be posting more photos of those pipes. We will, of course, be saving them all.
     
  13. Denise Thorpe

    Denise Thorpe New Member

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    Feb 21, 2009
    Ditto on the 1999 NC house with Dura-Pex

    Wow! I came to the right place. I bought my house in Charlotte, NC two years ago, but it was built in 1999. It has Dura-Pex red pex plumbing and just this morning a piece of hot water pipe under my kitchen sink split lengthwise and flooded my kitchen. It looks just like the pictures on this site and the split also starts on the inside of the pipe. Luckily, I was home and had the tools and parts to fix it, but the seams in my hardwood floor now stick up instead of being flush with the floor. I'm hoping that when it dries, the seams will shrink.

    The info from BRB19 is excellent and I'll be calling the Chubb group on Monday. I'm not really the suing type and I can replace my plumbing myself, but if my hardwood floor is ruined because of a known defect, I'll want someone else to pay to fix it. It sounds like no one has had any luck getting the manufacturer to take responsibilty. It may be time for us NC victims to talk to a lawyer about a class action lawsuit.

    There is actually a question in this post. I now know that I need to replace all hot water plumbing in my house to prevent more unscheduled plumbing work. But what should I use to replace it? I like the Pex because Pex means never to have to say you're soldering, but is there a brand of Pex that will last as long as copper?

    Thanks in advance for all suggestions!
     
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Denise,
    That is the subject that raises a lot of debate among us plumbers...
    We all hope we know the answer...
    Those of us who are using it hope the brand we are using does...
    And those of us who aren't using it hope the sky is falling...

    I will say that until this thread started all the failures that I had heard of were failures of the fittings.
    This is the first that I had heard of the tubing failing.
     
  15. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Ohio
    The pipe is sensitive to UV rays...I am wondering where and how long it was stored before it was purchased and installed...and if this could be the problem...I am unaware of the type of problems that will occur from exposure to UV rays...only that there can be problems
     
  16. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

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    I checked out some Durapex made by Nibco the other day at the supply house and it seemed very different than Uponor or Rehau's pex. It seemed thin wall, stiff, almost brittle and the color went through the whole tube. The journeyman plumber I was with also noted that "they just have it out in the open" meaning Uponor/Wirsbo and Rehau come in boxes while Durapex is in rolls that are exposed to whatever environment the vendor decides to have them in.
     
  17. Penny Porter

    Penny Porter New Member

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    Feb 15, 2009
    Reply to Denise

    Hello Denise, I am not sure how class action lawsuits work. However, I would doubt that anyone but the lawyers get anything. That being said though, it is not right that the manufacturer should get away with this. I think that there is strength in numbers, and we should create a group and do something to find out how many others out there are experiencing the same problem. My guess is MANY. Our plumber is going to replace our pipe beginning on Monday, March 2. They feel so bad that they are donating their labor. The local distributor is donating the pipe - they are very upset with NIBCO. I am so glad that you posted on this forum. I think that this is the tip of the iceburg.

    Question for the moderator: Can we share personal contact info on this site? Sorry for a stupid question but this is the first time I have been involved in this type forum.
     
  18. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    I'm not a moderator but a forum user.
    i would suggest sending those you wish to share contact info with a PM (Private Message) with contact information. Depending on their settings they may get an e-mail stating they have a PM here. It will keep your contact information private and only going to the intended user. If they do not have the e-mail feature activated you will have to wait for them to check back.

    The send a PM scroll up in this thread to a message by the person you want to contact and left click on their user name. A drop down menu will appear and that is how it is done.

    In the upper right corner of your screen there is a place that shows PM's it will tell you when there is one waiting...
    I would also recommend activating the e-mail notification system in your user control panel.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  19. celiason

    celiason New Member

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    Penny,

    I apologize for not contacting you sooner. Please check your Private messages ...

    Celiason
     
  20. Mark T

    Mark T New Member

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    Apr 22, 2009
    having same issue in NC 4 leaks in 6mo

    I am having the same problem 4 leaks in 6mo and price plumbing did the work with cpi pex from furguson plumbing supply and has now supplied me we data showing the pex pipe is failing on the hot water side and must be replaced up to 20 feet from the hot water heater the breaks run the same direction as the pipe lenght i just got price plumbing to fix the 20 feet at my expense and i am now waitng for the drywall repair at my expense
     

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