I'm replacing 44' of buried 3/4 galvanized water pipe to the water meter
at the sidewalk.
Looks like PEX is the way to go.
But the inside diameter of 3/4" galvanized is about the
same as 1" PEX.
1" is quite a bit more expensive, but it's a small
part of the total cost.
People at hardware stores say, "just use 3/4", it'll be fine."
Comment on that???
Then there's the problem of having a tiny variety of PEX
"sharkbite" type fittings. They don't even carry a 1" female to
PEX fitting at the Big Box stores.
I'm also concerned about the stiffness of the 1" making it harder
to install and easier for movement in the earth, etc. to pull it out
of the fitting.
Are the sharkbite fittings strong enough to bury? They say they are,
but are they really?
serious potential problem to me. The fitting at the meter is a straight
shot and visible in the meter box.
The one at the house has to go down to get to 24". Any compaction of the
soil below the pipe could allow tremendous pressure pulling the pipe
out of the connector.
Am I worrying too much?
Techniques for mitigating that problem?
Are the clamp-type fittings better? I hate to buy a tool to
make two crimps of the circular stuff, but the ones with the
protrusion that you squeeze should be easy enough.
Are there different brands/types of PEX? Can I just go down
to Home Depot and buy some? Or do I have to worry about vendors
and grades and types and and and?
Instead of buying a bunch of sharkbite fittings, why not just buy
yourself a PEX crimping tool, and that way you'll have the tool you need
to do repairs on your PEX plumbing in future. You can buy them for
under $100 nowadays.
If it wuz me, and it didn't cause any other problems, I would run 1 inch
pex tubing through your house and branch off to the kitchen, bathroom
and laundry rooms with 1 X 1 X 3/4 inch tees. Then branch off those 3/4
inch lines with 3/4 X 3/4 X 1/2 inch tees for the kitchen faucet hot and
cold and dish washer hot lines. Ditto in the laundry room; branch off
your 3/4 inch supply with 1/2 inch lines for both the washer hot and
cold and the laundry room sink hot and cold supply lines.
They did the same thing in my building (21 suite apartment block) when
they built it, but they started with 1 1/2 inch hot and cold water
supply pipes. They did that so that every tenant can have full water
pressure at their shower head when getting ready for work in the
morning, and full water pressure in their kitchen sink when washing
dishes in the evening. If it was all done with 1/2 inch copper pipe the
way some cheap houses are built now, tenants would be fighting over
The obvious advantage in doing that is that each 3/4 inch supply line
can supply full flow to TWO fixtures, sinks or appliances at the same
time, and so you don't have to be concerned about being scalded in the
shower if someone flushes the toilet, or the dish washer not working
having enough water pressure to pressure wash the food off the dishes
because the washing machine was filling at the time, etc.
But, truth be told, even if you did it with 3/4 inch Pex and branched
off with 1/2 inch supply lines, you'd seldom have a problem with water
pressure because you seldom open any faucet wide open, and even if you
do, the aerator on sink faucets, shower head or the resistance to flow
through water mixing valves restricts the flow anyway. A wide open
bathroom sink faucet with a water saver aerator on it will only have
between 1 and 2 gallons of water coming out of it per minute. They
don't have aerators on bathtub spouts cuz then you'd have the water
running for an hour before you could have a bath.
I'm talking TWO, count 'em TWO fittings. If I can count on
sharkbite not to leak, the decision is easy.
It all boils down to whether the sharkbite is reliable when buried
outside. If it leaks, it won't destroy walls/ceilings. And I can easily
get it at to fix it.
There seem to be two camps. People who want to sell me services
don't get paid if I can just shove the pipe into the fitting.
Fittings salesmen seem to like it. And they sell me something
whether I use sharkbite or clamps.
That's the kind of FUD that I'm getting from those trying to sell me
their labor. My dishwasher pressure is determined by the pump.
It ain't washing while it's filling. Input pressure/flow only affects
the time it takes to fill.
I could write a dissertation to answer your questions but I'll do the
I designed my first PEX re-pipe in early 2007. I bought all the
materials & an expander tool.
I chose to use WirsboPEX expansion system. At the last minute I
wimped out and had a plumber & his crew do the install after I'd done
all the demo and built all the hard copper terminations.
About 6 months later my buddy & I did the re-pipe of his ex-wife's
We replaced the mainline (~35') with 1" PEX
BTW Ed helped me work through some of my pre-PEX jitters.
Here's what I'd suggest
Go with the 1" PEX supply line ... at 15 gpm the 3/4" will drop about
12psi over 44ft.
A 1" PEX mainline will give you awesome garden hose flow. :)
If you use sharkbites & if you're worried about soil subsidence just
compact the soil as you backfill a few inches at time.
Sharkbitea are fine... I've never heard or read about a failure. I've
never had a failure.
I chose expansion type connections... just slip on a doubler ring,
expand the PEX & insert the fitting. Nothing to crimp, nothing to
You should be able to rent an expansion tool. I bought one on ebay.
I kept it for the re-work & add-ons and other jobs but I haven't used
it in about a year.
more info here
or post again if I missed something
Sounds like the local ACE Hardware here. Everytim I go in
some knucklehead runs over to "help" and starts asking all
kinds of dumb questions. My favorite is the one that explained
to me how residential water systems work at about 2 PSI.
That line should be 1". Around here, new construction, they
pull 1" poly from the street. Seems reasonable. If you run
3/4" to upstairs bathrooms, seems the whole house should
I'd use regular PEX fittings. Did you check rental places,
like HD to see if you can rent the tool? Or how about Ebay?
You can buy one and sell it on Ebay if you like later.
What size are you connecting to? If it is 1", I'd go with 1", but if
it is already 3/4" there is not gain on using the 1" downstream.
Sharkbite fittings work well, I'd bury them or I'd rent a pex tool. I
don't know how well you'd do with a tool with no practice and I've not
used one myself. This is not the place to practice though, you want
to be sure it holds. .
I agree there probably isn't much gain, but even if he has
a 3/4 reduction at the street, there will still be less pressure
drop with a long line of 1" than with 3/4". Probably not
enough that it offers any benefit. I'd be very surprised if
a 1" connection isn't available at the street.
If it were me, I'd forget about PEX, the tools, etc. Get
1" poly and use barb fittings. That is what has been used
here to connect to municipal water systems for decades
now. Don't know of any problems with it. And it's the
Also, when considering 1" vs 3/4", some things that could
make a big differene:
lawn sprinkler system runnning off it?
water use outside the house off a wide open spigot?
things like that you will see a big difference.
On 5/29/2013 5:02 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Be surprised, cuz the meter tail is 3/4" fittings.
Quick measurement says that the ID of 3/4" galvanized pipe
is 3/4". The ID of 1" PEX is about 3/4".
Don't have a 3/4" PEX to measure, but it's gonna be smaller than
The area goes as the square of the radius. So, 70% of the
radius gives you HALF of the area. And I expect flow goes down
faster than that because of surface friction.
till I die.
I plumbed a 100' 5/8" water hoze from the meter to an outside
spigot to get the water back on. Water flow is about as good
as it was before.
I expect that 3/4" PEX is plenty, but the extra cost of 1"
is noise level compared to the cost of trenching or pulling it.
The downside is that it's harder to find fittings and tools
are more costly. It chaps me to pay over $100 for a tool
to crimp two connections. The expander tools are way more
than that. And if it's like most other things in the world,
by the time I need it again, the whole pipe system will be
The world seems well polarized on the sharkbite stuff.
Some think it works good lasts a long time.
Others, particularly those wishing to sell me their labor
don't like it.
Sounds like another great lib idea. They think if by
chance once a month someone happens to be flushing
a toilet and running two sinks, while you're talking a shower
and they make it so you get screwed while you're in
there, it will lead to water conservation. More likely to
lead to domestic violence, IMO.
Practice is no biggie. Just wastes a foot of PEX and maybe a $3 connector
if I screw up cutting off the previous attempt.
My fear about Sharkbite is bending or pulling.
The pipe ain't all that flexible and will make a tight bend up from
24" to the house. That's gonna put side thrust on the joint.
And when the dirt settles, it's gonna have some pull force on it.
I've found bend supports for the 3/4" stuff but not for 1".
As to size, all depends on your water pressure so no-one can say.
3/4" is normally big enough unless your water pressure is
Also the plastic pipe doesn't crud up like steel.
If the ground is soft, the normal practice is to lay the pipe wavy
from one side of the trench to the other. Also backfill the trench
with 6" of sand around the pipe.
So there is some"slack" to take up if the ground moves.
I replaced my old service line years ago years ago with 3/4 inch glued
PVC. I stiff armed it to the water meter. Enough is enough when it
comes to things like this. If this old place catches on fire a 6 inch
fire hydrant in the front yard wouldn't save it. We worry about enough
water then the code calls for water savings devices.
The deposits caused by hard water that can build up in pipes is
You might look at some old water bills to determine your daily usage
and try to calculate your peak flow and work back from there.
The best plumbing improvements I've made .. putting in a straight
shot for the hot water to the kitchen sink, and a big tank toilet. Damn
I got tired of waiting for hot water and having to flush twice or three
I just repiped from the pump to the pressure tank in my house using Pex and
got all my supplies from Pex Universe. http://www.pexuniverse.com/ (no
connection with them, except I send them money and they send me stuff) They
had a good selection of fittings and the prices were better than most. The
quality of the fittings was also very good with well made threads on the
NPT parts of fittings.
I will confess to buying a crimping tool kit as I plan on using it in the
future. I took a look at that expander and the clich systems and had money
concerns about the former and read about some cracking issues with the
latter. I cannot comment on the Sharkbites as my only experience with them
is emergency repairs on copper connections, but they did fine in that
Many years ago I had to replace a water line that ran down the side of
a hill to a mobile home:( Digging was horrible 150 feet of ROCK:( the
line had to be relocated because the hill was moving.
So I ran the copper line inside of a plastic PVC sewer pipe, figuring
it would be protected and very easy to replace......
The OP should go with one inch PEX inside of sewer pipe, to protect
the plastic pipe and prevent a future big dig
I think that, given the choice, I would go with the 1" instead of 3/4".
Like you said, it is only a one time cost and the difference isn't all that
much compared to the whole job.
As others suggested, it may be a good idea to go to a plumbing supply place
near you (such as a Ferguson's etc. or whatever is near you). They will
have the selection of Sharkbite fittings you need if that is an issue.
You can definitely rent a PEX crimping or clamping tool at places like Home
Around here, hardly anyone stocks or uses Uponor (was Wirsbo) PEX, but they
do carry it at Ferguson's. My understanding is that it is used a lot in
other parts of the country, and everything I have read about it makes me
want to use it -- except that the expander tool is expensive (I don't know
the rental cost). If you watch the Uponor YouTube videos, it looks like an
interesting product. I do think that Uponor PEX costs more than other brand
PEX products, and only Uponor can be use the expander system. One feature
of the Uponor PEX is that the fittings have the same inside diameter as the
PEX tubing itself -- so the water flow is not constricted at the fittings
like it is with other PEX products. They show that on some of their videos.
Well, I wonder what they mean by that. I am pretty sure though that, while
"PEX is PEX", the PEX that can be installed using the expansion method is
made using a special different process which is partly why it may be priced
a little higher. And, I think (but I don't know for sure) that only Uponor
makes that type of PEX (that can be installed using the expansion method).
I think Uponor calls that "AquaPEX" (their brand name), and I think that
type of PEX is called PEX-a. PEX-a is made with one type of process, while
"regular" PEX (which is actually PEX-b) which is a different process.
"Regular" PEX -- meaning "PEX-b", the PEX that they sell at Home Depot,
Lowes, and lots of other places (including plumbing supply places like
Ferguson's) -- cannot be installed using the expansion method that can be
used with Uponor PEX.
Uponor AquaPEX (which is PEX-a) can be installed with the same fittings and
using either a crimping or clamping method that can be used with any other
PEX tubing (including PEX-b). The difference is that Uponor AquaPEX can
also be installed using an expander system and using Uponor ProPEX fittings.
Since the Ferguson's near you said, "All the PEX they sell is pretty much
the same as you get at home depot.", I wonder if that means that they do not
sell Uponor PEX that can be installed using the expansion method. That's
fine, if that's what they mean. On my last check, the Ferguson's near me
only stocks "regular" PEX which is pretty much the same as HD or Lowes PEX
etc. They told me that is because not many people in my area use the Uponor
PEX and the expansion installation method. But, they do sell Uponor PEX
which uses the expansion method and they can have delivered to their
location from their warehouse the next day for pickup. Maybe your
Ferguson's works the same way, and maybe that's what they meant.
I only mention this because, if you do the research, I think you'll find
that all PEX is not the same -- most is, but the Uponor/expansion type is
different and is the only one that can be installed using the expansion
technique. The Uponor YouTube videos explain that and
http://www.pexsupply.com/resources/videos has some videos on the same
That sounds like a workable solution for what you want to do.
My comments on the Uponor AquaPEX stuff is not intended to suggest that you
need to use that or that there is any problem with what you are planning on
doing. I just wanted to pass on the info in general since there really are
different types of PEX tubing that are used for regular plumbing (PEX-a and
PEX-b, for example). I think the Ferguson's near you would confirm that if
you ask them in detail, but they probably only deal with and stock mostly
the "regular" PEX-b product that is similar to what HD and Lowes etc. sells.
And, just for the record, as the http://www.pexsupply.com/resources/videos
videos show, there are also different types of PEX for different
applications such as for baseboard heating systems, etc.
Good luck in your project. Let us know how it works out.
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