PEX clamps

I had the opportunity to work with PEX for the first time last week. I personally dont much care for the stuff. I want solid pipe in my house. However a friend is building a summer cottage and dont know anything about plumbing. I said I'd give him a hand. He was talked into PEX at the building supply store. I suggested he return the stuff and get copper but he said that he was told that the PEX wont crack if it freezes. I have serious doubts about that being true. Even if the PEX itself dont crack, the fittings will.
Anyhow, he said he wanted to use it, so I had to learn how myself since I never used it. He did not have the tool to tighten those clamps and the tool was $100 for EACH size (1/2 and 3/4). So instead of using them, he returned them and bought some snap in plastic fittings that hold the pipe tight once it's pushed in. Seeing those things made my skin crawl. How in the heck that can be considered a tight fitting is beyond me. He does not have the well drilled yet so I wonder if that will hold up or not. He just wanted to get the pipes in the walls so he could sheetrock them.
Anyhow, when I looked at those tools to crimp the rings in the store, I saw there are two different tools and two different types of clamps. One clamp is simply a ring of steel that apparently just gets smaller once it's in the tool. The other clamps have a piece that sort of overlaps on the edges and looks somewhat like an automotive hose clamp. That left me asking which is better, and why? Come to think of it, why cant hose clamps be used rather than spending all that money on those tools?
Like I said earlier, I dont put any faith in PEX. To me it seems like plumbing a house with garden hoses. I'll stick to real metal pipes for water supply and pvc for drains. I run a farm and use garden hoses for livestock water tanks, in which they are left on all the time in warm weather. I have seen far to many of these garden hoses split and blow up outdoors. Of course outdoors is not as bad as indoors. PEX might be a little stiffer, but it still is a hose, not a true pipe. Of course these days everything is plastic and everyone wants to save a buck. Although in this case the PEX was cheap but those snap in fittings were close to $5 each. I think copper would have been comparable in price and a much better choice, but each to their own......
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On Oct 22, 4:37 am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

PEX has been used successfully in this country for many years. Much longer in Europe. Not sure what the connection between garden hoses and PEX is. You don't have a PEX garden hose do you? Kinda like comparing galvanized to copper or something like that. 5 or 10 years ago, plumbers would tell me that using PEX vs. copper was a wash, copper having lower material cost but higher labor cost. Now with the sky high cost of copper, I don't think anyone in their right mind is plumbing with all copper any more. When copper first came out, I'm sure there were people just like you who called it junk and stuck to their tried and true lead.
Your friend made the right choice. Do tell him though to air test his system before he covers it up and save himself some grief. (this would be true with copper too.) If he can't figure out how, he probably shouldn't be plumbing.
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wrote:

It's weird that PEX has been used for so many years and yet hardly no one even heard of it until about 2 years ago. It's like hose because that is basically what it is. Hoses are flexible, pipes are solid. I can not call PEX a pipe, it's not. It's a hose. Like I said, it's more rigid and appears stronger than a garden hose, but it's still not pipe. If I had to re-plumb my house right now with copper prices high, I'd still use the copper or if I absolutely could not afford it, I'd go back to galvanized steel pipe.

I am sure we can hook a compressor to it. I wonder how many pounds of pressure those plastic fittings will handle. Those things seem really weak and it sure does not take much to release the pipe by pushing down on that rung that surrounds the pipe. To me, they are fine for a temporary situation but not permanent.
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Hi, Just your opinion. Looks like you are very old fashioned. PEX plumbing around here carries 60 psi water pressure typical. Of course leak testing was done at higher pressure. My brother- in-law is commercial HVAC estimator dealing with multi-million $ projects. He says PEX is good stuff.
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I am just learning about PEX and have never used it. But a lot of people I know who are doing real estate rehabs are all saying that PEX is the way to go. I thought, if nothing else, using PEX would cheapen the value of the finished house, but they all seem to think that's not true.
I've been doing Internet searches about PEX and noticed that the layout of the plumbing lines is typically different with PEX vs. copper. With PEX, they often use a "home run" approach where all of the PEX lines originate at a main distribution point near the water source (I forget what it's called), then each line goes directly to the fixture or individual bathroom or kitchen. I think it saves on using numerous connections and splt-offs and is supposed to provide better flow and less pressure drop when more than one line is in use.
All of this is just what I am starting to read about, so I don't know what the real deal is.
wrote:

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On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 10:39:43 -0400, "BETA-32"

To me, PEX is something used in trailer homes. Real houses use rigid pipe. Either copper (preferred) or galv. steel. Yes, I might be old fashioned, and my advanced age may have something to do with it. But these days everything is some sort of plastic and nothing seems to last more than a few years anymore. I go to lots of auctions. I see old machinery, tools, and things like that. Many are 50 or more years old and are still in excellent shape, because they are made of METAL. Nopw tell me of any plastic tool that will be alive in 50 years. For example, I bought a plastic snow shovel. Two snowstorms later it was broke and in the garbage. I bought another, more expensive plastic shovel. That one lasted a few more months but broke too. I then bought a new metal one. The whole shovel was metal, with a wooden shaft and a plastic grip handle. The shovel and the wood held up fine, the damn plastic handle broke in no time. I replaced the handle with steel (at a cost of almost as much as the whole shovel), and no more problems. Plastics are NOT building materials, are not tools. Plastics are for toys, cheap temporary disposible items, and for garbage bags whose life is limited to the time from the source to the dump. Additiionally, we are all paying high prices for gasoline these days, and besides fuels, crude oil is the main ingredient in all plastics. We constantly hear about conserving gas, yet they are dumping half the crude oil into making plastics that will soon fill a dump.

Ya, the manifold approach is used and supposedly makes for better water pressure. I can agree with that, but at the same time how many homes have numerous plumbing fixtures all being used at once? I am sure a few do, like homes with many kids and adults getting ready for work/school in the morning, but for most of us, pressure is not an issue.

I am reading about it too, only because of helping this friend install it. I am not sold on it. If I had to replace my own plumbing right now, I'd use copper. I doubt I will ever be "sold" on it. It's still a plastic, and plastics are never as good as metals.

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Actually, the grey polybutelene (PB) pipe was most commonly used in trailer homes. It didn't have a long track record, and did develop problems after a few years. (Got brittle and crumbled after a while I think). In our old mobile home, the problems were caused by staples shot into the water lines by the builders... :)
PEX is a cross-linked polyethelene that has been around for more than 30 years for radiant heating and potable water supplies. It has a long track record of reliability.

First, copper is getting rather expensive these days (pipe, wire, etc.). More importantly, copper is prone to damage from freezing, and develops pinhole leaks when exposed to acidic water. It also requires a torch to sweat the connections, which is a very real fire risk.
As for galvanized, it rusts and corrodes badly. Leaks are common, and it slowly fills up with rust till the water supply is completely cut off. I just replaced the entire plumbing system at my in-laws house because the pipes had rusted to the point they didn't have water anymore. Galvanized is also slow and difficult to install.

Plastic lasts a very long time (100+ years supposedly). The problem is when it's used in "stress" situations. In other words, tools and other items that rely on strength shouldn't be made of plastic.

Go take a look at copper prices... :)

I don't know if it helps with water pressure, but the main reason for the manifold system is to reduce the number of fittings in the system (the most likely failure point).

Dishwasher is washing dishes, refrigerator is filling the ice tray, I just flushed the toilet, and am washing my hands. It's not difficult to use multiple fixtures, even if you live alone.

I researched the many plumbing options when we plumbed our house.
Copper was the obvious choice, but our acidic water would quickly cause problems with copper pipe. Sweating the joints is also a fairly slow and laborious process, and I wasn't crazy about wielding a torch in our brand new house. Too easy to start a fire. In addition, copper was already getting expensive by that time.
I was very interested in PEX, but at the time it was difficult to find locally and the tool required for the fittings was expensive. I opted not to use PEX because the supplies were not readily available, which meant long delays if I needed something I didn't have. I also didn't want to have problems in the future if I needed to make repairs or alterations.
In the end, I went with CPVC plumbing. It's inexpensive, widely available, quick and easy to install, doesn't require any special tools, is lightweight, and impervious to acidic water. However, knowing that plastic often breaks under stress, I used brass drop ear elbows at each fixture.

Different materials for different purposes.
Plastic excels in situations where you need light weight and resistance to corrosion.
Metal is better for items that need strength to endure physical stresses.
I wouldn't want a plastic rake anymore than I want steel garbage bags. :)
Anthony
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On Oct 22, 5:33 am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Your friend made the right choice. I just did a re-pipe with it using a PEX "home run" system.
Installation is way faster than copper. The system only has connections at the manifold & the angle stop. Continuous tube runs, no extra joints to leak. Any fixture (actually hot or cold) can be turned off independently of any other fixtures. Great for re-pipes & remodels
Do you use PVC for sprinkler lines / garden plumbing? Or do you use copper?
Different materials for different applications.
I researched PEX & worried about using in vs copper on my re-pipe. I'm an old school guy so I was really leaning towards copper since I've used it all my life. I finally made the decision to go with PEX; easily install in an existing house & easier to implement the home run design.
I'm not sure about PEX not cracking if it freezes. Its more flexible than copper but I doubt that its freeze proof & I wouldn't want to depend on that.
I used the brass fittings & the expander system.
If your friend hasn't done the install I would suggest he switch to the expander system and use the brass ProPex fititngs
www.pexsupply.com has a great selection of supplies
Expander tools can be rented or bought (used) on Ebay & then re-sold.
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

I installed it for the radiant heating system in my house over 10 years ago.
It is actually called tubing and not hose. That coil of soft copper tubing going to the ice maker on your fridge isn't a hose either.
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I replumbed a cabin with Pex a few years back after finding the existing copper pipes burst after being abandoned for a winter without drainage. Since I had to remove all the rotted flooring, much of the subfloor and sills, plus the lower wall converings, it was not a process I wanted to repeat.
I talked with many local builders and plumbing folks (my wife is in an associated biz) before deciding on Pex. I used the Wirsbo clamps that "overlap", with a special crimping tool - see links below. However, the Wirsbo tool I bought covers all sizes of clamps, since it operates like a set of pliers with a ratcheting release. I was told they were the easiest to use, and I sure didn't have any issues with it. I bought it since my plumbing task was spread out over several weekends, and rentals were spendy.
I have sweated a few copper lines from helping friends do occassional plumbing work, but Pex is a lot easier to work with. When starting, take a brass connector, put a short length of Pex on it, and test the crimping of the clamp. Then use a set of snips to remove the clamp in a few seconds if it needs to be redone (like when I mounted a valve in reverse, d'oh). Piece of cake.
http://www.pexsupply.com/categories.asp?cID91&brandid http://www.pexsupply.com/product_dtl.asp?pID776&brand=Watts&cID91
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On Oct 22, 7:33 am, snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

I have done probaly close to 60 homes and cottages in it works fine much easier than copper and no torch, To pressure test use 50 psi and listen for leaks , no you can't use hose clamps as they won't hold well over time tried it on a experiment. Get used to it all homes now are done in it Not sure if the use of compression fittings inside wall if that is what you used wouldn't do it any other way than the rings rent the tool depot here rents it. If this cottage is a ways out then buy it as the day you need it for whatever reason you have it. Not going to racing into town is nice .
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Just to point out here, that there is a PEX tubing that I believe come in 100' rolls and might be considered hose; AND there are PEX tubing sticks that come in 20' sticks. One might consider the 20' sticks, a 20' PEX pipe.
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Hi, My 4 season cottage is plumbed with PEX, almost 10 years old now. No problem at all. I rented crimping tool when I work on it. You compare garden hose to PEX tubing? Gee Whiz!
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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com wrote:

Use this: http://www.pexcrimper.com /
I love mine.
a
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You're not alone in your mistrust of PEX. Many local jurisdictions simply do not allow it by code. I live in such a place here PEX is not allowed. I suppose it's OK stuff, but I'm glad my house has copper. What if PEX turns out to be the equivlent on aluminum wiring in the future?

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Hose clamps will not develop nearly enough pressure for a proper connection with PEX tubing. The crimpers can generally be rented from rental services or the people who sell the PEX.
I remember when plumbers said nothing would last except galvanized supply pipe and cast iron drain pipe with oakum and lead joints and I have installed my share of both. I am pretty sure that electricians thought Romex cable was not near as safe as a good knob-and-tube wiring system. Just look how close those wires are together with nothing but plastic between them!!
I understand your concerns and even share them somewhat, but I really think Pex will turn out fine if properly installed. I don't know if you have experienced pinhole leaks in copper pipes, but I had one in my water heater closet and have seen a lot under ground and in concrete.
Don Young
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Pex reportedly doesn't sweat like pvc or unwrapped copper. Does anybody have that experience. I have a well house with condensation issues and was considering using Pex.
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Thought I would throw this into the mix. If you buy or rent a PEX style crimping tool, you should also get a Go/No Go gage. These will tell you if you have it set properly.
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