PEX plumbing connection preferences

Page 1 of 2  
I am getting ready to do some PEX plumbing for the first time and I am learning about the various types of PEX systems and connections. I have done copper and PVC/CPVC plumbing before but I want to learn and start using PEX.
Here's a YouTube video I found that explains 6 types of PEX connections:
PEXsupply.com - 6 types of PEX connections (time 8:35)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwvAzcJpM0k

Which of these types of PEX connection systems would you suggest or recommend? I expect to be doing enough PEX plumbing now and in the future that I am not worried about the cost of the tools. But I would be interested in knowing how the different systems compare in terms of the cost of the fittings, the brand or type of PEX tubing required for each system, etc.
P.S. I also found these two that give more general info about PEX:
Plumbpedia 4 PEX Water Pipe Part 1 (time 6:50)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZyVrw4gV5k

Plumbpedia 4 PEX Water Pipe Part 1 (time 6:50)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJMKVGSFc-Y&NR=1

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Crimp or clamp , clamp I perfer it is all I use.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca wrote:

Thanks. The PEXsupply.com video did say that the HydroPEX clamping tool is the tool that they sell the most.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I bought / buy my supplies from PEXsupply.com. ...they are the best.
Over the last couple years they have improved their online parts ordering, selection..... and now with that informative video, really explain the the range of PEX connection choices
Back when I was started to look at PEX for re-pipes (2005) the info was not neatly collected so I had to gather it all myself.
I did not discover the clamp type system and SharkBites were not widely available.
I chose among these systems at the time: copper ring crimp stainless sleeve crimp PEX ring expander
I settled on Wirsbo / Uponor PEX ring expander system.....not sure exactly why.
I guess I didnt like the idea of squeezing the hell out of the PEX will a metal ring. It made me nervous. Plus I liked the brass fittings & the fact that no external metal part was needed. The only way an expansion connection can fail is:
internal fitting fails PEX material fails
Also Wirsbo/Uponor is a major PEX mfr / supplier, another reason to use their system.
I didn't know (at the time) that plumbers that do a ton of PEX tend to use expander system but I found out later on. I have a hand expander (from ebay used, 3 heads) like the in the video...1/2 or 3/4" expansions are very easy by hand, but 1" expansions are a lot of work, a real struggle but doable.
I think the crimp system is popular with DIY's because the tool is cheaper.
If you're gonna do a lot of PEX....I would go with the Wirsbo/Uponor expansion system and serious consider that battery powered expander. They're rather spendy but super FAST & easy!
I've done a couple houses at this point and using the "home run" design, there are less than 40 connections to make (typical 2 bath house)
Plus (as far as I know) the expansion system is the only one with power tool option.
When I first got my PEX supplies & tool, I made up some connections to play with......they're really strong. My oldest install is 3 years at this point....no problems (yet?) :)
cheers Bob
SharkBites are quite, easy, reliable but kinda expensive for a whole house. I've used them (not for PEX) for "one off" repairs, faster than setting up to sweat a single connection.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks fftt. That's a lot of good information and I appreciate you taking the time to write it.
I'm leaning toward the Wirsbo/Uponor expander system, but I am not completely sure yet. I do like the fact that it appears that many or most professional plumbers use that system.
One thing I am not quite sure about yet is that the video says that the Wirsbo expander system requires PEX-A tubing and cannot be used with regular PEX tubing (or something like that). When I look at the PEXsupply.com website, I don't seem to see anything which states that the PEX tubing they sell is PEX-A as opposed to "regular" PEX. And, when I look in places like Home Depot or Lowes, I don't see anything about PEX-A vs. "regular" PEX tubing in what they sell. Maybe all that anyone sells these days is already PEX-A, but I don't know.
Finding the PEXsupply.com videos on their website is not that easy in my opinion. I originally found them when doing a YouTube search for PEX videos and I had to look at a lot of videos before figuring out that PEXsupply.com seemed to have the best ones. In some of the PEXsupply.com videos they say to "check out our PEX Learning Center on the PEXsupply.com website". I couldn't find anything called that on their website, so I sent them an email a few days ago suggesting that they put a clear tab or link on their home page called "PEX Learning Center" and have links to all of their videos and training info under that tab or link. They did write back right away and said they will consider that in future planning of their website.
Another thing that I am looking into is the possible use of PEX for hot water radiator heating supply and return pipes (not the under-floor radiant heating). Apparently, PEX-Aluminum-PEX is used for that, and the expander system doesn't work with PEX-Aluminum-PEX tubing. I haven't figured out yet if the stainless steel ring crimping system can be used with PEX-Aluminum-PEX, but I'm checking that out.
fftt wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

PEX-A -B or -C refers to the process used to cross link the polymer.
really PEX should be PE-Xa (polyethylene cross linked - process A)
Wirsbo PEX is PEX-A .....I'd stick with their tubing & fittings They call it AquaPEX (they should be more careful with their wording)
here is a website (they dont sell any PEX prodcuts) but I have found their info to be solid (if a bit "old school" / conservative) http://www.plumbingworld.com/pexpipe.html <<<<<< ex
I thought you had found the videos on PEXsupply.com ......... good videos, should be easier to find :(
I haven't been back to PEXsupply.com in over a year but I do know that they are responsive to requests for info & have greatly improved their website since I first went there (2004)
WIrsbo has a lot of info on their website but they are not very responsvie to email or telephone calls...what you find is what you get.
I haven't had the need to do heating system, so I dont know much about the tubing requirements but PEX-A might be ok....but I'd ask Wirsbo / Uponor about heating apps for their AquaPex and their expansion system
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
fftt wrote:

Actually they are very responsive. The local mom & pop plumbing place is a full stocking Wirsbo distributor. I can buy stuff there for less than the online places or big box and when I was doing the radiant heat in the house they gave me a ticket to attend a local sales/training session held by Wirsbo. They demonstrated all of the tooling and techniques and I got the various manuals and engineering design guides and a contact number to call to ask questions. Its also great having local stock because you might be in the middle of a project and forgot to get something. I had that happen late one day and the one owner dropped it off on his way home.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
fftt wrote:

That's an interesting website. Even though it could be considerd to be a little "old school" and conservative, they are right up front about what they believe, why they believe it, etc.
One thing I noticed is that Wirsbo wrote that they only sell their products to plumbing supply houses. I assume that's why I don't see their products in places like Home Depot and Lowes. If that's the case, I'll go to a plumbing supply place in my area (or order online via PEXsupply.com ) to get AquaPEX. That way I'll know I'm getting PEX-A. From everything I've seen so far, PEX-A is a better choice regardless of whether I use the expander system or a crimping or clamping system.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wow, get this....,
Other than buying it online at places like PEXsupply.com, I can NOT find any places where I can buy any Uponor/Wirsbo PEX tubing (AquaPEX) or the expander tools!
I went to the http://Uponor-USA.com website and even THEY don't say where I can buy their products or the expander tool. All they say on their website is that website visitors like me can request that a local installer contact them -- no "find a dealer", no plumbing supply places, etc.
I live in New Jersey (South Jersey), and I tried going to my local plumbing supply place this afternoon. It's one of those walk-up-counter-type plumbing supply places where plumbers go and get what they need They don't sell any Uponor/Wirsbo expander-type PEX tubing, parts, or tools. Two plumbers there said that no plumbers that they know of use it. They said they all use "regular" PEX with crimp rings. The plumbing supply store only stocks Viega (used to be Vanguard) PEX, fittings, and tools or (for use with the same Viega PEX tubing) stainless steel clamps and the tool for that.
Then I went online again and searched for plumbing supply stores in my area. Only one even mentioned the brand Uponor (or Wirsbo -- apparently Uponor's former name). I'm going to check out that one store in person tomorrow to see what they say. None of the other plumbing supply places carry any expansion-type PEX systems, tubing, tools, etc.
After seeing the PEXsupply.com video which said that almost all professional plumbers use the Uponor/Wirsbo expander-type system and tools, I am stunned to find that it is virtually impossible for me to find a place to buy the stuff (except for online).

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

What Exit?
I bought my house and it had Vanguard pex. Contact Ferguson Plumbing for some information. Vanguard was bought-out some months or years ago.
http://www.ferguson.com/index.shtml
They can rent the crimper tool, for a day.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oren wrote:

That's funny. I haven't heard that one in a long time. Exit 5. (For those who are curious, it means what Exit of the New Jersey Turnpike)

I am looking for the Uponor/Wirsbo PEX which is used for the expander-type system as opposed to the crimper system. Vanguard is now Viega.

Thanks. They have a new Cherry Hill location which is near me, and a Turnersville location which is not too far from me. I just called them and they said they do sell Uponor (which I found out is pronounced "EW-pa-noor"). I'm going to go there in person later today to get more info.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I know the company will rent crimping tools (locations vary). Perhaps they have rental available for the expansion tool ?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oren wrote:

I didn't get to go there today, ironically due to a plumbing problem in the property where I want to start doing PEX plumbing (except this was a problem with getting the new PVC drain/sewer lines installed).
If they are open on Saturdays, I may get there tomorrow.
I am not too concerned about the tools because I am willing to buy what I need (except for the battery-operated expander tool -- too many bucks for now, but if anyplace actually rents the battery-operated expander I would definitely rent one and try it).
I went to a different plumbing supply place today that has a broken link on their website to Uponor (which made me think maybe they sell the stuff), but they looked at me like I was from another planet when I asked about AquaPEX, Uponor, Wirsbo, etc., and they said they don't know anyone who stocks it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Plumber's Warehouse in SoCal carries Wirsbo/Uponor tubing, fittings & tools...they didn't carry any PEX supplies a few years ago.
The Californina plumbing code that was adopted by the state Jan 2009 & goes into effect later this year has finally ok'd the use of PEX for residential fresh water. Prior to this about 180 cites allowed the use.
More & more professional plumbing supply houses carry PEX in California. The couple of professional plumbers that I know use Wirsbo & and have the battery powered expanders. In tight quarters, the battery expander is hard to beat, its a one handed tool.....any lever style expander or crimper is at a great disadvantage where space is tight.
I researched PEX for a long time before I made the choice of the Wirsbo expansion system.
cheers Bob
cheers Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
fftt wrote:

I did get to talk with a person yesterday who said he was doing a large plumbing job where the job specs required that they use Uponor (Wirsbo) AquaPEX with the expander, and that he had never used it before. He said that one negative in his opinion was that in 40-degree weather the expanded fittings have a hard time returning to their original size to complete the connection process. But, otherwise, he thought it worked pretty well. I won't be doing any work in 40-degree weather, so that is not an issue for me. He also mentioned what you said -- that with the crimping systems, it is sometimes a problem getting the tool into tight spaces where in it needs to go. But with the xpander, you just do the expansion on the PEX tubing end out in the open and then just plug it into place over the fitting end even in tight spaces. He also metioned that the Uponor fittings have the same internal diameter as the AquaPEX tubing which allows better water flow. With the crimping systems, the fittings go inside the PEX tubing and therefore are a smaller diameter than the PEX tubing -- so the fittings actually reduce the water flow below what the tubing itself could allow.

Based on the research I have been doing, I agree with your choice and I want to do the same. I almost gave up and went with the regular PEX (not PEX-A) and crimping system. But, now I think I can find a local supplier who does stock Uponor (Wirsbo) AquaPEX tubing, fittings, and tools.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Len56 wrote:

produces the best cross linking. The other manufacturer's versions are wannabes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George wrote:

I think you are correct about that based on all that I have researched so far.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I just ran across a link regarding a Zurn PEX class action lawsuit which claims that Zurn PEX fittings and connections are failing. Here's the link:
http://zurnclassaction.com/index.html
I have no idea of the current staus of the case or the validity of the claims.
I'm going to post this as a new thread called "Zurn PEX Class Action Lawsuit" instead of continuing it here.
Here's the lin;

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Len56 wrote:

found didn't want to follow through with Uponor's requirements. I know they won't sell to big box and they are big on educating installers.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Riddle me this. Does your local code, EVEN allow PEX?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.