Ok, so you don't know much about PEX and the fact that it was becoming
popular over copper even when it was more expensive due to much faster
and easier installation and fewer joints to potentially leak.
You also don't know much about copper since you have the grades
backwards. Type "M" is the thinnest wall and cheapest, type "L" is a
medium wall thickness and type "K" is the heaviest wall thickness and
the most expensive. Type "K" is rarely found outside of commercial
Welcome to my world <ggg>. Around here, you can't use the thinner stuff
inside of walls, but it's approved for areas like basements where you can
easily access it. If you compare them, you find the L is much thicker than
the M, and unfortunately much more expensive.
The nice thing about running all of this copper everywhere is that I'll
have died of old age before it needs any maintenance :)
Sharkbite connectors are horribly overpriced/expensive. I considered PEX
until I found out how much the connectors cost. If you can find an
inexpensive way to join PEX tubing, it will be much more cost effective.
You can get connector kits and make your own, but I don't know how much
those cost per connector.
Copper. One main reason - I don't trust the PEX connection process. The
push on connectors use rubber o-rings to make a seal. Know what rubber o-
rings do after 20 years? Yeah - they leak. The clamp fittings clamp the pex
to pipe, but again you are clamping flexible pex to pipe, and it's going to
leak sooner or later. My copper job will be in this house working
flawlessly when I've died of old age. An equivalent PEX installation will
be leaking like a sieve by then.
I may be wrong, but I've seen a lot of clamped pipes and o-rings in my
time, and they all leak sooner or later. Until they come up with a
inexpensive PEX connector that will last 50 years, I won't use it anyplace
that I can't get to it quickly and easily for maintenance. Keep that in
mind before you seal PEX into a wall - when it leaks, you will have to tear
the wall out, and if that happens you will wish you had used copper (at
least I wished they had used copper - I would not have had the broken
platic pipe to start with). My neighbor is likewise cursing cpvc - he had a
similar experience a while ago with breaking cpvc in a wall.
I also admit to some bias against plastics in general. I just spent a week
ripping out cpvc and replacing it with copper. We had a pipe break inside
of a wall and it made quite a mess. I'm not sure why it broke nor how
durable the cpvc is supposed to be, but I do know I'm not the only one
around here with broken cpvc, and I also know my copper job will be there
for many years without leaks.
How do they install it on a commercial or large job? I'm guessing they make
their own connections and that these connections are much cheaper then
I actually have a half dozen sharkbites. I used them to cap pipes so I
still had water to half the house while I was working on the plumbing - I
found them to be *very* handy for this. Pop them on, pipe sealed. Pop them
right off when done. Then when I went to pressure test my work, grab a
sharkbite cap and pop it on, test my pipes, pop it right off when done.
They are very usefull in the right place :-)
There are several different connection types used for PEX connections
depending on the manufacturer and none of those standard connections are
like the "Sharkbite" ones. There are a couple varieties of crimp
connections and at least one type that uses an expansion tool to briefly
expand the PEX to fit over the connection and the PEX then contracts
solidly over it. All have been in use for a number of years now with no
On the subject of the "Sharkbite" style connectors, they are essentially
the same as the push lock connectors that have been used in both
industrial automation pneumatics as well as in heavy truck air brake
systems for many years with no apparent issues there either. As long as
they are made with proper QC and proper material selection, there is no
reason that they should not outlast the life of the tubing itself.
On the tubing life subject, I will note that in hard water areas copper
pipe / tube will have a much shorter life span than PEX.
It is becoming popular in new construction for its ease of
It is usually less expensive than copper piping... The advantage to
using PEX piping is that rather than routing pipes starting in one
in your home and going from fixture to fixture (which can have water
traveling quite far through your entire home to get to the last
your pipes) PEX piping is installed in a "home run" configuration with
each fixture location getting its own PEX pipe run to it from the
distribution manifold... What this means is that there are NO
connections/joints in the walls of your home piped with PEX, only the
at the manifold and the one at the pipe stub for the shutoff at the
location... When something leaks and the shutoff under your sink or
toilet won't hold, with PEX you can shut off only that one fixture
compared to having to shut off the water in your entire house with a
typical copper pipe installation...
Yes... Since PEX has been used for years in underfloor heating
it is fine for hot water... The standard has become blue PEX tubing
cold and red PEX tubing for hot water...
Why not use it in your home... Think of it as a "structured plumbing
system" with superior performance to the copper piping it has
With a PEX plumbed house you don't have to wait for hot water to go
through all of the pipes in your house to get to a distant fixture, as
each fixture is basically on its own pipe...
If a leak ever happens you have the ability with PEX to shutoff ONLY
the affected line, with copper piping it is usually ALL or NONE as far
as shutting off the water flow...
That makes me laugh a bit.
Standing at the counter one day, telling the man I needed "red and
blue" PEX. He said he didn't have any red PEX. I was a PEX virgin.
A plumber guy at the end of the counter said to use white. Smacked
myself in the forehead. I extended both hot and cold five foot with
white lines (remember hot/cold sides).
It don't have to be red or blue.. white will do.
That red/blue PEX tubing convention is more of a way of idiot proofing
installation... Rather than pulling each tube individually, you would
pull both at once...
It helps for later, when all the walls are closed in to be sure that
what you think is the hot feed is really the hot feed and that the
pair of tubes hasn't gotten twisted up and swapped somewhere
along its route from manifold to fixture stub...
But if you want to use a bunch of white tubes, go nuts, using
PEX for water supply is not like doing heating loops, as hot
must feed hot and cold must feed cold... If you confuse one
end of a heating loop for the other it still forms a closed loop
under the floor... If you connect the wrong PEX tube to the
wrong manifold because they are poorly labeled or you can't
tell which one is the left one or right one up at the fixture
when you are down in the basement at the water manifold
hooking it up, that is why people use red PEX for hot and
blue PEX for cold...
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