Hi...new to working with PEX and am putting in a new bathroom. I need
to add some T's to the 3/4 inch lines and run 1/2 inch lines to sink,
toilet shower etc. I have noticed some fittings sold comes with the
black and gold copper crimp rings. (I know gold is used for
Polybutylene and black is used for PEX). I have also noticed you can
buy the single ear Stainless Steel Clamps.
My questions relates to the clamping/crimping system used. Which is
better and are their recommendations for use of copper vs stainless
The crimping tool for the copper rings is much more expensive than the
crimper for the single ear stainless rings...any idea why?
Is this what you mean by a single ear clamp:
We are a hardware store in Alaska and sell a lot of these. This company
makes both of the clamps you describe and say that they work equally well.
Our experience says that they are correct.
The tool for stainless rings is smaller than the one for the copper rings.
That's why it is cheaper. Because it is smaller, it is much easier to use
in confined spaces.
Thanks...this is exactly what I am referring too. I am going to go
with the Single Ear Stainless...they seem must easier to use, I have
heard they provide a better seal and the tool is smaller and can fit
in tight spaces.
I have never worked with PEX. It is slowly catching on here and is being
used in some new houses, but I have no idea of the percentage using it
vs copper. I have been curious about it for some time. I worked on soda
systems for about 20 years and the lines, fittings, etc appear similar,
though they were only 1/4" and 3/8" ID, and very rarely a couple of
1/2". The fittings were all stainless though. They used a crimp ring
that looks like the ones shown, which semed to work fine. Of course none
of it was hot--just room temperature and cold. The syrup was under less
pressure than most household water lines, but the carbonated water was
more. Anyone in here familiar with soda systems (and PEX) who can tell
me about the differences/similarities of the two? Thanks Larry
I've seen the steel rings, You aren't referring to the Zurn crimp rings that
replaced the old black copper rings? If you are I'm leary of those from the
standpoint that iron on brass may promote corrosion and/or weakening of the
joint over time through dissimilar metal corrosion. I can't say if that's a
concern though, I've never seen them in action.
The Home Depot here sells two PB/PEX fittings, a straight coupler and a
tee. The tee lets you cut a PB line and add a PEX line. The coupler
lets you convert from PB to PEX. Everything else is PEX-only.
The PB/PEX fittings come with the crimp rings, but for other PEX
fittings you need to buy your own rings.
The copper crimping tool is a large heavy precision device. It's also
adjustable so you can keep the crimped diameter within specs as the tool
wears. There is a 0.015 inch range of acceptable crimp diameters. It's
expensive to buy, but HD rents them for CDN$8 for 4 hours and CDN$11 per
The stainless ring tool is smaller and lighter. It only has to grab an
"ear" on the ring and crimp that. I don't know much else about it.
If you're going to be doing mixed PB/PEX work, you need the copper
crimper for the PB copper rings anyway. They are a different thickness
from the PEX copper rings, so I don't think you can use the stainless
rings for PB fittings. That, combined with the fact that HD doesn't
rent the stainless crimping tool, made the choice easy for me.
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