I'm rehabbing a bathroom on the second floor of my old house in
Philadelphia, and I'm running all new supply lines. I'll be tapping
into copper in the basement, and I have a wide open chase to get to
the second floor. What should I run? Copper is getting awfully
expensive these days, and I'm curious about the cpvc and pex. The
simplicity really appeals to me. What's the word on the reliability
of the plastics? Are they really easier to work with? What about
durability? Am I going to have to make sure that all the connections
are easily accessible? I'm just curious about general opinions people
have and what to watch out for. Thanks,
CPVP is the lease expensive way to go. Plex isn't all that expensive
until you start adding fittings. When I relocated our water heater
from under the stairs to our utility room I used cpvc. Copper would
have cost a fortune. The thing I noticed was that even thoug the
water heater was farther away hot water hit the faucets faster. I am
sure it is because it didn't have to heat up the copper along the way
every time a faucet was turned on. I would reccomend doing the whole
bathroom in CPVC. Do NOT do hot in CPVC and cold in PVC. It is not
worthe the headaches to mix the two.
all the HDs and lowes around here sell PEX. Sharkbite fittings, including T
s, ball valves and adapters make plumbing very easy. Pex can freeze and tha
w without damage.
pex flexes around obstacles extremely easily.
I fixed some frozen copper lines replacing them with PEX. got one bathroom
and laundry working for a realtive. have more to do perhaps this weekend.
we accidently reveresed the hot and cold lines to the bathroom, just used t
he sharkbites to fix that. Snap snap all done.
I am going to relocate some lines in a crawlspace, install a vent in the fl
oor to allow some warm air to enter the crawlspace, and insulate some of th
e crawlspace. We can easily relocate the pex to interior heated space, but
theres still a drain trap that freezes in the crawl space. so insulating an
d heating it might be the better option.
I'm running all new supply lines. I have a wide open chase to get
Plastic pipe is reliable and easy to install. I don't think it is
more durable than metal pipe but time will only tell since it a newer
product. I do know that they used to use copper in hdyronic systems
and failures were frequent. Now plastic is the only material used.
If your pipe is buried in slab or otherwise protected the plastic will
last. If you pipe is inside a wall and therfore exposed to possible
rodent damage then maybe metal pipe is safer.
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My house is 10 years old and is all PEX with a manifold. To my
knowledge there has never been a leak. When we did a bath remodel it
was simple to work with. I can say PEX is a reliable product.
I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. Thomas A. Edison
I just finished re-plumbing my old galvanized pipes and I used PEX. If you
search a little on this group you'll probably find a few of my old posts on
this very topic. I waver back and forth between PEX and copper, reliability
is a big question in my mind, the issues with Polybutalene are too real and
in my mind PEX MIGHT possibly have the same problems??? I still went with
it, it's a snap to install, can be very wasteful when it comes to the
tubing, but the tubing is very cheap. Common fittings are available locally
and are reasonably inexpensive. Personally I think copper and PEX are a
wash when it comes to small jobs, but that's just me.
PEX looks very messy, so if the tubing is exposed it will look dangerous and
half-assed to the casual observer - but that's just what it looks like.
Yeah, everything will be concealed, so it won't be that big a deal.
Having nearly set my house on fire several times sweating copper, the
snap connections really appeal to me. As long as they're reliable,
the cost almost doesn't even matter. The manifolds seem really
convenient too. One other thing, since you've been living with PEX
for awhile, is there any taste or smell to the water that comes
through it? I was wondering if maybe the hot water lines in
particular might be noticeable.
Wait, now this is interesting. Is this the way it HAS to be run?
With a sink, tub and toilet, that would mean 5 lines running to the
basement. Is that really the best way to do it? I guess if the
tubing is cheap it shouldn't matter. But is this really the way
people run PEX? Each fixture is attached separately to the manifold?
It's not how I run it, but that's really how it should be run.
I have a single 3/4" line from the hot water tank that splits to a 3/4" line
to the basement and a 1/2" line to the washing machine. From there the 3/4"
line splits to 3 lines - one to the bathroom sink, bathroom shower, kitchen
sink. (I have a small house)
When we built our house a couple of years ago, I chose CPVC for our hot
AND cold supplies, for a variety of reasons:
It's readily available just about everywhere, including mom and pop
hardware stores. You'll be thankful for that if you run out of supplies
near the end of your project, or if you need to make an emergency repair
in the future.
It's lightweight. A big plus if you're crawling around in a crawlspace or
an attic. Much easier than dragging a large coil of PEX around.
It's highly resistant to acidic or other poor quality water conditions.
Copper can sometimes get pinhole leaks.
It only requires a few basic hand tools to install. PEX requires an
expensive crimping tool to install the fittings.
It takes very little practice to learn how to make professional quality,
leakproof, connections. Copper requires a bit of "skill" and experience
to achieve attractive and waterproof joints.
There's no risk of accidently starting a fire since no torch is needed.
However, be careful with the solvent fumes in confined spaces.
It's widely accepted by most plumbing codes. So you shouldn't have any
inspection problems even with the "old-timers". :)
The only "gotchas" you may want to be careful of are:
CPVC expands in length with temperature, so try not to make long
continuous runs over 20' or so. Add a bend or two in long runs to allow
CPVC (and most plastics) don't hold up to "stress" applications very
well. So avoid CPVC valves and use the appropriate brass drop-ear elbows
at all your fixtures. The best ones have a gasket between the brass and
CPVC parts of the fitting to accomodate the different expansion rates.
Expensive (about $5), but worth it.
DO NOT use a female threaded adapter made of CPVC. They're against code,
and I know from personal experience they will crack. If you need to adapt
to another pipe, only use MALE threaded CPVC adapters (the female adapter
would be on the copper, Galvanized, or whatever). Or better yet, use an
adapter made specifically for the purpose.
I'll take copper over PEX any day. PEX is along the same lines as all the
disposable products that are dominating the market. It's just another low
cost item to make somebody more Money. It's probably a very small factor in
the price of a house. PRICE, TIME, QUALITY any two but not all three. Best
not to feed the mice use copper.
These are all great comments. I'm curious about this "feeding the
mice" that you mention (and others allude to). Has anyone really seen
mice eat through PVC? Incidentally, I took a pass by Home Depot the
other day and noticed that they don't even sell PEX. I guess I'd have
to go to a plumbing supply place?
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