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FARM Is PEX (for plumbing) a durable LONGLASTING (over 30 years) product?
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  1. #1

    Is PEX (for plumbing) a durable LONGLASTING (over 30 years) product?

    There is no prefix for: REPAIRS or DIY or FIXIT (or anything close)

    So Is PEX (for plumbing) a durable LONGLASTING (over 30 years) product?

    I am think on moving the water heater and was just wondering.
    Naturally copper is the preferred material and I have steered away from PEX.

    Thanks.


    ***Basically, it is a trustworthiness question.
    Last edited by Intestinal Fortitude; 08-30-2013 at 12:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    We've worked with both copper and PEX.

    When we built our home 30+ years ago, we used copper for our water lines. In the 25 years we live there we only had one joint that leaked and had to be re-soldered. We also only had to replace one elbow because of a leak and that was after 25 years.

    We are now building another new house and have used PEX for all of our water lines. We have had 6-7 leaks because it's been hard to get the crimping tight enough. Some of the leaks have entailed taking the wall apart.

    If we ever had to do it again, we'd do copper, no question about it. PEX is not all it's cracked up to be. In some cases PEX is easier to work with because of the flexibility, but it's really hard to get a good, tight crimp, especially in tight places with limited space. It's also a little more forgiving if it freezes.

    We have no idea how long PEX will last. We hope it lasts our lifetime. And without any more leaks. I worry about leaks in our walls causing damage.

    Good luck on your project!
    ( \ o / )
    / _ \

    Sammy55:
    Following my Lord-
    Where He leads me,
    What He wants of me,
    Who He wants me to be.

  3. #3
    PEX will still be here after we finish WWIII. Tough stuff but don't by any bargain salesman pitches.

  4. #4
    Sammy 55 is right about the crimping. Must be crimped properly and with the right tool. Usually the vendor that sells the PEX will either loan you a correct tool or rent it to you. They are not cheap for the good stuff. We have had no leak problems with our PEX.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bubble Head View Post
    PEX will still be here after we finish WWIII. Tough stuff but don't by any bargain salesman pitches.
    So will cockroaches!

    I just remembered that I used some sort of connector once before that just slipped on (and you cannot get it off without screwing it up) I think it was called Shark Teeth or something like that, That was 4 years ago and it is still holding firm.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Bubble Head View Post
    Sammy 55 is right about the crimping. Must be crimped properly and with the right tool. Usually the vendor that sells the PEX will either loan you a correct tool or rent it to you. They are not cheap for the good stuff. We have had no leak problems with our PEX.
    So it handles very hot water with no apparent issues?

  7. #7
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    We built our house 7 years ago and used PEX. 3 or 4 of those years we have battled with frozen water lines in the winter. Ours run up in the crawl space above the house and although they are insulated individually as well as covered by blow in insulation they always freeze. We have not had a single break of any of the lines.

    YMMV but I think as long as they are installed correctly they are just as good if not better than copper.
    bosifus

  8. #8
    Pex is crap!! It leaks, splits and etc all by itself. Most of the time you cannot find fittings and etc. Copper is the only way to go. I will only use copper. Copper will last a lifetime.



    WAB
    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."---- Robert A. Heinlein

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by wab54 View Post
    Pex is crap!! It leaks, splits and etc all by itself. Most of the time you cannot find fittings and etc. Copper is the only way to go. I will only use copper. Copper will last a lifetime.



    WAB
    I am skeptical of anything but copper (that is why I am asking).
    //being open minded

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Intestinal Fortitude View Post
    So will cockroaches!

    I just remembered that I used some sort of connector once before that just slipped on (and you cannot get it off without screwing it up) I think it was called Shark Teeth or something like that, That was 4 years ago and it is still holding firm.
    It is called a sharks bite fitting. I have used them successfully with PEX and only had one Sharks Bite began to leak so I replaced it. They just unsnap. Handles hot water just fine. Our hot water is really hot at 140 degrees since we heat with a outside boiler. The whole boiler system uses PEX also.

  11. #11
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    I did our entire house in PEX and amazingly for a novice user there were no leaks. The trick is to use the Wirsbo expander and fittings. This system has a tool that fits inside the pipe and expands it and a short PEX collar that is fit over the pipe. The fitting is then inserted and the pipe shrinks to fit. Some of the advantages to this system is that ID of the fittings bigger and allows more flow and the tool can be used in much tighter spaces than a crimper.

    The one caviot for PEX is not to expose it to sun light as the UV will crumble it in a few years. I have found that the colored PEX is a lot more resistant to UV than the clear. Colored is nice to make sure hot (red) and cold (blue) are not mixed up when plumbing the house. I once had a friend with a huge propane bill even in the summer. They eventually found that someone had plumbed hot water into the toilet.

    And if you're going to do hydronic heating PEX is the only way to go. The house is now 6 years old and we have had no issues with the PEX piping.
    Tom Reed

    Ignorant and free has never been and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12
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    We had copper pipe, and when I redid our kitchen and tore out some of the copper, the hot water side pipe was as thin as paper, where the minerals in the well water had almost eaten it through. Put in all new pex, and so far, no problems. Like pex for the reason one can make bends in it without using fittings, thus making a longer run. Would use it again in a heartbeat.

  13. #13
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    Pex hasn't been around 30 years for a real world answer to that question.

    My normal thoughts are "If it ain't copper & cast iron, it ain't real plumbing", but pex does have its place and I trust it more than PVC/CPVC.

    I have buckets and buckets of copper fittings both sweat and Pro-Press, when I built this house I used pex with crimp fittings (I have a gob of shark-bite fittings laying around too)

    For relocating a water heater pex is a good choice, you will only need 4 fittings and there won't be any other joints to leak. If you have a gas water heater, I would recommend using copper to keep the pex away from the flue, I have seen plastic distort from direct heat there.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  14. #14
    As long as you never get mice in your home. Mice seem to love the taste of PEX and will chew right through it. Happened to my brother twice. Finally replaced with copper. Just google PEX and Mice.

    Millwright, why do you trust PEX more than CPVC? my other brother has had good luck with that over the years. (Both Bros. in MO)

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    Pex hasn't been around 30 years for a real world answer to that question.

    My normal thoughts are "If it ain't copper & cast iron, it ain't real plumbing", but pex does have its place and I trust it more than PVC/CPVC.

    I have buckets and buckets of copper fittings both sweat and Pro-Press, when I built this house I used pex with crimp fittings (I have a gob of shark-bite fittings laying around too)

    For relocating a water heater pex is a good choice, you will only need 4 fittings and there won't be any other joints to leak. If you have a gas water heater, I would recommend using copper to keep the pex away from the flue, I have seen plastic distort from direct heat there.
    First step is to think the project through and do research. Then The very first step will be to pour some mud for a small pad and frame it up for a little room. Heater is currently inside and I just KNOW it will fail when I go away and the place will be flooded!
    Trying to prevent/fix that from happening.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by don24mac View Post
    As long as you never get mice in your home. Mice seem to love the taste of PEX and will chew right through it. Happened to my brother twice. Finally replaced with copper. Just google PEX and Mice.
    Last critter in house (attic) was a possum. Caught him and left him in a box at HD in a box marked "FREE!! funny lookin' dawg"

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wab54 View Post
    Pex is crap!! It leaks, splits and etc all by itself. Most of the time you cannot find fittings and etc. Copper is the only way to go. I will only use copper. Copper will last a lifetime.
    WAB
    Interesting, I have seen this in the old Quest pipe (The gray crap with big compression fittings or plastic crimp fittings), it went away after they payed out huge in damage lawsuits.

    Copper is not bulletproof either, I have replaced plenty that does not stand up to aggressive water (acidic), it will also erode through quickly in high-flow circulating systems.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intestinal Fortitude View Post
    First step is to think the project through and do research. Then The very first step will be to pour some mud for a small pad and frame it up for a little room. Heater is currently inside and I just KNOW it will fail when I go away and the place will be flooded!
    Trying to prevent/fix that from happening.
    A GOOD drain pan will fix that. If it is currently located on the floor, build a platform to elevate the pan for drainage.

    They also make a device that goes in the drain pan and kills the supply (cold) water if it gets wet. It uses the same technology that deploys the raft on fighter ejection seats if the pilot is knocked out and lands in water.

    Pex vs. cpvc, pvc/cpvc gets fragile over time, especially in attic heat. After a few year it will hold pressure ok but doesn't like getting bumped or stuff dropped on it. When it does freeze the breaks run down the pipe and ruin longer sections, usually at the eave of a house where you cant get to it. Copper usually freeze breaks in one small area, Pex expands and doesn't sustain freeze damage.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    A GOOD drain pan will fix that. If it is currently located on the floor, build a platform to elevate the pan for drainage.

    They also make a device that goes in the drain pan and kills the supply (cold) water if it gets wet. It uses the same technology that deploys the raft on fighter ejection seats if the pilot is knocked out and lands in water.
    Yes I remember I saw that on "This Old House". They recommended it for folks with basements.

    I already have the heater sitting in a large (trash can lid size) pan with a hole in it going through the floor.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intestinal Fortitude View Post
    Yes I remember I saw that on "This Old House". They recommended it for folks with basements.

    I already have the heater sitting in a large (trash can lid size) pan with a hole in it going through the floor.
    If it is a metal pan, OK. I don't trust plastic pans. I wouldn't use the pans that big-box sells, the ones that have a pvc fitting that goes through the side with a rubber washer. Get one from a plumbing supply house with a soldered-in 3/4" galvanized nipple for an outlet. If the drain is exposed to any traffic at all, I would use copper to get it out the wall.

    If you are replacing the heater, get a 3/4"x3" brass nipple, full port 3/4" ball valve and a 3/4" pipe x male garden hose adapter. Throw away the junk drain valve on the heater and put install the nipple, valve and adapter. On new houses I hard pipe this valve directly through the wall and down to ground level (no hose adapter) This will let you really flush the heater occasionally, just open the drain valve with the water still on to the heater, the incoming water will stir up the crap and help get it out the drain. If you can't pipe it directly out, use a large garden hose to allow good flow.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  21. #21
    Just thought I'd mention that PEX is approved in most areas for use in residential fire sprinkler systems, even in unheated attic spaces. It's tolerates freezing much better than PVC/CPVC.

    ~Sportsman

  22. #22
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    All depends on the care of the installer. Use a crimp gage/checker (go/no-go) as you go along and you'll be fine. I built a house 15 years ago with it, and recently replaced the galvanized pipe in my current home with it. Very user friendly, and you'll never torch your house sweating a joint in a tight spot (you do, however, have to plan out your crimps and/or pre-build some sections in tight spaces). Buy a best-quality tool, extra piping & fittings, and few copper-to-pex fittings, and know that you can take care of any water problem you, your neighbors, or your camper (if applicable) might ever have in the future in a matter of minutes.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    If it is a metal pan, OK. I don't trust plastic pans. I wouldn't use the pans that big-box sells, the ones that have a pvc fitting that goes through the side with a rubber washer. Get one from a plumbing supply house with a soldered-in 3/4" galvanized nipple for an outlet. If the drain is exposed to any traffic at all, I would use copper to get it out the wall.

    If you are replacing the heater, get a 3/4"x3" brass nipple, full port 3/4" ball valve and a 3/4" pipe x male garden hose adapter. Throw away the junk drain valve on the heater and put install the nipple, valve and adapter. On new houses I hard pipe this valve directly through the wall and down to ground level (no hose adapter) This will let you really flush the heater occasionally, just open the drain valve with the water still on to the heater, the incoming water will stir up the crap and help get it out the drain. If you can't pipe it directly out, use a large garden hose to allow good flow.
    It is metal. Good idea on the valve too.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by SurfaceTension View Post
    All depends on the care of the installer. Use a crimp gage/checker (go/no-go) as you go along and you'll be fine. I built a house 15 years ago with it, and recently replaced the galvanized pipe in my current home with it. Very user friendly, and you'll never torch your house sweating a joint in a tight spot (you do, however, have to plan out your crimps and/or pre-build some sections in tight spaces). Buy a best-quality tool, extra piping & fittings, and few copper-to-pex fittings, and know that you can take care of any water problem you, your neighbors, or your camper (if applicable) might ever have in the future in a matter of minutes.
    Requesting example of tool referred to please. I plan to redo the bathrooms too. All my horizontal is copper but my verts are old galvy.

    Some very tight areas to work in so fire (torch [sweat solder]) is not desirable.

    These are currently on E bay http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trks...at=0&_from=R40
    Last edited by Intestinal Fortitude; 08-30-2013 at 04:34 PM.

  25. #25
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    I would recommend that everybody keep some 1/2" and 3/4" pex pipe and shark bite couplings as an emergency item. Pex, copper and cpvc all have the same OD, shark bite fittings will work with any combination for repairs.

    If your house has galvanized pipe, get a few sharkbite x iron pipe thread adapters.

    Keep in mind that these fittings use an 0-ring to seal so it is important to smooth the edges on the end of any pipe you cut before putting the fitting on. You should also measure inside the fitting to the stop to know how deep the pipe will seat, then mark the pipe before installing fitting to be sure it is fully inserted.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  26. #26
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    PEX has been used in Europe for a long time for plumbing. I worked for John Guest (the original push-in fitting co.) for 14 years and their stuff is quality. Also compatible w/PEX, Copper, CPVC (not PVC!).

    Formerly reported as compatible w/polybutylene but not the case.

    Their Twist-Lock plumbing fittings are foolproof. No crimping, nothing. Push in till it stops; then turn the sleeve till it clicks.

    Literally every individual fitting is hand inspected in the UK by a boring guy with bad teeth in a smock. If there's a failure reported, then in the USA, they hand re-inspect every single one of that particular part number.

    JG products are available through Amazon and I believe Ferguson dealers. Lead-free compliant etc.

    That said, SharkBite etc. is probably as good and is quite a bit cheaper. There's a lot of Korean knockoffs, I'm not so sure about those products.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intestinal Fortitude View Post
    Requesting example of tool referred to please. I plan to redo the bathrooms too. All my horizontal is copper but my verts are old galvy.

    These are currently on E bay http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trks...at=0&_from=R40
    Tool to torch a house, or tool for crimps? I have the Zurn multi-head set for crimps. Any propane soldering torch will take care of the house. :-)

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by SurfaceTension View Post
    Tool to torch a house, or tool for crimps? I have the Zurn multi-head set for crimps. Any propane soldering torch will take care of the house. :-)
    lol Was just looking on ebay I see the GoNoGo tool. I guess one is just about the same as another. Good to have tools!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intestinal Fortitude View Post
    lol Was just looking on ebay I see the GoNoGo tool. I guess one is just about the same as another. Good to have tools!
    Most kits come with the go/no-go gage....It's just a way to confirm the tool properly crimped it tight enough. If you can slip the gage over the crimp ring, you're good; if it doesn't, the crimp isn't tight enough. When you get on roll it's tempting to not check every joint, but I always remind myself to do it anyways, as a two-second check is well worth the peace-of-mind.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by SurfaceTension View Post
    Most kits come with the go/no-go gage....It's just a way to confirm the tool properly crimped it tight enough. If you can slip the gage over the crimp ring, you're good; if it doesn't, the crimp isn't tight enough. When you get on roll it's tempting to not check every joint, but I always remind myself to do it anyways, as a two-second check is well worth the peace-of-mind.
    OK (having not used these before) some of the tools are a straight grip and some are "off". Does on work better in tight areas? Or like most tight space areas the one that works is the one that works.

  31. #31
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    I have old school straight Quest crimpers, there are times that I wish I had the angle head ones for tight places.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    I have old school straight Quest crimpers, there are times that I wish I had the angle head ones for tight places.
    Thanks MW - appreciate your (and others) input here today.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intestinal Fortitude View Post
    ....Or like most tight space areas the one that works is the one that works.
    :-)
    I only have the straight grip, and on a few occasions it took me quite awhile to figure a way to get a crimp in a tight spot. In my case, I was always able to figure a way to make do by pre-building sections (which is great with PEX because its flexibility allows pushing pre-constructed sections through walls, around obstacles, etc.). Guess it just depends if you've kept up your dues to Murphy.

  34. #34
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    I did use some copper, pre-soldered 90s on stub outs for valves and used copper x pex adapters, and tub/shower valve has enough copper on it to be able to strap it to the studs so there is no wobble.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

  35. #35
    Pex love the stuff. I had to have the whole house replumbed due to my well water eating the copper pipe thru.I replaced the pipe with pex I have not had any problems so far its been three years. Pex is also a lot better at freezing temps,a lot better than copper.

    Shark bite's are the way to go copper/pex they work great.

  36. #36
    Pex is a selling point in many new homes.

  37. #37
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    My BIL has a plumbing and heating business, I help him (more often than I want sometimes). Pex is pretty popular with plumbers just because of the labor savings. His installations have been pretty trouble free, except when ZURN put out some bad fittings (made in China) that suffered dezincification after a couple years and started leaking.

    On a few new homes he's installed hot and cold manifolds and makes a pex run for each fixture in the house. It is a slick way to go. There are no fittings where you can't get at them, faster hot and cold water, no pressure drops and temperature fluctuations when fixtures are turned on and off. If I ever build another home that will be the way I go.

    Here's a video of one manufacturer's manifold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6yqsb5OwEI
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  38. #38
    All this plumbing talk makes me want to run out and pipe a house. Na- think I'd rather watch everyone else and just drink beer.

  39. #39
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    Most new homes are plumbed with pex nowadays. I used the wirsbo aquapex (bought out by Uponor ) in my house 4 years ago and have had no problems. Never had any leaks. Personally I wouldn't use sharkbites someplace I would have to tear out to get back into but thats just me. I know people that have and they havent had any problems. I used brass drop ear ells at all shutoff valve locations.

  40. #40
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    Ok....I've worked with a bunch of pipefitters and have asked maybe 20 what they think, with out fail, every single one said this:

    "PEX, hands down, but with warnings: Never, EVER buy your PEX from lowes or menards, different quality!!! Never, EVER let your PEX be touched by direct, or reflected UV rays from the sun." PEX purchased from a plumbing supply house is what gets put in plumbers homes....not sure what else to say.

    There ya go. As for the "crimps"....WRONG....use the push to connect style. NEVER use the crimp system!

    As for "really hot" water, if you are talking above 180f I would advise another route.

    Bear in mind, as "permanent" as copper seems....it is not....the universal solvent it carries (H2O) WILL slowly dissolve your lines....as many have learned, copper pipe that's 80 years old is a disaster waiting to happen....remember, insurance co's pay out a LOT more for water damage than fires!

    Good luck!

    J
    “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”

    Thomas Jefferson

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