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How to learn PEX


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By Rich in Suffolk, VA on 2/19/2010


For those who did PEX themselves, how did you learn how to do it?  None the plumbing books that I currently have mention it.  I've got a lot of experience with copper piping, but I don't want to install PEX blindly.
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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 2/19/2010


There are two ways to approach PEX. If you know how to lay out a copper water-supply system, you can just do the same thing with PEX. You just need a crimper and some crimp rings instead of a torch, solder, and flux. I think most experienced plumbers install PEX systems that way.

The nice thing about this approach is that it is not readily apparent that you have used PEX in the house if you use copper stubs at the fixtures.

The other way to do it is to use manifolds and/or individual fixture runs. I believe the Wirsbo and Zurn websites have some good catalogs and information. With manifolds, you get the advantage of being able to shut fixtures off individually.

I like PEX because no one ever steals plastic out of a house. The material cost is a bit lower than copper, and installation is much easier. A laborer can install PEX; it takes someone with a bit more plumbing skill to install copper.

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By Brian in Dome-ville, FL on 2/21/2010


I had it done by a plumber, but I will do it myself when I add on the second-floor bath.  I used a manifold system; home runs to each fixture needing water.  The reasons for this approach are many:

1.  Shortest run for hot water to get to fixture, don't need to run thru 3/4" and then 1/2" to get to fixture.

2.  Fewer connections inside walls to possibly leak.

3.  Easy to shut off ONE fixture so you can remove a sink/shower/toilet/whatever without having to shut off all water to an area, or all water to the house.

On my system they used copper pipe stubouts. The PEX-to-copper connection is just inside the wall; all you see is copper coming through the wall.


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By Rich in Suffolk, VA on 2/21/2010


I don't understand the PEX-to-copper connection inside the wall.  Why not buy one of those bracket things shown here:

plumbersurplus.com/Prod/Holdrite

Maybe they just haven't caught on enough.


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By Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/28/2010


I'd more or less agree with the previous posters, being essentially 'self-taught' when it comes to PEX.

In our case so far we've used PEX for the radiant-heat tubing (I plan to use it for the internal plumbing as well, but that's down the road). We had the installation of the radiant-heat tubing kind of sneak up on us, so I had to get a crash course in what to do and how to do it from the local plumbing-supply company and various pages on the "Intertubes".  For the most part it was very easy, though it wasn't clear from the online stuff just how heavy and awkward the coils of tubing would be--rather than have one person work on a given section we ended up with both of us doing each loop together.  I held the coil and unrolled it while Colleen worked the tubing into place and attached it to the wire mesh.

Haven't done the plumbing side yet, but it looks nominally simpler since there are so many home runs and less 'back and forth' looping going on.  We'll see, I reckon.


Steven in Colorado Springs

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By Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/28/2010


That's pretty cool, actually... I can see how those would be very useful.

Thanks for the link, Rich!


Steven in Colorado Springs

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