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Plumbing: Anyone use PEX tubing?


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By Joe in Bay Saint Louis, MS on 5/14/2005


Would be interested to hear your experiences with PEX tubing for your plumbing. Thanks.

Joe


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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 5/16/2005


I would also be interested as I will be using PEX in my new home, I will be breaking ground in February. I have spoken to a couple of custom builders who build multimillion dollar homes, and was told that they use PEX on most of their projects with no problems whatsoever. They also went on to say that it also improved the water pressure, and that the only reason they put in traditional plumbing is because some of their clients request it because it's what they have always had.
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By John in Erie, CO on 5/16/2005


Do a search through these Forums -- one poster had some very good information about potential problems with PEX and chlorine in an open system. (Typical radiant heat systems are closed, so there is no fresh supply of chlorine.)

I had really looked into using PEX, but none of the plumbers I liked to work with use it for anything other than radiant heat. One plumber's (probably jaded) opinion was "that's for cheap spec houses."

Now, I think a big part of his resistance is adding another set of fittings and tools to his truck...  

As you'll find out, the building industry is very stubborn.

Good luck either way,

John


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By Andrew in Corpus Christi, TX on 5/16/2005


Could it be that some of the plumbers are against PEX because it installs faster and translates into less work for them?


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By John in Erie, CO on 5/16/2005


I'm sure it is.  Time is always money.

I ended up picking my plumber based on his bid and referrals, and the fact that he only ran copper was just an artifact of that. He ended up being my best sub. He works nights, weekends, holidays, and still can't get all of his work done, because he's popular. But I can get three other plumbers who have all kinds of time during the same period. His bid for copper was cheaper than #2's bid for PEX. Given same/better price, why take the chance? Given a cost advantage to PEX, then there is good value in considering the new system.  Unless new systems can offer added functionality for the additional cost (some PEX systems do with the home run manifolds, pressure, etc.) then they won't catch on.

There is a parallel in the gas-piping world for plumbers. My plumber had resisted using the new flexible gas line "Gastite" system, instead opting to do everything in black pipe, the way it has been done for a million years "cause that's the way it should be" or whatever.

Eventually, the suppliers convinced him to try it. Less work, saves time, more money? Yep. He's sold now on the Gastite stuff. Perhaps PEX is the same thing, in it's infancy.

The articles on chlorine and PEX were interesting, but didn't really prove anything either way. They look to me to be spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) as a bad marketing ploy, but could it be the next PB? Possibly. I personally doubt it.

Copper will usually cost more in your bid. Copper will take longer. Copper has a track record. But if we never tried anything new, we'd still be living in sod houses. :)

Having installed 10K feet of PEX in my house, I wouldn't hesitate to use PEX for my supply lines. But I have copper actually installed in my house...
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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 5/16/2005


This discussion is like Henry Ford's answer to the question "what color can I have my car in?" to which he replied, "Any color you would like as long as it is BLACK." What do you think a drywaller would say to you today if you asked for lath and plaster walls instead of sheet drywall? Moving forward and trying something new does not mean that it is cheap and easy, for that I would approach "Paris Hilton." This is about building productively, cheap, but well, and let's be open and not snobbish in the replies.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 5/17/2005


I have PEX, specifically the Vanguard Manabloc system. My plumber had never used the Manabloc, but was very familiar with Wirsbo. I ended up with a 24-port manifold and an 18-port manifold at the opposite end of the house. I used two manifolds for cost (a loop of 3/4" was cheaper than running 1/2" loops to the opposite end of the house) and convenience (I needed a 36-port manifold; the plumbing supply house didn't carry anything larger than 24).

It really installs easily with a home run for every fixture. It must not be very popular based on the amount of "what is that hanging on your wall" type of questions I receive.

I also used a gas line manifold and yellow flex pipe. Compared to black iron, I can't imagine any plumber would not want the labor savings here.


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By John in Erie, CO on 5/17/2005


I didn't mean to be snobbish -- there are some valid concerns others have been raised, and I passed on the current thoughts of the plumbers I had had through bidding -- that is their thought right now, but we know the building industry has its "quirks."

No offense intended.   


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By Drue in Henderson, NV on 5/18/2005


Hey John, no personal offense meant in any shape or form, but I have seen this product in action, spoken to the guys who give guarantees on the homes and the clients who pay for the final product, and all the signs and comments are positive apart from the plumbers, because the cost comes down in parts and labor.

Hey look, when I left school I did a five-year apprenticeship in England to become a cabinetmaker, only to discover that 25 years later, it cost more for me to buy the wood than it does buy the finished product from a large scale manufacturer. Now we may recognize that handmade custom kitchens and bathrooms are an art form, but sadly there are not many people who can tell the difference or even worse, care. On a side note, I will also be purchasing my bathroom and kitchen cabinets from some kind of outlet because it will save me time and money, but I will customize them beyond recognition. (I knew it would come in handy one day!)


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By Corben in Champaign, IL on 5/24/2005


I posted some of my concerns on PEX tubing under the Construction Bargain Strategies forum. As for my motivations, I am not a plumber but I am planning on doing my own. I have a background in chemical engineering and that is where my concerns come from. I do like the Gastite stuff though. As for me and my house, we will use copper.
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By Mark in Los Angeles, CA on 5/24/2005


I can. Plumbers work under the premise of "time means money."

We're about to begin building a new house in the Sierras for our retirement.

I'm either going to use PEX tubing for the supply lines, or I will use CPVC pipe. We have CPVC in our current home that we've been living in the last 7 years and it has been fine. The reason the builder used it is because there is some sort of corrosive chemical in the water that eats pinholes in copper plumbing.

Either one would be easy, if not simple, to install.

Good luck!


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By Richard in Oceanside, CA on 6/2/2005


Before I used PEX, I would do a quick Google search on the problems that have been documented with MTBE and other petroleum derivatives showing up at very high levels in well-documented studies. I was thinking of using it as well before I did the research. I just do not think the cost savings is worth the risk to my family.

Cheers, All.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 6/4/2005


I personally like PEX with a manifold. Using copper is racking up labor charges. As far as the chemical introduction issues -- if you are on city water that is heavily treated or in the west where groundwater tends to be hard on pipes, you won't want to use copper.

Copper isn't completely non-interactive with your water. And if you live in an older city you probably have asbestos water mains. So you pick which pipe system is the least contaminating for your locale.

I would recommend doing a manifold anywhere pressure is an issue. You don't have to use PEX with a manifold.

Regarding the gas manifold question, what adds more value to your home $1,000 of CSST pipe or $1,000 of plumber's wages? Your home valuation is based on the materials in it, not what you are charged to install it.

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By Randy in Collierville, TN on 7/24/2005


Sorry I'm posting this so late.

A question for someone who has seen PEX installed, or done it themselves:

If using a manifold, does that mean your plumbing rough in involves only one water main line coming in under the slab? 

I've looked at several slabs under construction in my area, and they typically have a dozen or so plumbing stub "clusters" coming up in various places in the floor, some with 6 or 8 copper lines.

The reason I ask is I want to sub the plumbing rough-in, then do the PEX myself. So I need to be able to explain to the rough-in sub (with some degree of credibility) why I only want one water line running under my slab. 

Thanks,

Rb


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By Andrew in Phelan, CA on 7/26/2005


I too am considering PEX plumbing. As far as multi-stub out in the slab, I think it is less labor to run most of the plumbing in the slab. I was going with a plumbing company until I got a bid of $13,000 for ground and top end only. I got a GC buddy that does his plumbing himself to line me out and help me when needed. We are going run as little as possible in the slab, I will be utilizing stained polished concrete floors and if there is a problem down the road I do not want to have to jackhammer the floor out. I have almost made the decision to go with PEX and now there is a chlorine concern?

Does anyone have any good web sites on the positives and negatives of PEX?


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By Mark in Los Angeles, CA on 7/26/2005


I have a friend who installed PEX tubing in the last 6-8 months while he built his new home. He loves it and wouldn't do it any other way. He said the ease of installation was unbelievable. So, I've decided to do mine that way.

Mark


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By Charles in Brentwood, MO on 8/11/2005


I have not used PEX in residential construction, but I ran an industrial waste water treatment plant for five years and we used PEX exclusively to replace any leaking PVC, iron pipe sections, etc. This stuff carried a wide variety of strong caustic and acidic chemicals and I never had to replace any of it. It's amazingly resilient and easy to work with.


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By Danny in Sparta, IL on 8/30/2005


I'm about 7 months from breaking ground in Sparta, Illinois for a 2,500 sq ft Ranch and am VERY interested in the PEX idea along with a tankless hot water heater. Does anyone have pictures or DIY sources? Videos? Would be willing to travel between St Louis and Chicago to see someone currently installing it. I want to do the PEX install myself if possible.

I'm in the research stage of planning, so I need all the info I can get, but mostly I just see questions posted.

Thanks!


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By Ralph in Fort Collins, CO on 8/30/2005


Look at Wirsbo.com for PEX information. That is not really a DIY site but the information about the product is good. I saw some very good prices on PEX supplies at pexsupply.com for DIYs.
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By Arnold in Colorado Springs, CO on 8/30/2005


I would assume you're looking at a system like the Manabloc for your PEX delivery. Here's one supplier I managed to dredge up (and their prices aren't bad either). MVsupply

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 8/31/2005


Don't discount your local plumbing supply house as a possible supplier for PEX tubing. I used a Vanguard Manabloc system, and my local prices were cheaper than anything I found online. In addition, if you need just a couple of parts it is much easier if you have a local supplier. On-line vendors have packages, but what if you only need a couple of parts in addition to this package? With the local supply house, I didn't even have to know what the parts were called (good thing, as I am not in the plumbing trade and don't use the same lingo), but they let me borrow their catalog and would get the materials based on part numbers -- very valuable for a DIY.

As to Wirsbo vs. Vanguard vs. Qest vs. who knows who else, I chose Vanguard because they seem to be geared a little more towards DIY. Wirsbo has a great warranty, but only if installed by licensed installers. That isn't me nor was it the plumber I hired (although either one of us could purchase Wirsbo, and he had experience using it).


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By Mark in Colorado Springs, CO on 9/1/2005


Hi Arnold! Great posting! I look forward to picking your brain in the future on this stuff. BTW have you found anyone that will do estimates for a plumbing system online with a copy of plans?

MES
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By Christy in Dickson, TN on 9/24/2006


Hi guys,

I need help. We have spent the better part of three weeks working on our electrical and plumbing. We have hit a snag though in that our manifold that is already installed in the crawlspace and connected to the tankless, etc. has many, many leaks. We tested this with the air hose, and the PEX connections are leaking. What is interesting is that we took soapy water to see where the leak is in the connecting, and it seems to be coming from the shut-off valve which we ordered from Wirsbo. We built our own manifold by soldering the copper and valves together. This leak is happening on at least 15 of the 'joints'...

I have just spent the better part of three hours researching this, and it seems as though we have either gotten quite a few faulty valves from Wirsbo, or we did something wrong in the soldering stage. In either case, does anyone know of a fix for this dilemma that won't require us spending another $200 on valves or rebuilding the whole manifold?

Any help at all is appreciated,

Christy and Tom


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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 9/24/2006


Is there a combination of plastic and copper parts in your manifold? Was the plastic attached at the time you did your soldering??? You can easily damage plastic parts with too much heat if they are not removed before soldering. 

You may have to bite the bullet and get a new manifold. This time spend the extra nickel and buy the commercial off the shelf variety instead of attempting to build your own. You are already saving some good $$$ by using PEX. Whether you are saving on your self-work is a tougher call -- you guys should look at this issue, though. Three weeks is a pretty long time for rough plumbing top-out and electrical. Is the interest expense worth it? Are you too far along to change course and get someone who does plumbing every day in (maybe for a few greenback $$$ next weekend)

A little bit of rework is the stuff that EXPERIENCE is made of and it's no big deal. Every house has some of it whether built by O-B's or pros.


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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 9/24/2006


When you are testing your water supply system, you should use pressurized water from your water meter or well pump. If you do not have a connection yet, fill your system with water first, then top it off with air at the high point to get the pressure, that way you can actually see where all of the leaks are.

DVW system should also be tested. You just need a 10' stack that you can fill with water. I assume this was done at foundation stage.

Your natural gas or propane system is really the only residential plumbing system that should be tested with air.

 

 


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 9/24/2006


Sorry to say this, but my first suspicion would be field assembly. Also would check to see if valves were approved for solder connections, not all are.

Water lines should be checked at no more than 70-80 psi. Your faucets will start leaking at that point. Most water supply sources are 35-65 psi range. If you know your incoming water pressure, test at 10 psi above that.

Gaslines need to hold 10 psi, meter will only provide 4 psi on a medium pressure system and 0.5 psi for "house" pressure.

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By Christy in Dickson, TN on 9/25/2006


Hi Dale,

These are the sweatable valves from Wirsbo (Uponor) that cost $7 ea. Also, our inspector told my hubby that our system needed to be able to hold 100 psi when he inspected. I hope I said that right. Tom is at work and is buried right now in projects, so I can't call him to get exact details---this explains the 'three weeks' to get the elec. and plumbing done.

What's interesting to me about the 100 psi is that we watched the pressure gauge for awhile, and it was moving so slowly, then Tom found the bubbles on so many of the valves. I have sneaking suspicion that if we had tested at less, they might be fine.

Of course, I am the assistant in all of this, so I could be wrong.

Any thoughts,

Christy


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 9/25/2006


I am going to quote the code book here. Not sure it will help.

IRC 2003 P2503.6 Water-supply system testing. Upon completion of the water-supply system or a section thereof, the system, or portion completed, shall be tested and proved tight under a water pressure not less than the working pressure of the system; or, for piping systems other than plastic, by an air test of not less than 50 psi (344 kPa), The water used for tests shall be obtained from a potable water source.

So putting soapy water in system is wrong, testing at 100 psi is probably extreme, testing with air in plastic is not recommended... Inspectors are not always right, but they can make your life miserable for challenging or disagreeing with them.

Find out what your working pressure is. If you are on a well, you probably control that. If on city water, they can tell you what the pressure is at the meter and extrapolate what the pressure at your house is based on distance and elevation from meter.

Ask the inspector to justify his request! And get his supervisor's input with the code book in hand.

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By Thomas in Mooresville, NC on 2/12/2007


Ken,

I have been reading your post about how good Vanguard is for the O-B. Well, in '95 they were probably good, but now....? I have been trying to get some help with what it is I need for my home and what they suggest for setting up the perfect application, and they have NO INFO! They want me to just call a plumber and let them figure it out. They just refer you to a rep, and he just takes an order for the most part. Heck, my home is three floors, 8,000 SF, with 10 baths. How many manifolds, where to locate them and, 1/2" vs. 3/8" realistically for this type of application. They just forward literature from the website. 

Now, I am just like any other O-B with experience in some areas, and not in others.  Plumbing is NOT my specialty, and they are of no use to people like me now. I told them I wanted to do my own lines and install the Manabloc, but if they want me to pay a plumber... No cost savings now... NONEXISTENT with Vanguard!


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/12/2007


Don't deal with Vanguard directly. Find a local supply house that carries their materials and deal with them. I found my local supplier much more knowledgeable and helpful from any information I got from Vanguard.

I used all 1/2", but this was based on me being able to get a price break by buying 500' coils of PEX. With 10 bathrooms, each with multiple runs (hot water lavatory, cold water lavatory, water closet, hot water shower, cold water shower, perhaps more than one lavatory) and so many bathrooms, I would use a combination of both 3/8" and 1/2" and still pay by the 1,000' coils for PEX. I have 2-1/2 baths, I bought 1,000 feet of PEX, I donated the remainder to Habitat for Humanity.

I don't know how they might have been in 1995, I wasn't using them then... JMHO, but you have a very complex install, it might be worthwhile to hire a plumber to at least help you out. 


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/12/2007


It's not the manufacturer's responsibility, nor is it in their interest to size tubing for everyone who needs help.

I would recommend reading the plumbing sections of the building codes or find someone knowledgeable to size your runs.

The size of your meter, distance from the house and street pressure all have an impact on sizing.

Then you can start to design your plumbing tree.

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/13/2007


This posts bothers me on many fronts, and the more I think about it the more it bothers me. In my area, 8,000 s.f. is starting at $1M dollars, and this is low level of finishes (basically a big spec house). Get into upgrades, and you are easily talking $1.2M and up, and if you want custom-level quality you will easily exceed $1.5M before you consider land cost.

Just like you learn to crawl before you learn to walk, I wouldn't want to start my O-B experience on a house this complex. I even felt my house was too complex, and volunteered for Habitat for Humanity as well as volunteered labor for several other O-B's (who doesn't want free, semi-skilled labor?) just so I could learn ICF. A knowledgeable O-B/project manager can save a boatload of money on a project with this much overhead and profit, but at the same time an unknowledgeable O-B will also be taken to the cleaners and it could easily cost more than simply hiring a GC if you are not careful. The more complex the house, the more complex the level of finish, the larger the house, all equates to increased cost and more knowledge needed to ensure successful completion of your build project. Good luck, and at least you have come to a good starting point and knowledge base of frequent posters on this forum.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/13/2007


I have some questions, considering what you are building. How big is your lot? What did you pay for it? What's the price range of the neighborhood? And what is your construction budget? How much construction-related experience do you have?

Reason I ask, is that we here in the forum would like to put a better perspective to your project before advice or comments are thrown out here.

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By Thomas in Mooresville, NC on 2/14/2007


Thanks for the replies. 

  • Homes are $1.3M and up. 
  • The land is almost three acres. 
  • Not to offend, but I'd like to keep my finances private. 

I used to help my friend's father build homes during the summers about 20 years ago. I know the codes have changed, but I can still do just about anything (except electrical!). I build furniture as a hobby.

PEX is attractive, and I like the Manabloc system, so I'm just going to get advice from a plumber I know, to get a feel of what to do. No one I have contacted has used the Vanguard system, so they have no reference to give advice. I'm thinking of putting it in the control room in the basement (center of home), but the lines would travel about 53 feet to the furthest bathroom on the second floor. Gravity and length combo make me doubt, maybe two manifolds?  I wanted to use an industrial instant water heater for the whole home, but if I split the areas, two smaller units would do... maybe.

 


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/14/2007


Simply given the number of bathrooms, and even a basically equipped bathroom with one lavatory, one shower/bath combo, and one water closet, you are into multiple Manabloc manifolds. The largest manifold is a 36-port manifold. I used 42 ports for 2-1/2 bathrooms and kitchen in my house (utility room, hose bibs on every exterior wall, ice maker, etc.). 

Now as to location of the manifolds, I figured this out based on how much tubing it was going to take to run the lines back to my control room. My fixtures are grouped (mud/utility room and kitchen on one end, bathrooms on the other), so it actually made sense financially to relocate one manifold to the other end of the house rather than run a spaghetti nest of tubes all back to my control room. I used a 24-port manifold in my control room, an 18-port manifold at the other end of the house, and tied them together with a loop of 3/4" (three 3/4" between them, one for hot, one for cold, and one to re-circulate hot).

As to 53' of 1/2" from your manifold to your furthest fixture, this equates to just over 1/2 gallon of water to flush this line from the time the fixture is fully opened to the time you get hot water. If you are using a fire-on-demand water heater (I use one, I highly recommend them) then it takes about three seconds from the time the tap is opened to fire the water heater and perhaps a couple of more seconds to get fully heated water; this is a lag time that cannot be eliminated with fire-on-demand. So, figuring 1-1/2 gallon/minute, you are looking at 30-second lag time for this furthest fixture between when you turn water on, and when you get hot water. Is this acceptable? Now you could reduce this by using 3/8" (0.3 gallons to flush instead of 0.55 gallons to flush). This doesn't account for pressure drop; perhaps 3/8" gives you too much pressure drop?

Remember this lag time will exist at your sink (say when you shave) and again at your shower, so you get it twice in the morning before you have had your coffee. Alternatively you could simply run the bathroom on 1/2", and then separate the fixtures at the bathroom so you only get the lag time once, but then you also eliminate some of the benefits of the manifold system itself as compared to a "normal" installation.

There are other ways to address this problem, but some items are so low draw (dishwasher) that with a fire-on-demand they will almost never fill with truly hot water. On the other hand a washer is very high draw, and will have hot water almost immediately.


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By Thomas in Mooresville, NC on 2/14/2007


Ken,

Thanks, you have some excellent points. 

I will have three floors and the demands are

  • (H is hot C is cold):

Second floor (J&J Baths) 6H/8C.

First floor 14H/21C.

Basement 7H/11C lines. 

Looks like three Manablocs? If so, is there an efficient way to use an industrial IHWH to supply three Manablocs, or just separate IHWH for the three floors? Also, linking three Manablocs? Seems like pressure will be at a loss for one line to supply three of them. 

Any thoughts before I speak with a plumber?


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/14/2007


Maybe one option to consider is a manifold for the cold water and structured plumbing tree for the hot water. That way all the cold would be 1/2" and the trunk for hot would be 1" with branches of 1/2".

Reason I asked about budget is that it makes a difference if you are trying to build for $70/sf or $150/sf on what kind of advice I would give. Since you feel that overall you are qualified for all the trades that's good. Are you doing many of the trades yourself?

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/14/2007


I wouldn't limit my thinking to one manifold/floor. Where are your fixtures located in relation to each other? For example, if your bathrooms are stacked it might be easier to feed them up and down from a single location and have shorter runs off the manifold. I did mine this way, basically one manifold for the east "wing" and one for the west "wing." It made more sense than stacking them by floor.

Also call your local supplier and find out what they have on the shelf. I was originally going to install a 36-port Manabloc, but that was special order for my plumbing supplier while they carried 14, 18, and 24-port Manablocs on the shelf. However when I went to actually purchase them, they were out of stock on the 14-port. While if I truly needed a 36-port I would have figured something out, you really should attempt to design around locally available, easy to purchase, items.

As to one fire-on-demand HWH feeding multiple manifolds, I sized mine for two major uses and it is the largest residential unit available (>180K BTU). However my manifolds are connected with 3/4" plumbing loop, and this is a lot of hot water to flush (again there are solutions). For that many bathrooms, you definitely need a unit larger than what I have. I tend to like a bit of redundancy, so perhaps I would consider the use of two of these, they are quiet so could be located perhaps close to your central manifolds? Now on these, you need double-wall stainless vent pipe which is expen$ive so you want to mount them as close as possible to outside walls and power vent them to keep this as short as possible otherwise venting will eat your lunch. Mine need outside air source (closed combustion, just like the 90+ furnaces), but intake air can come through anything including PVC.

My flow limitation is the line coming into the house. We have 3/4" from the meter (which is actually upsized from the standard 5/8" and is the largest residential size the water authority will allow plumber to install) - this will be your limiting factor. I don't know what is available in your locale, but definitely pay to upgrade your supply line into your house, especially in your budget (around here you would be surprised how few people upgrade their supply lines from the minimum, but again this is stuff you don't see, so GCs automatically cut corners and save money).


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By Thomas in Mooresville, NC on 2/15/2007


Thanks for the advice guys. I have attached some pics to show what my plan is like. I was thinking of one manifold for the second floor in that closet in the landing and using it to supply the guest BR and laundry on the first floor as well. The other would be in the control room (next to the wine cellar) in the basement. This one would do the basement and kitchen, MBR, and 1/2 bath on 1st floor. I am looking at an industrial on-demand hot water heater that has a water flow rate at 7.4 gal/min at BTU max of 200,000. I would like to use this for BOTH manifolds if I do go with two. Any suggestions with the diagrams?

Thanks.


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By Thomas in Mooresville, NC on 2/15/2007


Here's the basement...
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By Thomas in Mooresville, NC on 2/15/2007


Last, but not least, the first floor!
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By Robert in Camas, WA on 7/11/2007


Here is a link to a great guide on using/installing PEX, hope someone finds it helpful - pex-design-guide.


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By Zion on 8/20/2007


MANABLOCs are available with the original compression fittings on the distribution/supply lines, or now with bronze press, brass crimp, or polyalloy crimp fittings. Anybody know pros/cons of the four fitting options now available?

Thanks in advance.

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By Winston in Winston Salem, NC on 7/10/2009


PEX goo, looks like rust.

I noticed what I thought was rust coming from showerhead holes. I took it down to clean what seemed like 'red paste' oozing out of holes. I don't think it's rust or showerhead, which leaves only PEX dissolving. Really disgusting - this bathroom was rebuilt just a year ago. I will include photo next time before I clean it up.


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By Michael in Garden Grove, CA on 7/14/2009


Winston,

 The chance of your PEX dissolving is almost zero in a residential water application. I have added the following to illustrate that point.

"Cross-linked polyethylene, commonly abbreviated PEX or XLPE, is a form of polyethylene with cross-links. It is formed into tubing, and is used predominantly in hydronic radiant heating systems, domestic water piping and insulation for high tension electrical cables. It is also used for natural gas and offshore oil applications, chemical transportation, and transportation of sewage and slurries."

 The one major Achilles heel for PEX is sunlight, which turns the tubing brittle.

 If you are getting a red "goo", you should look to a source other than the tubing. What I would do is inspect other fixtures for traces of the contamination. If you find no other areas with similar contamination, then you can rule out all of the components that are shared. Once you have isolated the problem to just your shower you need only inspect those components.

 Having said all of that (and rather long windedly), I would suspect some type of pipe sealant or the like that was possibly placed inside of the pipe on assembly. Some of these compounds could soften with the heat of your hot water and slowly make their way to your showerhead.

      Mike


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By Faye in Marseilles, IL on 7/14/2009


Danny,

I am in Marseilles, Il. - just off Interstate 80. We are at the end of our build and we did all our own PEX. If you would like to see it - you are welcome to come and take a look anytime. We have both PEX plumbing and geothermal radiant heat. We used a tankless pool heater to heat our indoor pool, but opted for a traditional water heater for our potable water. We did put a recirculator on our lines so we would not have to wait for hot water at the faucets. Installation is very simple and much faster than any other types of plumbing. We are about 45 days from completion - so we are at the house every day. PM me if you would like to come out.

Faye


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By Danny in Sparta, IL on 7/15/2009


Faye,
I would really love to come out and see it, however, I am on a project and living in NY for the next year (while my wife is back at the new house... bummer).
Sounds like you set up a great system!!! AND an indoor pool... I'm envious!
Hopefully I'll get back to Illinois, my wife, and home before too long and then I'll take you up on the invite. In the meantime feel free to send pictures!
Congrats on the accomplishment!!!
Danny

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