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Pex tubing and Shark Bite connectors for household plumbing...anyone used these?


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Pex tubing and Shark Bite connectors for household plumbing...anyone used these?
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-04-25, 11:13

Dabbled in them for my first time yesterday. I was impressed. The tubing is a bit more flexible than regular PVC (for long runs with gentle curves) and you don't use glue or solder. A bit pricier, but the time (and mess) saved seemed to be quite dramatic. It wasn't my house, so I'm not the guinea pig here...I was just helping someone.



I was just curious if any 'Novans have used this type of set-up in their homes? Once those connections are made, they're made. No leaks or drips. And with that little "c" key, removal/replacement (or re-laying out) looks to be a snap (literally)...the fittings, since no cement/solder is involved, are reusable.

You insert the tubing about an inch or so into the coupling/T/elbow and it "locks" and nestles into some sort of ringed gasket, but self-catches (and holds). You cannot pull it apart...

You use a little plastic C-shaped tool/key which wraps around the pipe at that joint and, with some pressure, you push down on a upper sleeve that "releases" the coupling, intact. I'd never seen this type of thing, as I've always gone the PVC/cleaner/cement/pipe-cutter route on the few times I've done this sort of work.

So you pay a bit more on the front end for T's, couplings, etc., but you don't lose them if/when you decide to reconfigure or do some more branching off or whatever.

I don't do this stuff much (plumbing work), but when I got home last night I Googled the hell out of Pex and the various "dry" connectors used and it's interesting to read about.

Wondering if anyone here had any stories or experiences - good or bad - to tell?

http://www.pexsupply.com/PEX-Tubing-516000

http://www.pexsupply.com/SharkBite-Fittings-595000

It was all new to me...
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2010-04-25, 13:04

Are these things food-grade, temperature, and pressure rated the same as PVC? I'd be worried about picking up some toxins or forming a leak. The first several items I clicked from your tubing link mentioned being used for fire sprinkler systems, which I doubt have to meet the same standards as tubing for potable water.

Just a thought. I have no idea whether this PEX stuff is any better or worse.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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billybobsky
BANNED
I am worthless beyond hope.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Inner Swabia. If you have to ask twice, don't.
 
2010-04-25, 13:06

I saw this stuff being used on a This Old House episode... It seems like a cost/time effective alternative to pvc, however, you shouldn't believe that it will never leak and that the fittings are completely and infinitely reusable. all materials will fail at some point.

edit: This material seems especially sensitive to both light and fenton chemistry (caused by iron in water)...
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-04-25, 13:14

Well, everything leaks and nothing lasts forever. But if, within a few months' time, you had to reconfigure something, you're uncoupling a removable system vs. cutting away cemented/"permanent" PVC or piping.

I don't know. I found links that outlined the downsides (can't be used outside, can't be exposed to sunlight, isn't good for unchlorinated(sp?) water, has to be supported every 32" inches for "sag", etc.

I doubt it's a catch-all replacement for traditional stuff. But in the situation yesterday (a fairly short run around some obstacles, in a dark, cool basement, etc.), it seems to fit the bill (so far). It's good for unbroken runs with no joints, only because you can put a little bend or swoop in it and with few leak-points than PVC might require (with the needed joints to route it around some turns). Actually, it was mostly the connectors that came into play for us. This stuff does mate up to traditional PVC (CPVC, actually...the stuff meant for hot water use) and then you can tie it into those SharkBite, no-glue connectors. Makes quick work of basic plumbing/routing. We had some hose with those connectors. Actually, we didn't even use any of the red, white or blue tubing (but a metal braided hose(s) outfitted with these connectors, going to CVPC and tying in to some existing plumbing.

I spoke to them about an hour ago and all is dry and working (been 24 hours now).

We'll see.

I just loved not smelling the cleaner and cement all afternoon...



"Ask This Old House" is also where I learn about new stuff like this too...cool new products, tools, materials, approaches, etc. I often think everything in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, etc. has "already been invented". But that's obviously not the case...someone, somewhere, is always working on a better, smarter mousetrap.

As with anything, one would have to be aware of the pros and cons to a particular material or approach. This stuff is no exception. It certainly can't be for everyone, or every situation (location, usage, budget, etc.).
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2010-04-25, 13:21

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I just loved not smelling the cleaner and cement all afternoon...
What's wrong with you?! I take it you don't like huffing glue and gasoline either.
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-04-25, 13:23

That stuff gets me higher than a bat. And, naturally, you always seem to be having to use it in the most closed-in, small and unventilated places imaginable...and the jars/integrated brushes couldn't be more prone to tipping over or gooing up everything around you.
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addabox
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: oaktown
 
2010-04-25, 13:24

My understanding is that PEX (which interestingly enough stands for cross linked Polyethylene, the cross linked part being the molecular configuration that gives it its unique properties) is used extensively in Europe for residential water service, so I don't think toxicity is an issue.

I am actually currently looking for some of this stuff (can't seem to find what I need at big box home improvement joints) for a completely unrelated reason, so go figure. I need to make a 5' reasonably rigid hoop, so I need something that bends if you insist but isn't too floppy, plus it has to bend to a consistent radius without any tendency to kink, and PEX seem exactly right. Plus, you can apparently get it in translucent versions (its natural state, I think, but it gets sold in red and blue versions for hot and cold water) which is just a bonus, since I might put some LEDS inside. And no, this isn't for Burning Man or anything, it's a stage play.

That which doesn't kill you weakens you slightly and makes you less able to cope until you're completely incapacitated
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psmith2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tennessee
 
2010-04-25, 14:13

Home Depot and Ace seem to carry it. Home Depot, naturally, has a wider selection of fittings. Not sure about Lowe's.

Yeah, the red is used for hot water and blue for cold. I guess to visually make it easier to see how a place is plumbed. Makes sense. A bunch of white doesn't tell you much (but you could put a few pieces of colored tape on it, if that was important enough to you, to tell, at a glance, what pipe is carrying what).

It's all very interesting to me, as, until yesterday, I never knew such tubing and connectors/fittings existed. It certainly made part of the job move along quickly. I think that was my favorite thing, being the hellaciously impatient and fidgety kinda guy I am.



"Hurry the hell up...let's go already!" will probably be on my headstone...
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drewprops
Space Pirate
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Atlanta
 
2010-04-25, 15:58

My concerns have already been registered by Brad and BB - the issue of safety and the issue of longevity. As we move toward systems that are easier to install and maintain we sacrifice the "bullet-proof" over-engineering of the past. I recall having spoken to a plumber about the situations he's encountered where a family has been away from their house when one of those braided supply lines deteriorates, resulting in a flooded house.

The "hardwired" (hard-plumbed?) solution is the costliest and in many cases clumsiest and ugliest, but it seems better suited for long-term uses for such critical systems.

I am, however, a Luddite.

(and I do lust after these cooler, simpler systems like the Pex)




..

Steve Jobs ate my cat's watermelon.
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Boomerangmacuser
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
 
2010-05-01, 02:06

PEX has been used in Europe for a long time. Very reliable and yes, it's safe. I had it in my last house. It was built in 2001. As long as you have brass fittings , T's and elbows, you're fine. They started out with plastic fittings and they used to fail.

My current house has Poly-B piping Circa 1988. I'm worried about it as it has plastic fittings.

Most constructions here (Vancouver BC) are done with PEX these days. Copper has it's own issues. Many older places around here have to have their copper pipes pulled or lined. Don't fear PEX.
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alcimedes
I shot the sherrif.
 
Join Date: May 2004
Send a message via ICQ to alcimedes  
2011-07-20, 16:36

I know a few people who've redone their plumbing with PEX, so far every single one of them has loved it and sworn they would never go back.

The first person I knew to do an install did it about 6 years ago, no leaks yet that I've heard of, but I haven't really asked either.

Google is your frenemy.
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