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Author Topic: questions about pex  (Read 4710 times)
cody
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« on: January 12, 2010, 05:19:56 AM »

Just a couple of questions about pex tubing and sharkbite connectors, I'm seeing  lots of references to the stuff as being very forgiving in  regards to freezing and I'm wondering about it's use in a house setting and the grades available.  I don't know if the grades involve quality or usage, I'm assuming usage but I'm seeing such drastic price differences in the tubing that I guess I figured I should ask and get opinions.  One website lists a 300 foot role of the 3/4 inch water line for around 150 when another website lists a 100 foot roll of the same for 80 bucks, I'm thinking a quantity price break?  Also, they list colors available, I'm thinking red would be good for hot water and blue for cold just to make it easy to tell at a glance.  We've used CPVC for the Skanee house in the past and in the winter we've always had a problem here and there with water lines freezing and breaking, it seems that nomatter how careful you are, some water is left after draining the house for the winter.  I'm thinking that hooking up the pex lines to a manifold and putting an air valve on each one under the sinks, so each could be individually disconnected and blown out and left disconnected for the winter would help solve the problem?  The manifolds where they would be disconnected would be under the house, both the red and the blue lines are listed for potable water, I would want to get the best grade I could find for the lines, also I'm not having any problems finding local suppliers for the pex tubing but when I ask about sharkbite fittings I get a blank stare, is there a particular store name I should be using to ask for them?
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2010, 05:37:35 AM »

Cody,
   "Sharkbite" is a brand name. Go to Lowes and you will find this type fitting in the plumbing department hanging on a rack in little plastic bags near the PEX tubing. Different brand but work the same way. You just push the end of the PEX tubing into the fitting  (after installing the ferrule in the end of the tubing). If you want to remvoe the line, push in on the collar on the end of the fitting while pulling on the tubing.  This type fitting is available in both brass and plastic. The fittings at Lowes are white plastic.
   I used the red & blue PEX, Easier for simple brain to keep track of which is hot water and which is cold water.  Jack
Disclaimer: These fittings were purchased at Lowes in Ft. Myers & Port Charlotte, FL.  All Lowes may not stock them.
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 06:20:35 AM »

I had an old house with galvinized pipe that was closing up replumbed with pex, had seen it used in new houses.   Used red and blue,  a lot easier to work with than pipe.  Get the tool and use crimp fittings if your going to do a house.  Cheaper than copper and not likeley that the crawlspace will get broken into and be stolen.   Plus the old house kinda scared me to have a torch under there. Shocked
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2010, 06:23:23 AM »

Cody , Iam on the same page  as Jack , I had to buy my sharkbite fittings at Ace and they are pricey,However I love them I would use plastic if I could fined them.I forgot to mention I have pex in my house as well makes it nice. FWIW
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 06:25:51 AM by Eagle Andy » Logged

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cody
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2010, 06:31:07 AM »

Do the crimp fittings come apart easily for draining?  Also, I'm hearing the pex tubing is very forgiving to freezing but I'm assuming the connectors will freeze and break if they freeze up.  At Menards they have several crimping tools ranging from about 30 bucks to 100, any things to watch out for with them?  From reading the website it sounded like the main thing for pex was to cut the tubing square and insert the insert into the end to get a seal then pushing the tubing all the way into the connector, where does the crimping come into play?  Would the brass be better than the plastic for this application or does it really matter, I'm sure the price for the plastic connectors is somewhat cheaper but I don't want to cheapen the entire project just to save a buck on material, I want to do the best job possible and do it once lol.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 06:38:47 AM by cody » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2010, 06:50:14 AM »

Cody, I have always used the crimp fittings these guys that buy the shark fitting have a lot more money than me and they make a drain to install in the lowest area to drain the system or you can install one shark fitting to break the line but they will start leaking after a period of time of disconnects, it's what ever flips your switch. 



good luck
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2010, 07:05:33 AM »

Sharkbite fittings are different than most plastic fittings.  They actually have a serrated stainless ring that bites into the pipe to hold it.  They are code approved for use in walls and enclosed spaces although I would avoid doing do where possible.  Home Depot is the cheapest source I have found for Sharkbite fittings even comparing against online sources.  Home Depot is also convenient, at least for me.

I used FlexPex brand tubing in my bus.  It is much more flexible than other brands.  You can get it with red or blue lettering.  I bought a 100' roll of each color and now I have a ton left over.  I could easily replumb my bus from scratch again.

Crimp rings are really not designed to ever come off.  I would probably cut the end off and start fresh if I had to recrimp.  Just leave a little slack in the walls.  I had to replace some plastic fittings in my travel trailer and I couldn't get the PEX off the fittings after removing the crimp rings.  Sharkbite fittings are designed to be taken apart with a $2 little plastic tool.

Sharkbite fittings could get pricey for a house.  Crimp fittings could be cheaper, but the crimp tools are not cheap.
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2010, 07:06:27 AM »

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« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2010, 07:23:16 AM »

Cody fwiw the HD stores with a tool rental dept rent the crimpers and gauge for 3 bucks a day at least they do in Bullhead AZ

good luck
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cody
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« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2010, 07:35:44 AM »

We don't have any home depot stores up here, we did get a lowes about 100 miles east of us a year ago tho lol.  I'm thinking of making each line individual to the manifold with an air valve under the sink, that would be a crimped fitting with the other end at the manifold a disconnect fitting, that way I can disconnect each line at the manifold and then just go one by one with the air compresser to blow out each line, there would be about 6 hot water lines and about 8 cold water lines so it may not be a budget breaker to do it that way.
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« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2010, 08:06:11 AM »

As much bad press has been printed about Qest, I used all Qest plastic fittings and haven't had one leak yet.  And the plumbing was done 15 years ago.  But-I will use the Pex with compression fittings just for convenience.  Pex also makes nice manifolds for hot and cold.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2010, 08:13:00 AM »

Sharkbite is the brand name of a particular type of fitting, and they are made of brass.  They are the last thing that will have a problem with freezing...  They have a ring tool that is designed to release the tube from the fitting, it's more of a capability of enabling repair or if you screw up the install, not to do routine maintenance.  That said, I did drain lines in the bus this winter by releasing a pipe at the lowest points.  I do intend to install drains, just didn't think of it when I was doing the install.  I have to say I am impressed with how much new tech has come up in the mundane world of plumbing in the past years. 

Brian
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« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2010, 08:40:49 AM »

The "Sharkbite" type of fitting works so well, it is the preferred way of setting up the air systems on new big rig trucks.  It makes repair a snap.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2010, 09:09:36 AM »

Certainly one should never plan to have to disconnect a PEX line from a fitting on a routine basis.  One should add valves for draining if it there is a need to drain the plumbing.

If the house is winterized, do you blow air through the system to push all the water out?  My father and brother do this with their sprinkler systems here in Minnesota.  They use a small portable compressor to do this.
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« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2010, 09:09:58 AM »

We used the Manabloc manifold system in our bus (http://houseneeds.com/shop/plumbing/pexplumbing/vanguard/pexmanifoldsbuypage.asp).  It comes with the Qest type fittings on the Manabloc.  I used the 14 port version.  When I looked at trying to fabricate my own manifold, it did not make much sense.  I have a SIL in real estate and we looked at several model houses and this the the "standard" in our area for quality houses.

The manifold just makes good sense.  If any line develops a problem, you can simply shut off that line and keep on trucking until you can get the problem fixed (recall that the problem may not be the plumbing, but the "appliance").

Like others, I used the Qest type connectors.  At the time, HD had them.  They can be ordered on line.  Have not had any problems and have had to disconnect various connection and never had a problem.

Jim
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