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Unread 01-22-2010, 10:08 PM   #1
trailblazer2003
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PEX plumbing

So we are getting ready to finish our basement and plans include building a new 3/4 bathroom. Plan is to use PEX to plumb the new bath, and also to cut the old copper out of the old bath above and replace as well.

I priced out how I would run it DIY and were talking about $500 to get the job done including clamp tool. For the pros to do the job were looking at about a little over $1k.

So the question is, do I save the $500 and do it myself having never worked with PEX, though it seems really easy to do. Or pay extra to have pros do it and at least get some kind of warranty out of the deal?

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Unread 01-22-2010, 10:12 PM   #2
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PEX is pretty simple to use. It's just roll out, mark, cut, and pop together. Just make sure that when you start to clamp down on the fittings to the PEX that it's lined up perfectly or else you're SOL.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 01:31 AM   #3
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Do it yourself. Pex is wonderful stuff, and it has done a lot to take the trade out of plumbing. Pay attention to the obvious and you'll be fine.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 07:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by EagerJeeper View Post
Do it yourself. Pex is wonderful stuff, and it has done a lot to take the trade out of plumbing. Pay attention to the obvious and you'll be fine.
x2 I'm clearly not anything close to a plumber but managed to replace all the water lines in my house with PEX. It was not hard at all.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 08:37 AM   #5
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If you want to take some more difficulty out of pex just use sharkbite fittings instead of the clamp fittings. All you do is push the pipe into the fitting and your done. no clamps no glue nothing just push, click, done.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 11:04 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rishar1 View Post
If you want to take some more difficulty out of pex just use sharkbite fittings instead of the clamp fittings. All you do is push the pipe into the fitting and your done. no clamps no glue nothing just push, click, done.
It seems as though he is trying to save money, sharkbite fittings are expensive (but yes very simple). I work in a plumbing supply warehouse in Portland, Or. Just do it yourself, like one guy said just make sure the pex is on the fitting good and crimp the clamp down. IMO do not use the poly-pex fittings, use brass.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 11:05 AM   #7
trailblazer2003
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Cool. Yeah, i'm leaning more towards doing it myself. I guess my biggest hangups were just learning the olther placement plumbing rules. Were on the joists and studs to make holes, height of stub outs, etc... But I think i've gotten all I need from the internet on those subjects. My only other issue is I haven't asked the building inspector what the testing procedure is. WI stats that pressure testing needs to be no less than normal working pressure and test is by water. To me that just means charge the lines, and hope for now leaks.

Anyone use any of these pex copper manifolds? http://s3.pexsupply.com/images/produ...dvalveless.jpg

I figured since the bathrooms are on top of each other, I could run hot and cold 3/4" trunks to the manifolds and then run 1/2" to the individual fixtures. All together I have 5 hot and 8 cold lines to run. It seems easier then installing many tees within the small work area of both rooms.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 11:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DunerDude View Post
IMO do not use the poly-pex fittings, use brass.


^^ This, I did not know there were poly fitting for PEX, that is what killed the old grey Quest pipe, it was fine with a brass fitting, but some cheepo companies supplied polly fittings

Good luck and I agree it should be a pretty straight forward project.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 12:10 PM   #9
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Why not use copper (if you know how to work with it)? Shouldn't be that expensive to do just 2 bathrooms in copper.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 01:49 PM   #10
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One of the best things about PEX over copper is that freezing pipes most likely does not mean burst pipes.

I used PEX for my outdoor wood burning boiler in Minnesota. We had a power outage one night at 40 below. It took all of 5 minutes for the water to freeze in the sections of pipe that were above ground. Two 1" pipes frozen solid for over 2 feet.

I ended up draping a bath towel over the pipes and pouring boiling water onto the towel to heat them back up enough to get water flow. As soon as the water moved, it defrosted pretty quick.

My water main was also PEX. It froze a few times as well. Never had a problem with burst pipes except for the short section of copper pipe going to the toilet and sink in the bathroom. Both times they froze they burst.



Another good thing about PEX is it doesn't corrode. It also doesn't need soldering...
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Unread 01-23-2010, 02:10 PM   #11
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Unread 01-23-2010, 02:10 PM   #12
trailblazer2003
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Quote:
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Why not use copper (if you know how to work with it)? Shouldn't be that expensive to do just 2 bathrooms in copper.
Yeah not so good on the sweating copper part. I repaired a few elbows that were leaking when we moved in, took a bit of time to get it right. Also, the house was built in the mid 50's and a few more parts are in need of replacement. For $500 i'll still have some extra tubing to replace other sections later.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 02:49 PM   #13
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Why rip out the existing copper? Seems that would be a waste of money and time.

Sweating pipe is easy (if it is dry). The key is the solder follows the heat. Do not heat the solder but the fitting and the solder will draw up into the fitting. After you clean and apply flux of course.

Repairing pipe that has had water in it sucks period.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 03:03 PM   #14
Carl48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trailblazer2003 View Post
Yeah not so good on the sweating copper part. I repaired a few elbows that were leaking when we moved in, took a bit of time to get it right. Also, the house was built in the mid 50's and a few more parts are in need of replacement. For $500 i'll still have some extra tubing to replace other sections later.
The lead-free solder is not as easy to work with as the old 50/50 but my personal preference is still copper...just feel more comfortable working with it and have had good luck with it.

It will be interesting to see how pex under pressure stands up to the test of time.
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Unread 01-23-2010, 04:27 PM   #15
trailblazer2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GPV View Post
Why rip out the existing copper? Seems that would be a waste of money and time.

Sweating pipe is easy (if it is dry). The key is the solder follows the heat. Do not heat the solder but the fitting and the solder will draw up into the fitting. After you clean and apply flux of course.

Repairing pipe that has had water in it sucks period.
Yes repairing with water sucked the big one!! Unfortunately there is more to be done.

So here is the current setup.

3/4" main comes in and splits - 3/4 to softener and 1/2" to service bathroom and house bibb. So we have 4 fixtures on one 1/2" branch line (with a few bad elbows in need of replacement. New bath is under old, and we can't tie into existing because it is 1/2" pipe. So we need a new 3/4" line for cold to the area.

From softener goes 3/4" to water heater, water heater out goes 3/4" back to about where the softener is, then splits to service kitchen and it comes back on 1/2" to halfway to where the water heater is and then crosses back to the other side of the house and picks up the current fixtures in the bathroom upstairs. In total there is maybe an extra 15-20' of copper our water needs to run through before we get hot in the bath. So we can't run the new bath hot off that line either. So that means another new 3/4" line. Plus there are a couple elbows in need of replacement.

Here is the current idea.
3/4" main comes in and to softener, then to water heater. New 3/4 pex trunk comes off near the input to the water heater and will service old and new bath cold fixtures. A new 3/4 pex trunk comes off after hot exits water heater and will service old and new bath. These new lines will remove 45-50 feet of old copper that has been in the house since the 50's. At least we can recycle for some cash. Both trunks would be connected to a copper manifold in the ceiling and individual branch lines will service the fixtures.

Between having some current code compatibility issues, old lines and hard water to the bath areas, it seems to make sense to replace portions of the lines. I'd have to add in some regardless, why not replace and forget about it?

Sorry for the long post, I tried to depict the scenario as best I can.
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