Need Help working with PEX
Iím thinking of re-plumbing my potable water needs with a PEX system. I have a slightly aggressive water condition (although safe for consumption)that is pitting my copper pipes (22 year old home), plus my water pressure isnít the greatest. Iím currently afraid to try and increase the pressure with thin (schedule M) pipes that tends to pit as it is.)
My plumbing skills are limited- I can solder, however if Iím going to replace the copper- I donít want to use copper again even with a better (thicker) pipe since eventually they will leak again- plus, I donít relish the thought of soldering in tight places.
Everything Iíve read about PEX seems to work for me. It will not be affected by the aggressive water, and can be easily installed. (I do have some concerns about mice eating at the PEX??)
My first set of questions regard the different methods for joining the tubing to connections. Itís my understanding that the different systems are unique and must be used consistently. I was thinking of using the Wisbro system of compression and expansion. Does one tool do both? Can it be used in relatively tight spaces (under sinks)? Do I have to get special PEX tubing for this system?
My current game plan is to modify my current copper plumbing with PEX. I have a two story home with an exposed basement ceiling. I can clearly trace where the ĹĒ copper pipes branch off the ĺĒ main to the separate sites of the kitchen and Ĺ bath above on the first floor. I am considering disconnecting and sealing off the current ĹĒ pipes that feed to the kitchen and re plumb PEX from a manifold to each fixture. The ĺĒ copper would then be connected as a separate line in the manifold as well to continue to supply water to the second floor.
The reason Iím not thinking of redoing the 2nd floor plumbing immediately is because it presents some major obstacles for my limited plumbing and carpentry skills. The current pipes are hidden in the walls and ceilings, and I donít know exactly where they are. (Ideally if I knew where they were I could cut them out and replace them with PEX tubing, fishing them through the same holes in the walls and joists. Instead Iím considering a new route maybe through closets etc. to reach the upstairs fixtures.
I'm not concerned with the copper terminations on a pex system failing for many reasons, primarily because the copper failures that I have experienced are never on vertical members, only on the horizontal pipe.
Any thoughts or comments are most welcome.