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Thread: Gimme PEX education

  1. #16
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    Itís cool but I was making a point. And it did have a bit of a question in it to. Miscommunication will happen all of the time so it doesnít matter.

    Have you ever had to install a recirculation system in a PEX home run system? And if so how is it cheaper to install then with copper.

    I have worked on a lot of houses with the utility room on the far side of the house then where the bath rooms and the kitchen are located. The house I was working on last night had 80 foot pipe run to the first T off for one of the bath rooms. I donít know why a lot of houses are set up like this but I see it all the time.
    I've used it extensively for heat at 180 degree's, so if you're already using it for hot potable at 130, why not on a recirc?
    One thing I'd consider in my area though, I know PB is still legal, but you cannot use it on a recirc..have yet to research that one on PEX.
    ESPECIALLY for long runs, it's more cost effective.
    PEX is definitely not what I'd use in tight spots with alot of offsets or tee's,
    I'm just too worried about those fittings being concealed.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  2. #17

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    I think PEX looks like hell when itís in stalled and then try looking at it after you do a recirculation system on a home run system. You end up with a bunch of Tís, a bunch of 90*ís, extra manifold (some of the time I end up with valves to control the flow on some of the runs), check valves on each home run return, and a pump 24/7 or a timer system.

    With copper you just have to double back with a 1/2 off the main run and use a check valve. If itís 2 stories then you have a second 1/2 run and a second check valve. I insolate all of my hot and cold water lines when I run copper.

    If you can show the math on how a home run PEX system is cheaper then copper on a recirculation system then I would love to see your math. Why not do the math on a single story 2.5 bath and kitchen. Open basement with the hot water heater on far side of the bathrooms.

    I donít know about where your at but where Iím you canít get away with not using 90*ís. The inspectors will not pass a PEX install unless all of the runs are more or less in straight runs. PEX must be supported every 20 inches.

  3. #18
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    I donít know about where your at but where Iím you canít get away with not using 90*ís. The inspectors will not pass a PEX install unless all of the runs are more or less in straight runs. PEX must be supported every 20 inches.
    I have done AquaPEX for other shops, but have yet to run it for my own inspections. I don't use PEX on anything but heat.
    I don't like it's appearance either, there's a statement in our code that actually calls for uniform appearance and PEX is hard to keep straight without clipping every 12 inches. (it curles naturally from being stored in rolls)
    As far as using it for baseboard, it's low pressure and the fittings are exposed, so if a leak were to happen down the road at least it's accessible.
    I don't propose to be perfect, or closed minded..in a year I could be saying the opposite, but for now I think I'll wait.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  4. #19

    Default okay home depot?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo
    Go to a local supply house. They will probably specialize in one brand of PEX and will have the tools and fittings to go with that brand.

    You do need to think about sizing, because PEX is CTS ( OD) but thicker wall, so the ID is much smaller than copper.
    So, do you think home depot carries an adequate brand. I have read several postings that are pro wirsbo. home depot does not carry that. at least where I live. I was thinking of ordering online and the guys at my home depot are not very smart. It is a relatively new home depot and I don't think the plumbing dept. is very experienced.

  5. #20
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    Thank you Rugged. We needed that. Whatís your response Gary?
    What'd he say!! Where is what he said! I love to hear him rant and now I've missed it...
    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    I know that Iím starting stuff but I do want to know what you will come up with.
    He LOVES the money he makes on copper and he's scared to death of having a leak etc.. Didchya read where he busted a tub the other day and hid the damage while the lady stood there and saw the rock, or rocks, there were two of 'em, fall off the ceiling panel?
    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    I have seen many studies on where plastic lets bacteria grow in its pores if itís not made at the right temp.
    I recently read those studies and then more showing copper allowed more bacteria growth than plastic when the test was run for a bit longer than it was for that original study.
    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    I donít like the manifold setup because if you need to add on then youíre off to snake a new feed. With copper if the installer will think for a few seconds before he installs the piping than adding on is a snap.
    So if you need to feed a new fixture in the future, use the branch method instead of a difficult snaking. If the place is being added to as in a new addition, feed the new area with a new feed line to another manifold with homeruns.
    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    How about having to stand there to let you have hot water at the sink when you just took a shower? That bugs the crap out of me.
    The same happens with copper AND, copper allows heat loss much faster than any plastic... Or run your domestic hot water recirculation with PEX.
    Quote Originally Posted by got_nailed
    But then anion Gary do you mostly work on high end houses that have all the bells? Most of the work I do have hot water recirculation systems. Would you pleas show me a diagram for doing this in PEX and show me how it is more cost less than copper. And before you ask yes I have done it 3 times now.
    "anion"? The only anion I know is in water treatment as in anion resins; they attract negative charged ions like sulfates, chlorides, Nitrate etc.. Softener resins are cation.

    I'm not a plumber but anyone should be able to run a piece of PEX from a tub/shower/sink back to the water heater. Hell sparkies run Romex to/from 'em all the time; even gas and oil heaters, boilers etc.. I've done a lot of water treatment plumbing on potable water lines and well water systems and... I sell equipment all over the US into all types of houses, mostly new and nearly new and some are very large. My record is 5.5 bathrooms and some of them with large two person with 6 body spray showers. More and more have PEX for potable water lines and hydronic heat systems.

    More and more people with branch and tee PEX, don't like it, and get upset when they find out after the fact, that it takes so much less time and fittings but they were charged as you charge for it. They usually know of the plumber or who it was and they won't be calling him for a long time into the distant future. I'm just the messenger here ya know... I get into the type of plumbing to help my customer do his DIY install of the equipment. To me, without getting into the water quality issues of copper, if you're running branch'n tee, I say stay with copper. But, expect to constantly lose business.

    Now as to my guess of what my good buddy DUNBAR PLUMBER, aka RUGGED, may have said.... He should be told that all industries change in time. Plumbing is changing like we gave up horses for cars, even when there wasn't so much as one mile of road like in the whole country! And going faster than 10 mph would kill us because it would suck the air out of our lungs! Wodd and then lead pipe and such was replaced by galvanized and then that was replaced by copper. Plastic is replacing copper. My excavator SIL told me on Sat that a plumber that he does excavation for said his price for a 100' roll of K copper was $497. I said why not a 500' roll of 1" 160 or 200 psi rated PE pipe for like $140 (it's been awhile so maybe I'm low on that $100 or so). He would sell a lot more water line replacements IF he'd offer/sell PE instead of only quoting copper. And he'd reduce his costs and the customers' costs and still have enough to do 3-4 more 100' jobs with... word on the street gets around very fast, and bad word of mouth gets going and travels faster than any good words.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  6. #21

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    My biggest problem with PEX is not that itís plastic its how it has to be done where I live at. Yes my hourly rates goes up when I install it because of the issue of I must stand be find my work.

    I would try to sell more people on using PEX as long as they didnít know about the manifolds. They make life hell for installing and I donít see how they help to much compared to a properly installed copper layout. If I could just run the 2 3/4Ē runs and T off to 1/2Ē for everything it would not be bad. if you have a manifold system and you try a T off the customer wants to keep it a manifold system (so your out of luck).

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser
    I'm not a plumber but anyone should be able to run a piece of PEX from a tub/shower/sink back to the water heater.
    For a hot water recirculation system using the manifold system you would be running 3 cold lines and 4 hot lines to a bath room. But now you need on both of the return lines a check valve before it goes into the return manifold. With PEX so far I donít know how not to set them up with out using a pump. So 7 PEX runs to a bath room hmm looking good.

    There is a section in the code book that talks about uniform appearance and needs clips every 20Ē. So now on the inspection everything must be straight; you canít bend it you must use 90*ís and 45*s.

    *** I should quote my self to death and re quote Gary but if read and not taken out of contest then I have now answered everything.

    *** has anyone run some numbers on labor and materials for installing a PEX (must use 90*s and manifolds) Ėvs- copper 2.5 bath house with a hot water recirculation system. They way Iím looking at this its all down to how much it cost to do the job. If some one sits down to do it I want to see the parts

  7. #22
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    This is part of my "pro's" and "con's" list for PEX, more so for the "sharkbite" fittings.
    I went back to do some final touches on a baseboard job, went to clip down a line that was attached to a baseboard with a SharkBite coupling.
    As I pushed the line towards the wall the coupling weeped...only a little, and this is over a concrete floor so I won't obsess over it.
    It's the first time I've tried these...until it has more time in the field, I may hold off.
    I DID make sure the connections were completely into the hub, apparently the seals don't handle lateral movement very well, or I just had an isolated incident....verdicts still out.
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  8. #23
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    I wasn't aware of 'your' support it every 20" code, never heard of that; obviously the people with manifolds that speak to me don't have the (silly) code....

    I don't know much about hot water recirc systems and maybe this is totally wrong but, I visualize a hot line teed off the main hot line coming from the heater to the manifold, run to the bathroom and teed off to each fixtures' hot side (what 2' before the fixture maybe?), and then back to the cold inkliet on the heater or on the heater drain. That's one 360* line to each bathroom instead of each fixture. You may or may not need a pump. Frankly I don't like domestic hot water recirc systems. Currently, fuel to heat water costs more than water... so operational costs are greater than the cost of water' which may be changing soon, especially out West. The systems can cause corrosion in copper and if the water velocity isn't controlled, in PEX too.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  9. #24

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    On each return line will need a check valve and depending on the lengths of the runs you will need flow valve.

    I have not seen anyone do it with out a pump so far but the theory that works with copper I can not see working with PEX. Itís based of as the water cools and there is already motion in the pipes it will keep moving. It gets into heat risking and a bunch of other stuff. (I know I just backed my self into typing out how it all works but I donít want to.)

    But yes we have to support ever 20Ē and can not bend the pipe (we use a lot of 90* angles). There are a lot of strange codes where Iím at and I think they will spread around the country in a few years. Off subject; A lot of our electric codes we are using donít come out in the NEC till 2008 I think (I donít deal with them).

    As far as the ďTĒ off the line your right.
    It would make more since to me to either;
    -To run all the lines to the back of the shower and use smaller manifolds there.
    -Run a single run down the main line like with copper and ďTĒ off as needed.
    Doing this would save time and money and would make life a breeze. It would make the whole hot water recalculating systems cost about 1/2 of the cost.

  10. #25
    Licensed Grump GrumpyPlumber's Avatar
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    Gary, you're obviously heavily exposed to the industry.
    What are your thoughts on CPVC?
    "The biggest regrets we have in life are the chances we never took."

  11. #26
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    To my equipment I prefer PVC over CPVC, of course for cold water only, but where there is a code against its use inside a building, the next larger CPVC is fine. I also like PE pipe for service lines and well systems.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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