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Thread: Pex is Pex? Or are there variable levels of quality?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member pmayer's Avatar
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    Default Pex is Pex? Or are there variable levels of quality?

    All, I am installing in-floor radiant heat, and plan to use 1/2" PEX tubing. My local home center has PEX on sale for about half the price of a contractor who provided me with a quote. That contractor said that PEX comes in three types: Good, medium, and bad. He further indicated that the stuff that my home center sells is the bad variety, and will definitely cause big problems in 15-20 years as it breaks down. Another contractor told me that "Pex is Pex", but that I should buy his because of the value added services he will provide me during the installation and beyond.

    How can I tell the good stuff from the bad stuff, other than price (which can be a misleading proxy for quality, especially when the sources are so vastly different).

    Is anyone able to comment on this?

    Thanks!

    Paul

  2. #2

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    I have plans for the same. I've read ALOT and there is alot of info on the web about it. The best I can tell you is that Kitech and Wirsbo are very well known and appear to be the most used. There are a few varieties. Pex-a and Pex-b are used for their oxygen barrier properties which is important when ferrous metals are in the system. There have been extensive posts on this forum about all of it. It would be nice if we had a sticky giving all the details and differences....might need us a liberry or a forum just for radiant floor heat....
    Last edited by Randyj; 02-12-2007 at 12:07 PM.

  3. #3
    Rancher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randyj
    Pex-a and Pex-b are used for their oxygen barrier properties which is important when ferrous metals are in the system.
    I thought PEX-A,B,C were just different methods of manufacturing PEX, and the oxygen barrier was something else that was added or in the case of PEX-AL-PEX it's the aluminum center that is the barrier. Did you read that it was one of the methods of preparation that creates the Ox barrier?

    Rancher

  4. #4
    Rancher
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    "Non-Oxygen Barrier PEX Tubing is designed for use in Hot/Cold plumbing applications. It may also be used in Radiant Heat applications where no ferrous components are present. Ferrous (metal) components such as cast iron pumps, malleable fittings, and iron valves will rust if non-oxygen barrier tubing is used. " Sooo if I have a radiant heating system that uses a polyethlyene storage tank, which is obviously open to the air, that using PEX with an oxygen barrier is a waste of money?

    Rancher

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What do you use for a pump, and what heats the water? ARe there any zone valves? Any iron in there? Oxygen is better kept out of those systems - that's why they have air extraction systems and expansion tanks.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member pmayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    What do you use for a pump, and what heats the water? ARe there any zone valves? Any iron in there? Oxygen is better kept out of those systems - that's why they have air extraction systems and expansion tanks.
    I will use an electric boiler to heat, and I am not sure what the pump is, but it will basically be something like this: http://www.radiantmadesimple.com/thermssystem.html

    The home center sells the stuff with the 02 barrier, and it is much cheaper than the rms guys, the the other radiant heat guy that I talked to. I like good deals, but the deal will not seem so good if I have to bust up a slab of concrete in 20 years.

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    I agree with Randy, There should be a liberry, reference thread or something dedicated solely to PEX. The PEX industry has been around for years and it just hasn't taken off yet. I believe this is for two reasons. 1: Consumer skepticism and 2: Consumer (including pros) confusion. The industry is so fragmented into seperate businesses and various PEX systems and types that it is difficult for the consumer to grasp. Buying a piece of copper isn't confusing, buying PEX is! There are so many choices, and it's not like buying a car. You can't buy it because it looks nice.
    The discussion of PEX on this forum is also fragmented. What better place than this forum to establish a clarifying reference point for the PEX that is out there.
    Obviously the reference would have to be free of private interests (individual or corporate). A moderator will have to see this post and evaluate the possibility of this happening.

    Requesting clarification,
    Molo
    Last edited by molo; 02-12-2007 at 06:10 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Please someone at least tell me why this won't work. (if it wont) The previous post I made proposes something that I think this forum could benefit from


    Thanks,
    Molo
    Last edited by molo; 02-14-2007 at 05:04 PM.

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking get the WIRSBO PEX

    this might sound stupid, but they have miles of wirsbo
    pex on sale at e-ba///

    in fact they have a lot of information about what they are selling for radiant heating...


    go there and simply see what they are selling

    under plumbing-radiant hteating

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    IN particular I'm proposing a poll/reference/ or whatever you would call it, that would really compare and contract all of the different brands/fitting types etc. that are out there. Almost a consumer reports approach. Where people could chime in and over time develop a great reference developed by the people in the field using the product and homeowners and their experience with the PEX line of products.

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