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Thread: Replace copper lines with PEX?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member mystryda's Avatar
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    Default Replace copper lines with PEX?

    I'm renovating a Cape Cod in Dayton, OH, including gutting a half and full bath. The house was built in 1940.

    There's evidence of previous water damage, but I can't tell for sure if it's from the drain lines or copper lines, though I suspect the drain lines, since they're in worse shape. I need to change where some of the lines are anyway, and some of the copper has been damaged or is severely restricted (there's a lot of 1/2" thin-walled lines that look like they may have been pulled to replace iron pipe). Reworking the plumbing with copper would mean a lot of barrel connections in the wall because of going through studs. What do you all think of replacing all the copper with PEX? Just replace copper that's damaged or needs to be moved?

    PEX would be easier to pull. Was thinking about doing 1/2" PEX homeruns to each fixture with a Manabloc manifold to avoid have joints in the walls. The water is relatively hard.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I'd probably use the pex. Keep in mind that the interior diameter of pex is smaller than copper, so your volume would be lower. Depending on the fixture, you may want to run 3/4" (say the tub filler, washing machine) to obtain max flow rate for those high-volume devices. Outside hose bibs, too. Things like faucets and toilets, no problem with the 1/2", as they are flow restricted normally anyways. I like the Uphonor (expanding) tubing and fittings...all pex pipe has memory, so on an expanding system, it is always trying to return to the original shape, and thus is making the fitting tighter. On a compression ring version, first, the fitting must fit inside the pipe, further restricting the flow, and then you need to crimp it properly to make the seal. The tubing is trying to expand back to it's normal shape, loosening the crimp if not done well. The only gotcha is the cost of the expander tool verses a crimper. pick one up used, or rent one, or buy a new one, then sell it would be my choice.
    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 Junior Member mystryda's Avatar
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    Do you think that replacing the copper is a good idea or a waste of time & money?

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Copper can last a very long time, so unless you have evidence of failures, or are changing a lot of things around, it may not be worth the effort. If you are going to move a bunch of stuff, then pex is a lot easier to run than copper. The transition fittings work fine, too. There are some places where the water can eat through the copper, and there, you have little choice. I just did some rework on my mother's house (installed a new tub/shower valve), and the copper pipe from 1954 was fine. Just depends on where you are and your water.

    If the pipes in the house are undersized for today's uses, or you've had problems, then yes. Otherwise, I'd probably leave well enough alone. Do others whree you live have problems with their pipes springing leaks, or other quality problems?
    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 Junior Member mystryda's Avatar
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    I just bought the house and am just meeting the neighbors. I'll ask around next time I see someone. It's city water, so if they have hard water then I think I would, too.

    Thanks for the advice.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Whether the pipes get eaten by the water is not necessarily a function of whether it is hard or not.
    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 Junior Member Joansie's Avatar
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    What are the pros and cons of replumbing a 1947 home that has galvanized pipe with either copper or pex?

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    DIY Junior Member Joansie's Avatar
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    Are there any issues with electrolysis with pex vs copper

  9. #9
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    It's not a good idea to mix galvanized and copper. Once you start adding the copper, the galvanized start to go quickly.
    The best repipes replace everything. New frostfree hosbibs, new tub and shower valves that are pressure balanced, new water heater connections, new shutoffs and supply lines to faucets.

    If you go with PEX, then the electrical panel will need to be check for grounding rods. They may have bonded the panel to the copper as a ground.
    The PEX is easier to repipe with, you wind up with fewer holes in the drywall, so less patching and painting.
    PEX and Galvanized are okay together, using brass.
    But keep in mind, even brass causes problems. Homes with galvanized often have nearly plugged up brass stops.

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