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Thread: replacing old pipe.....need help picking out what to use....CPVC, PEX, Copper???

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    DIY Junior Member firedogut's Avatar
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    Default replacing old pipe.....need help picking out what to use....CPVC, PEX, Copper???

    So i have galvanized pipe that was installed in 1984. The last homeowner replaced maybe 10% with copper leaving me with about 150 feet of galvanized pipe. Over the last 5 years i have had 3 pin hole leaks and ready to replace the old with the new.

    I have a few plumbers come out and bid the job. All pipe is in the attic, easy to get to. Horizontals only, connecting to existing verticals.

    Two plumbers stated they would only use CPVC or Copper, no PEX. They both went on and on about how bad PEX is and so forth. One bid was 1600 and one was 3700 for CPVC. They both said copper would at least double that about.

    Had two plumbers come out and quote only PEX. the would both use the Uphonor system with brass fittings. no manifold just running the PEX like the current pipes are, elbow and tees as needed....one bid is $1700 and one is $2000.


    So i live in Houston Texas. Summers are HOT. attic gets hot. My area has HARD water. what are the pros and cons of PEX vs CPVC. If it was your house what would you use.


    Currently off of two drops i have vertical pipe that rises up maybe 12-18 inches above the horizontal pipe. It just reg galvanized pipe on one and copper on the other....both are capped. I'm sure this was installed to help with water hammer but i'm not sure they do anything. Should new ones be installed?

    My wife and I normally do projects ourselves, (no AC/heat system, Wood floors, tile, stone patio.....etc) however i priced the PEX out at around 500-700 because i would have to by a lot of tools (Uphonor expander, pipe wrenches...etc). My wife is to busy at work to help so it would just me. I am also terrified that i will break the threads on the verticals causing huge head aches and adding on costs so i figure the 1000 extra is a insurance policy...plus the attic is 120-130F during the day.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Those stubs sticking up and capped are essentially worthless, and you can eliminate them in your re-pipe (unless they might have been for an evaporative cooler or something like that). If you have things that need hammer arrestors, put in engineered ones at the point of use (washing machine, DW, ice-maker may be candidates). Are the pipes already in the walls copper? If you are going to repipe, I'd not want to leave any galvanized around. Other than frying your brains, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke from working in the attic at those temps, any of the pipe systems should work. You really want the pipes to run right next to the ceiling, underneath as much insulation as you have. But, keep in mind, that insulation only slows the transfer, won't stop it. At the end of a long, hot day, if the ceilings are hot, the water in the pipes will be too. If you were willing to tear a little drywall out, you could make your joints inside the wall rather than in the attic, as pex would be able to make the corner without fittings. Since it is on a roll, it would probably be faster to run the pipe in pex.
    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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    Retired prof. engr. gator37's Avatar
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    If selecting copper I would recommend Type "L" for above grade not Type "M". Below grade Type "K" if applicable. Than insulate it.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Go to something like pex dot com and use the SS single crimp system. the tool is only 30 bucks and the crimp clamps are well engineered and cheap . The uphonor expander is a pain in the butt by hand and I have never had a leak with the crimping SS clamp rings - they have some "give" and act a bit like the shrink system in my opinion. [not the dull steel crimping rings] I use two clamps per fitting although no one seems to think it needed. Freezing does not seem to have any effect on the brass fittings.

    One huge advantage of the clamps is that you can "build" the entire layout loose and then send your kid or dog to go set the clamps at the end of your layout. Just try that with expansion rings, especially under some tub or joist space. Great idea Uphonor or Wirsbo, but a pain in the butt without your 400$ tool and a nice freeway space to work in. CLAMP IT!

    You can use tile cutters or end nippers too, for setting the clamps, but no one wants you to know that .

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    I vote PEX, but you might give Jerry a call, he's in Houston.

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    DIY Junior Member cdkalk's Avatar
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    I am in almost the exact situation except my house was built in 1979 and I live just outside Houston. It was like I was reading a post I could have written. So, how have things worked out? What did you do and how did it go?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you are using the "cinch" rings, which would have to be the case if you can secure them with tile nippers, HOW do you use two of them per joint since they "wrap" over the end of the pipe so that they are properly positioned, and thus there is NO WAY for two of them to be put on the tubing?

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