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Thread: Pex installation - northern michigan cottage

  1. #1
    sea-bee chuck b's Avatar
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    Default Pex installation - northern michigan cottage

    Just purchased a small (624 square feet) Northern Michigan seasonal cottage. I intend to drain the water lines, water heater and place rv anti-freeze in the traps over the winter.

    I have completely gutted the combination of old galvanized, plastic and some copper water supply lines and was going to sweat copper lines for the enitre project. I was inforned that should a early freeze occur before I perform the winterization draining of the lines, that PEX is very forgiving and a better choice.

    I am quite comfortable with sweating copper and realize the benefit of using PEX.

    What would be the best way of sorting through which of the fittings are best, i.e. compression, Shark-bite, etc. also, don't quite understand where in the system the "manifolds" are located and what that actually does.

    The water line that enters the house would then be connected to what size diameter PEX, then to the Sediment filter, Water Softener, Water Heater and Pipes. What diameters?

    I will have the following on the system re: designing a manifold?:

    Bathroom: Shower, Toilet, Sink
    Kitchen: Sink, Disposal and Dishwasher
    Laundry: Washer/Tub

    Hoping that there is a video available or a good book on it. I'm handy juist need to know how to do it and what "fittings arrangement" work best.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    For such a small structure I would plumb it just as if I were using copper.
    Uponor Wirsbo PEX and fittings using the Wirsbo expansion tool instead of crimp rings will allow for suitable flow.

    http://www.chilipepperapp.com/PEX-Plumbing-manifold.asp

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A manifold allows you to run 'home runs' to each fixture, and to (normally) be able to shut off each individually. On a cottage, that probably isn't a big deal. You will use more fittings if you run it as if it were copper, though. The biggest benefit from using pex is that you often can avoid fittings except at each end of the run since it will bend around corners. Because pex is floppy, you may need an air compressor to blow all of the water out to winterize the cabin as there would likely be some low spots where it droops between supports (you need some droop to allow for expansion/contraction which is greater than with copper). Because pex has thicker walls, and the outside is 'fixed' like it is on copper, you end up with less flow. Now, you do have fewer fittings (normally) and the pipe is smoother because it is one piece, but that doesn't always overcome the ID issue. SO, if you have a high flow device, you may want to use bigger tubing that you would have if it was copper -- say use 3/4" where you might have used 1/2". For low-flow things like most vanity faucets, toilets, single shower heads, etc., 1/2" should be fine and even 3/8" might work. An exterior hose bib, maybe a washing machine, and certainly a tub spout would benefit from a larger pex supply. Uphonor's -A type pex and the expansion fittings it a premium product, and it works. They are the only manufacturer that both sources and makes its own tubing - they control the process from the beginning to the end. Others outsource at least some of the materials or processes.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member LOTW's Avatar
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    I suggest that when you lay out the system that you make it as accessible as possible because sooner or later you are likely to have a frozen tube which may break. And lay in a supply of sharkbite connectors and caps and spare tubing to make repairs.

  5. #5
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    I would double crimp it with brass fittings. Harder to break in a freeze

    http://www.pexsupply.com/Rifeng-Crimp-Fittings-543000

    you can close the SS clamps with tile nippers or end cutters.
    Last edited by ballvalve; 02-22-2011 at 09:52 AM.

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