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Thread: PEX and Air Chambers

  1. #1
    semi-pro Garfield's Avatar
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    Default PEX and Air Chambers

    Chicago suburb, Lake County, and PEX is allowed here. We follow the Illinois Plumbing Code, with a few local amendments that aren't applicable to this issue.

    The local Plumbing Inspector says that air chambers are required at every fixture, even though the manufacturer says that air chambers are not needed with PEX.

    So instead of nice, continuous home runs with just a connection at each end, we now have some 90's, T's, plugs, and many more connections per fixture. I think this really blows and negates several of the advantages of using PEX:minimal # of fittings, fewer joints (possible weak/leak points) and directional change with less pressure loss than 90degree fittings.

    Can someone shed some light here and let me know the reasoning behind this? Why would a plumbing inspector require air chambers with PEX when the mfgr says the opposite? Or is it that they are just so used to copper that they want PEX systems to be run like copper, except they'll let you use plastic. Yeah I did ask, but didn't get anywhere.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Try asking about using Water Hammer Arrestors...

    If they say no to that you know you are fighting city hall....

  3. #3
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    They say it because they can.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    PEX does NOT eliminate water hammer, it just absorbs the sound. Properly installed air chambers eliminate water hammer, until they get "water logged" and then they are "permanently" ineffective because there is VERY little likelihood that you will ever get them drained, no matter how many "cures" you are given to try. The manufacturers recommend whatever the engineers, who have NEVER really installed it, say should work.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Cool that is a joke

    putting air chambers on every fixture is total overkill...

    I have seen them on occasion

    maybe at the tub and shower faucets...
    perhaps on top of the water heater.....
    and on occasion we see them pre installed in laundry boxes....

    it is probably just another "make work" thing for the plumber
    also it is just a few more joints that could leak sometime in the future
    which the service plumber will simply cut out and eliminate years from now

    I wonder if you are also required to install a
    PRV valve in every home...and a thermal tank too....

    with a prv valve , and a thermal tank
    would that not also throttle down the water pulseing through the system??

    if you have insepctors that enforce this ,
    then you just have to do it to make them happy


  6. #6
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield View Post
    Chicago suburb, Lake County, and PEX is allowed here. We follow the Illinois Plumbing Code, with a few local amendments that aren't applicable to this issue.

    The local Plumbing Inspector says that air chambers are required at every fixture, even though the manufacturer says that air chambers are not needed with PEX.

    So instead of nice, continuous home runs with just a connection at each end, we now have some 90's, T's, plugs, and many more connections per fixture. I think this really blows and negates several of the advantages of using PEX:minimal # of fittings, fewer joints (possible weak/leak points) and directional change with less pressure loss than 90degree fittings.

    Can someone shed some light here and let me know the reasoning behind this? Why would a plumbing inspector require air chambers with PEX when the mfgr says the opposite? Or is it that they are just so used to copper that they want PEX systems to be run like copper, except they'll let you use plastic. Yeah I did ask, but didn't get anywhere.

    Thanks.
    I would check again in Lake County. Pex is not allowed by their amendments.
    82. Type L copper or galvanized piping must be used in water supply, unless
    approved by this department.
    http://www.lakecountyil.gov/Planning...ing%20Code.pdf

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member plmbrbob's Avatar
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    Some municipalities may allow pex, but not unincorporated areas. For god's sake, they still require cast iron underground. Dinosaurs

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