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Thread: Exposed Utility Plumbing

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member FLJeff's Avatar
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    Question Exposed Utility Plumbing

    I am in the middle of planning a whole-house re-pipe. My house is slab-on-grade with copper tubing under the slab. Like many others I have had too many under-slab leaks (all hot side) and I want to re-do the plumbing properly. I plan to run Uponor/Wirsbo PEX through the attic. Based on what I have read in these forums I think I have a good idea how to do most of this.

    I am having difficulty with the garage part of the project. Not having a crawlspace or basement, all of the utilities (water softener, water heater, circulator, manifold, valves) must go in the attached garage. All of the plumbing between these will necessarily be exposed.

    What sort of pipe would be best in this sort of exposed installation? PEX? CPVC? Copper? The garage is drywall finished and uninsulated. I doubt this part of the garage interior ever gets below freezing because it is against the insulated wall to the house. In my area, the temperature drops only slightly below freezing outside at most a few times a year. The garage does get indirect sunlight when the door (north facing) is open, so there is the potential sunlight exposure problem for PEX. I am not sure how big a deal indirect sunlight is.

    Also, I don't think I want to run the PEX from inside the wall directly to the utilities in the garage. I feel like it would be better to terminate the in-wall PEX line to some sort of "wall fitting" perhaps with a valve. This would let me disconnect any of the exposed plumbing from the wall in the future without having to cut drywall or damage the in-wall runs. I understand the standard ways of penetrating the wall for toilets and sinks using PEX: copper stub ells, direct PEX to compression stop, etc. None of these seem right for the utility stuff though. The copper stub ell would be fine except that soldering to this could damage the PEX in the wall. What is the best way to make this transition between the exposed and concealed plumbing?

  2. #2
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    I would run PEX all the way. Just strap it down. As far as exposure to sun light if it's not in direct sunlight I wouldn't be to concerned. One thing you should do is use pipe covering on the cold line in the attic space. This will help to prevent the cold water from getting hot in the summer. (attic spaces get very hot down here in the summer) As far as freezing, if that was a problem down here the exposed water line feeding the home would also freeze.

    John

  3. #3
    DIY Member wallskev's Avatar
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    It would be simple just to box the pipes in with a simple 3" deep x 6" wide box. And then paint the same as the Garage.
    Kevin

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