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Thread: PEX vs AL-PEX

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member rockycmt's Avatar
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    Default PEX vs AL-PEX

    I have been planning a copper to PEX conversion for my hydronic monoflow loop via a PEX manifold. I read I have to use AL-PEX to prevent AIR from penetrating.

    First...How does Air penetrate PEX to begin with?
    Second...Do I need to do this? I am putting on an air eliminator.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You want a pex rated for hydronic use AND it should have an oxygen barrier. The specific version you choose is up to you. O2 can diffuse through the tubing wall if it doesn't have the barrier. An air eliminator only extracts bubbles, not dissolved O2. Dissolved O2 will react with the metals (especially iron) in the system (like the body and maybe impeller of the circulating pump). This isn't an issue with potable water, but can be critical in a closed system.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Master Hot Water Mpls,MN BadgerBoilerMN's Avatar
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    All PEX tubing must conform to DIN 4726, a standard established by the German institute for standards. Any PEX tubing meeting this German standard is adequate for all residential hydronic heating systems. The PEX-AL-PEX radiant tubing meets and exceeds this standard since in is in fact a tube of aluminum sandwiched between the layers of PEX. This makes the tube more rigid and expensive. There are reasons to use it as the stiffness lends itself to some applications better than others and in can be had in 20' straight sticks and rolls (all other PEX available in rolls only).

    Unless you have a special requirement the standard PEX will do.


    We use various PEX products here in Minneapolis when removing low hanging boiler piping to allow for basement remodels, and installing sub-floor radiant heating. We install PEX-AL-PEX when high temperatures or the rigid self-supporting qualities are needed.

    But I wonder why you want to take out your mono-flo system?
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    Last edited by BadgerBoilerMN; 01-14-2013 at 06:02 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member rockycmt's Avatar
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    I am doing a basement remodel. I want to lift everything up into the rafters. Also make proper zones to support living vs bedroom space. Right now whole house is on one monoflow loop. I plan to have 4 zones with 4 pumps. 1 living space, 1 bedrooms first floor, 1 bedrooms second floor, one indirect HW with priority. This seems like a much better setup. And inexpensive to do. Pumps, manifold, and controler with PEX < 1K.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member rockycmt's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I asked this question is I seen that AL-PEX is a totally different animal to work with. Can not use the same tools and fittings. Is there an equivalent PEX with O2 barrier product that I can use my standard crip rings on?

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Most any pex designed for hydronic heating should work. FWIW, breaking the house up into four zones might make for problems. Since the heat load when only one zone is calling for heat will be fairly small, your boiler might short-cycle itself to death without making some other changes since it will be producing much more heat than can be absorbed by the single zone (and maybe all zones, since the tendency is to overbuy capacity).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote. Any PEX tubing meeting this German standard is adequate for all residential hydronic heating systems.

    Not according to the PEX manufacturers, UNLESS that "German standard" is for tubing with an oxygen barrier, and IF your statemehnt were true, why would they even make PEX with an oxygen barrier?
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  8. #8
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    DIN 4726 is specifically for "oxygen barrier" PEX, and from what I can find, 'regular' PEX in the US does NOT comply.


    http://www.systecoreinc.com/microbubble.html

  9. #9
    Master Hot Water Mpls,MN BadgerBoilerMN's Avatar
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    Generally speaking there are two PEX standards, often available as the same tube, one being exclusively for plumbing (non-barrier PEX) and one for space heating (Oxygen barrier PEX). The respective manufacturers of the two types, be they foreign or domestic, pay for the privilege to stamp the PEX with the various standards and agree to comply same.

    Not all PEX is NSF for potable water, just as not all PEX conforms to the DIN 4726 barrier standard, but some conform to both. If you have a hydronic heating system with ferrous components you must use an oxygen barrier PEX or suffer the consequences. Whether you need a physically stiffer PEX that happens to exceed the DIN standard is a finer point of hydronic design and field conditions.

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