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Thread: PEX: Is it that easy?

  1. #1
    Renovating Footman_75's Avatar
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    Default PEX: Is it that easy?

    Hi folks,

    Just did my first PEX installation. It was a fast process. Each crimp passed the go/no go test, and the water is back on with no leaks.

    I'm still a bit leery that this method actually works. Waiting for the day when a tube pops off the barbs and my house floods at 65 gpm....

    QUESTIONS:

    1) Are there any signs I should look for that reveal a bad crimp (not including the go/no go)?
    2) Do crimps ever start off as water-tight and then eventually come loose? Or, is a crimp either good or bad, meaning a good crimp is and stays water tight, and a bad crimp leaks immediately. (Hope this makes sense)

    Note: I'm using crimp rite crimp rings.

    Thanks again and kind regards,
    Footman

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you insert the tubing properly on the barbed fitting, and the crimp ring is applied in the proper location; if it passes the go, no-go test, it's not going anywhere. Well, maybe if you had a couple hundred pounds of pressure, but that would never happen in a domestic, residential setting and the tubing would likely go before the tubing came off the fitting. There are billions of feet of pex installed over the world...installed properly, it works.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Yes, it IS that easy. Why do you think plumbing companies like it? They do not have to hire "professional" tradesmen since all they need is one person to "layout" the tubing and then any "knucklehead" can crimp the joints closed. And, since many install it like spaghetti, it takes a lot less time to do it, since neatness doesn't count.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4
    Renovating Footman_75's Avatar
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    Jim, Thanks. This is my seventh bathroom reno. In my ten years of upgrading and maintaining apartments, I've always used solder....until now.

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    Renovating Footman_75's Avatar
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    HJ, I've only posted a handful of times here, and you've replied to pretty much all of them. Always appreciate your comments.

    And sarcasm.

    Cheers
    "Knucklehead"

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Reality is NOT sarcasm, and what I posted also applied to the polybutylene installations in the 70s and 80s, and we know how those went.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    Reality is NOT sarcasm, and what I posted also applied to the polybutylene installations in the 70s and 80s, and we know how those went.
    Since pex has been in use around the world way before that pipe came about...if there were going to be widespread problems, I think they would have shown up by now. Not all pex manufacturers make a great product, I'd want to pick one from a company that has been doing it for awhile as there are lessons to be learned. Personally, I like pex-A, but -B, and -C (they're manufacturing techniques that produce slightly different pex properties) are less expensive, and if made properly, work, too. pex-A has the smallest bend before it kinks, and is the only one that can recover from a kink. The others require you to cut out the kink and install a fitting (at least if you follow the manufacturer's instructions!).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, it's really hard to compete pricewise against the guys doing Pex and shark bite plumbing work. All the customer cares about is that water comes through the faucets with no leaks anywhere at the cheapest price possible.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    It will be a sad day when you can only get some guy with a roll of pex in his trunk to come out when you have a plumbing problem. At least the price will be low...

  10. #10
    DIY Member MushCreek's Avatar
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    My first experience with PEX was not good. I plumbed a small bathroom in my barn, checked the crimps with the gauge that came with the crimper and- it leaked! Several places, in fact. I'm a very meticulous worker (I'm a tool maker by trade) and was pretty upset. On a whim, I bought another gauge, and, lo and behold, no more leaks! It turns out that the gauge that came with the crimper (Lowes) was too small, and I was over-crimping the joints. I actually measured the two gauges; the one that came with the tool was smaller by a fair margin. I'm going to go ahead and do my house with PEX, fingers crossed that it holds up over time. There's always resistance to new technologies; sometimes justified; sometimes not. I'm sure when copper first came out, there were plenty of naysayers. In our FL home, built in 1981, we've had several leaks develop in the copper from erosion. I don't know if it's the water, the quality of the pipe, or what, but I worry about the pipes buried under the concrete slab.

  11. #11
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Since pex has been in use around the world way before that pipe came about...if there were going to be widespread problems, I think they would have shown up by now. Not all pex manufacturers make a great product, I'd want to pick one from a company that has been doing it for awhile as there are lessons to be learned. Personally, I like pex-A, but -B, and -C (they're manufacturing techniques that produce slightly different pex properties) are less expensive, and if made properly, work, too. pex-A has the smallest bend before it kinks, and is the only one that can recover from a kink. The others require you to cut out the kink and install a fitting (at least if you follow the manufacturer's instructions!).
    There have been many many problems with pex in Europe. It's just that their legal system is different than ours and allows for settlements to be kept hidden from the public view. There are many problems here as well that don't get much press and we have a problem that most of Europe doesn't ant that's chlorinated water which degrades pex in pretty short order.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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