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Thread: Is this PEX? PEX to copper fitting?

  1. #1
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    Default Is this PEX? PEX to copper fitting?

    Hi, new here. I am an avid DIYer and I'm DIYing a bathroom remodel. But I'm not 100% sure on the plumbing aspect of it. Had a plumber come over to give me estimates and he started going off on how horrible the types of pipes I have in my house is. So I wanted to get some unbiased opinions here about the type of fittings and pipes I have in my house. What are the best fittings for these types of pipes if I wanted to transition to copper where the water lines are coming in to the bathroom?

    images are too large so I didn't want to embed them here. But you can see the types of pipes by linking on below link
    http://imgur.com/a/ZEL2z

  2. #2

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    Google Polybutylene tubing.

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    thank you jm66208

    ok so this stuff is bad. I want to convert my entire bath to cooper or pex. This way if there's ever a failure in the future, it will be at the transition point between current polybutylene piping and new copper/pex. And this transition point can be easily accessible from my kitchen soffit and I wont have to pull up tiles in the bathroom. But what do I use to transition between the two? And what's the verdict on PEX? I know copper is the safest way, but I can't ignore the cost savings of PEX.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Ask ten plumbers about pex, you'll likely get 10 different answers. It's been in use in Europe longer than in the USA. Because the ID is smaller than copper, you can't get the same volume through similarly sized piping (1/2" pex is closer to 3/8" copper). So, it depends on what you are planning on volume. Many of the fixtures in a house are flow restricted. Things like tub filler, washing machine supply, outside hose bibs, all are not restricted, so can use all the water you can provide. So, it depends on what you're supplying, the size of the pipe you want to use.

    There have been some failures with pex, but those manufacturers went out of business. Wirsbo/Uphonor is one of the originators, and has been around for ages. There's lots of info on pex if you use the search function.

    Copper is still probably the best, but there are advantages to both. In some places, the water chemistry and soil can eat holes in copper fairly quickly, and then your best choice is probably pex. Pex is easier to retrofit since it is flexible, and in most cases, you can eliminate any intermediate connections which minimizes any place it could leak and maximizes the flow, but it is still smaller. The OD of copper and pex are the same, but for strength, the pipe's wall thicknesses are quite different. Where you want max flow, use a larger size of pex than you would if using copper.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Sharkbite makes a PB by PEX coupling.
    Like most plumbers, I prefer to use these where I can get at them again.

    I use Uponor PEX with good results.

    The gray side is for PB pipe.


  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    PB is CTS, so either end of the Sharkbite will fit it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    In the Trades Jerome2877's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    PB is CTS, so either end of the Sharkbite will fit it.
    True, however the difference is the size of the plastic insert that fits inside the pipe thats meant for the id of PB.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Ask ten plumbers about pex, you'll likely get 10 different answers. It's been in use in Europe longer than in the USA. Because the ID is smaller than copper, you can't get the same volume through similarly sized piping (1/2" pex is closer to 3/8" copper). So, it depends on what you are planning on volume. Many of the fixtures in a house are flow restricted. Things like tub filler, washing machine supply, outside hose bibs, all are not restricted, so can use all the water you can provide. So, it depends on what you're supplying, the size of the pipe you want to use.

    There have been some failures with pex, but those manufacturers went out of business. Wirsbo/Uphonor is one of the originators, and has been around for ages. There's lots of info on pex if you use the search function.

    Copper is still probably the best, but there are advantages to both. In some places, the water chemistry and soil can eat holes in copper fairly quickly, and then your best choice is probably pex. Pex is easier to retrofit since it is flexible, and in most cases, you can eliminate any intermediate connections which minimizes any place it could leak and maximizes the flow, but it is still smaller. The OD of copper and pex are the same, but for strength, the pipe's wall thicknesses are quite different. Where you want max flow, use a larger size of pex than you would if using copper.
    Thank you Jim, Terry, and others for the useful advice.
    I got copper pipes (type M, since the guy at HD said if I already have PB in my house, no point getting type K pipes as PB will likely fail before type M copper pipe does).

    Anyways, I understand copper is safer in the long run. Although I have soldered stuff (on electronic circuit boards), I have never sweated on copper fittings. I have looked at some youtube videos and it doesn't look like rocket science. But laying out, cutting, cleaning, deburring, applying flux and soldering on copper fittings will definitely take me a lot longer than running PEX lines and crimping all the PEX fittings. Not sure how foolproof it is to crimp on PEX fittings. Is it hard to mess up even with a proper crimping tool? If it is pretty much foolproof, I think I will return all the copper stuff and go with PEX as that will take me a lot less time.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you size the pipe for the application, pex can work fine. Copper is more robust, but you're right, there will be a lot more fittings, of course, some people install pex like copper with lots of fittings. Depending on the type of pex (there are three manufacturing techniques -A, -B, and -C), type -A is the most flexible and can be bent into the smallest radius. And, is the only one that can be restored if you kink it without cutting out the kink and substituting a fitting. All of the -A (I think) uses the expander and different fittings than -B and -C. Pex has a memory, and I like the idea that -A doesn't rely on a crimp ring at all, it relies on its memory and collapses onto the fitting. The manual tool is a good hand workout! And a power one is not cheap. Sometimes, should you decide to go that route, you can pick one up, then resell it on an auction site and recoup most of the money. Both systems work.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Thanks for the info. I see that my three pb pipes are entering the bath as 3/4" but they are reduced to half inch before splitting up for shower, toilet, and sink. So what size pex pipes should I use to keep waterflow the same? If it makes any difference, I want to install a rain shower

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