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Thread: Soldering Near PEX, Polybutylene

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member JB1069's Avatar
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    Default Soldering Near PEX, Polybutylene

    I need to replace my tub/shower faucet and ran into an issue that I'm not sure how to deal with. After removing a portion of the back wall I discovered that my house has PEX lines up to a copper end connection. I've never dealt with PEX before. Is it safe to solder close to this stuff? I'll try to add an attachment picture to this, but my question is whether I should cut the copper end and solder in a union fitting or would I be better off putting in a compression union and spare the heat from soldering? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Jerry
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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    That looks like polybutylene to me. If you cut the copper there, you can even use a compression coupling. No soldering at all with that.
    Though if you put a wet rag on the PB, you may be able to make it work soldering it too.
    Last edited by Terry; 11-19-2013 at 09:43 AM.

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    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    The soaking wet rag works for me. Also, work fast.

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    DIY Junior Member JB1069's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses Terry and dj2. I never even thought that the tubing might be PB, but looking at the marking I see that it is. In searching on the internet for polybutylene it sounds like I should seriously consider replacing all of it. Is that something you would typically recommend as well? The articles made it sound like concerning myself about heat from soldering should be the least of my worries. If I do decide to take the chance, cross my fingers, and live with it, do sharkbite fittings also work with a PB to copper transition? Thanks again.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    Now you talking - re-pipe.

    Copper may not be the perfect choice, but it's still better than the other choices, IMHO.

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    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Most failures with polybutylene were the fittings and the crimp rings. Those at fault were plastic fittings and aluminum crimp rings. You have copper fittings and copper crimp rings.

    John

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    DIY Member DaveHo's Avatar
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    My house had PB. Gone now & replaced with Wirsbo/Uponor PEX. All 5 of the PB failures I experienced were with the pipe itself. And just because the fittings in that pic are copper, who knows what's hidden in the walls. My house had a mix of the plastic & copper fittings. Yank out as much of the PB as you can get to, & put it on the todo list to completely remove.

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