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Thread: Pressure test PEX with air compressor pressure regulator

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member chuckd83's Avatar
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    Default Pressure test PEX with air compressor pressure regulator

    I replumbed my house with PEX and now want to pressure test it. I would rather do it with air. Uponor says to bring it up to 120 psi to condition the pipe for 30 minutes. Then take it down to 80 psi for 2-24 hours.

    Can I use my air compressor pressure regulator to do this?

    1. Connect compressor to one fitting and set line to 120 psi.

    2. Bring up to 120 psi for 30 minutes then down to 80 psi.

    3. Check pressure at second fitting for 2-24 hours.

    ??? my first time.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    There is not much volume in a supply piping system so you will want to be careful not to overdo it. Tee in a regular pressure gauge and a threaded schrader valve anywhere in the system. Make sure you are not pressurizing any fixtures or appliances! Leave the gauge in place for the duration of the test. (I would mount a gauge permanently where there is an unfinished space like a utility room or basement.) I use a regular bicycle pump with a long hose to pump up the system.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 01-20-2014 at 04:02 PM.

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    DIY Member edwardh1's Avatar
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    one risk of every "hydro" is over pressurizing the item being tested and damaging it.
    is the 120 50& above working pressure? soundes high

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The safety pressure release on a water heater opens at 150psi...120 isn't too high.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member chuckd83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    There is not much volume in a supply piping system so you will want to be careful not to overdo it. Tee in a regular pressure gauge and a threaded schrader valve anywhere in the system. Make sure you are not pressurizing any fixtures or appliances! Leave the gauge in place for the duration of the test. (I would mount a gauge permanently where there is an unfinished space like a utility room or basement.) I use a regular bicycle pump with a long hose to pump up the system.
    Thanks for the advice. As to the 120 psi comments, here are the Uponor instructions:

    Uponor recommends conditioning the system at 1.5 times the test pressure, or 120 psi. The following conditioning procedure is unique to PEX-a due to the high degree of crosslinking and associated thermal and elastic properties of the pipe.

    When pressure is applied against the inner wall of PEX-a, the internal diameter (ID) of the pipe will slightly increase, causing the pressure to drop while the system equalizes. After a period of 30 minutes, the PEX-a piping will be sufficiently conditioned to start the pressure test.

    Conditioning and Sustained Pressure Testing Procedure

    1. Visually confirm all connections are properly made per Uponor’s installation guidelines.
    2. Ensure that all components, fixtures and equipment not rated for the test pressure are isolated from the test system.
    3. Ensure that all other thermoplastic piping materials are isolated from the test system.
    4. Fill the system with potable water, air or a mixture of both.
    5. Condition the system at 1.5 times the required test pressure for 30 minutes. This will require constant pumping or cycling the valve and compressor to maintain a pressure of 1.5 times the test pressure. If cycling the valve and compressor, apply additional pressure once the psi has dropped 10 lbs.
    6. After conditioning the system for 30 minutes, quickly relieve excess pressure by opening the valve. Close the valve when the system has reached the desired test pressure. Note: Uponor recommends a test pressure of 80 psi (unless local code dicates higher pressures).
    7. Once the valve is closed, confirm a slight rise in pressure (3 to 6 psi). This will occur since the pipe’s internal diameter (ID) is shrinking from its conditioned state to equalize at the lower pressure.
    8. Visually check for leakage and monitor the pressure for the duration specified by local code. (A typical pressure test can range from 2 to 24 hours.)
    9. If there is no reduction in pressure, the system is regarded as leak tight. Note: Slight fluctuations of pressure are normal due to ambient temperature changes, especially during long durations (e.g., 24 hours).
    10. Flush the system as required by code.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Pex-a installed with the expansion system, is IMHO, more robust than when using crimped connections. But, neither should be a problem at the pressures indicated.
    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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