Uponer Pex-A for Repipe

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Rwbil

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I am inquiring about the need to repipe a house. Initially, I was considering using Pex-A, which I have used in another home. However, I have recently come across lawsuits regarding Uponor Pex piping failures. This is disheartening since my previous research indicated that Uponor Pex-A was considered one of the best options available, and I had hoped it would be a durable and long-lasting piping solution.

In addition to these concerns, I have discovered that my local supplier only carries white Uponor piping. There are varying opinions on whether the issues are specific to colored piping or if all Uponor piping is affected.

Question 1: I can find Uponor, Viega, and Apollo brands near me. Uponor tends to be more expensive than the other two options. Is Uponor still considered the top choice among professionals for Pex-A repiping? Are others still using Pex-A for repiping purposes? While CPVC is an option, using Pex-A would make the repiping process much easier in this townhouse. CPVC is both more challenging to install and can become brittle over time.

Question 2: In the past, I used colored Pex-A pipes, with red for hot water and white for cold water. Are others still using colored pipes, or are they using white for both hot and cold water lines? I have heard of stripped pipes, but I haven't come across stripped white pipes.

Question 3 Should I be concerned with the Uponer Pex-A I installed? Should I be looking to join the lawsuit or try to request they send me replacing piping and fittings? What are others doing about the Uponer Pex-A they already installed?

Question 4 Uponor no longer sells their compression Manifold. What is the best manifold option? I see they have copper manifolds with ball valves. They are very expensive, but is this the best option or are the plastic manifolds acceptable.

Question 5: Are there any additional comments or issues related to Pex-A that I should be aware of? Would you recommend using a different product for the repiping, considering the concerns surrounding Uponor Pex?

Thank you for your insights and any recommendations you may have regarding this repiping project.

Edit: As I research more I see one plumber talking about Zurn Pex-B being a superior product, yet installs with the same expansion method as Uponer Pex-A. Previously when I researched Pex-B had to be installed with clamps and those had leak issues, plus it was not as easy to bend and thus more fittings to leak. Any links or knowledge on this topic is appreciated.
 
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JohnCT

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The Uponor problem apparently affects only a tiny percentage of Uponor pipe sold, but there are verified issues with some Uponor pipe, many on this site alone.

Put a gun to my head and my best guess is that it's a batch or batches problem with Uponor A. I say this because I have seen samples of Uponor from the *same* installation where some pipe (white) is yellowed and brittle and other sections in the *same* install are white and flexible and look like new. This to me eliminates or partially eliminates water quality (such as chloramine) as the cause of the Uponor failure, which is what the youtuber who does repiping thinks the problem is.

My guess is that it's a combination of things - a bad batch of pipe that is unusually susceptible to chlorine or chloramine burning.

It could also be the way the pipe was handled. Was the pipe sitting in the back of a pickup truck exposed to sunlight for a significant length of time, or even stored in a warehouse with bright lighting that would cause UV damage? One thing we do know is that all PEX should be kept out of direct or reflected sunlight, but also artificial lighting which would allow a smaller UV exposure but over a very long time.

I don't know why this all happened exactly, but it scares me enough to avoid Uponor for now. Uponor is understandably tight lipped about this issue, but if I *knew* the cause was a bad batch where they recognized what went wrong, or if the pipe was stored badly, I would use Uponor again.

Yes, most (if not all) of PEX B is now certified for F1960 expansion regardless of who makes it, which means you can use the PEX B (which has no issues AFAIK) with the superior expansion method of connection. The downside is that the B is a bit more difficult to bend, etc., but that's a small trade-off compared to the unknown reason for Uponor pipe failure.

PE-RT pipe (similar to PEX but without the crosslinking) is also now certified for F1960 expansion. I would avoid CPVC like the clap for the reasons you mentioned. I wouldn't worry about the Uponor pipe you already installed but it's still a small percentage. Take a look at some sections you installed - if there is no sign of cracking or splitting at the expansion points, you're good. If it looks sketchy, then by all means worry.. ;)

But until I know for sure what happened to those Uponor failures, I'm avoiding it for now.

John
 

Eman85

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I just repiped my home with Zurn as that's available local and it says made in USA, the Apollo I believe is China. The Zurn comes in black plastic bags to prevent ultravilolet exposure. I use stainless cinch clamps on mine. I'm removing CPVC and placing it where it belongs, in the trash. Every piece is so brittle it shatters if you attempt to cut it.
 

Tuttles Revenge

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My opinion, that the method uponor uses to color its tubing likely caused the defects they're experiencing. We have been using a similar PEX-a Mr. Pex that is expansion but colors their tubing throughout the body of the material rather than a baked on coating.

I was the first installer of Uponor in our area forever ago and I've never seen a problem with any tubing that wasn't installer error or some other external force after the fact.
 

JohnCT

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My opinion, that the method uponor uses to color its tubing likely caused the defects they're experiencing. We have been using a similar PEX-a Mr. Pex that is expansion but colors their tubing throughout the body of the material rather than a baked on coating.

I was the first installer of Uponor in our area forever ago and I've never seen a problem with any tubing that wasn't installer error or some other external force after the fact.

It's also affecting the white pipe, possibly in a smaller percentage. Someone on this site (I think it was here) posted pics of a roll of uninstalled white Uponor pipe that had yellowed like the sections of failed split Uponor removed from a home.

John

EDIT: Here is the pic of the brand new white Uponor not even put into service. I had downloaded the picture when it was posted on this site I believe. Of course, we don't know the storage or handling of this role, but it does appear to be suffering the same degradation as the colored pipe.

pex burned.jpg
 

Jeff H Young

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Rwbil , I think the problem is not with all the Uponor of any variety . And the guy you are talking about the PEX repipe expert of the entire world. Not so sure I trust the facts , he tells us you can look at a piece of pipe and tell that 2 pieces are identicle just by the naked eye and a lot of jibberish. He may have a ton of knowledge but Im Suspect of his facts .
Id trust uponor from a supply house today provided its rescently manufactured.
 

JohnCT

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He may have a ton of knowledge but Im Suspect of his facts .

The only thing we know for sure from his videos is that the Uponor pipe he installed several years ago is failing and he's been replacing it, under his lifetime warranty I presume. I get why he would be pissy about Uponor pipe.

What I don't necessarily agree with is his conclusions of what's going wrong with that small percentage of Uponor pipe both colored and white. For instance, he says it's a direct result of chloramine burn but the expansion rings themselves are also yellowed and cracked, unless the chloramine is moving through the base PEX (?). I also have trouble reconciling the fact that I've seen some sections of pipe affected by yellowing, cracks, and leaks and other sections in the same job white and flexible like it was new, so it's got to be more than just the water quality on these failures.

As for me, until I get an real answer, I'm going to avoid Uponor because I don't know if what they're making today is any better than what the pipe that is failing now. If they aren't saying what went wrong, maybe they don't really know.

John
 

John Gayewski

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We only use pex a. The brand doesn't matter. I tend to like a soiux cheif expansion rings better than the uponor ones but that's really the only preference I have. Using pex b and Pert can be hit or miss. It/they tend to leak at times because it/they have inferior plasticity compared to pex a.

I've used PERT and only had a few problem joints that needed redone but it's enough for me to prefer pex a.
 

Rwbil

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I just repiped my home with Zurn as that's available local and it says made in USA, the Apollo I believe is China. The Zurn comes in black plastic bags to prevent ultravilolet exposure. I use stainless cinch clamps on mine. I'm removing CPVC and placing it where it belongs, in the trash. Every piece is so brittle it shatters if you attempt to cut it.
While it is intriguing that PEX-B is compatible with the Uponer Expansion tool, I have some concerns about its flexibility when compared to PEX-A.

One of the aspects I truly appreciated about PEX-A was its ability to run smoothly from the home run manifold to the shutoff valve without the need for additional fittings. This seamless connectivity was especially advantageous in attics, where insulation and protection against freezing are paramount.

I have attached a photo showing my installation of PEX-A, where I was able to navigate down the wall, bend it over horizontally, and then bend it back towards the fixture. This level of flexibility allowed for efficient routing. My question is whether PEX-B offers a similar degree of bendability.

Also I don't see Zurn Expandable fittings locally. I just see the crimp ones. Can you use Uponer Propex with Zurn tubing?
 

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Jeff H Young

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The only thing we know for sure from his videos is that the Uponor pipe he installed several years ago is failing and he's been replacing it, under his lifetime warranty I presume. I get why he would be pissy about Uponor pipe.

What I don't necessarily agree with is his conclusions of what's going wrong with that small percentage of Uponor pipe both colored and white. For instance, he says it's a direct result of chloramine burn but the expansion rings themselves are also yellowed and cracked, unless the chloramine is moving through the base PEX (?). I also have trouble reconciling the fact that I've seen some sections of pipe affected by yellowing, cracks, and leaks and other sections in the same job white and flexible like it was new, so it's got to be more than just the water quality on these failures.

As for me, until I get an real answer, I'm going to avoid Uponor because I don't know if what they're making today is any better than what the pipe that is failing now. If they aren't saying what went wrong, maybe they don't really know.

John
Yea I dont belive a whole lot of what that you tuber says about the chlorine and how anybody can look at 2 pieces of pipe and be certain they were made exactly the same way the same chemical mixture and recipee is identicle just by looking at it.
So he loses every shred of credibility with me . So there his story and then pretty much nothing from Uponor so that makes you belive what? that all uponor is bad product?
I also dont belive companies are repiping houses for a lifetime for free
 

JohnCT

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So there his story and then pretty much nothing from Uponor so that makes you belive what? that all uponor is bad product?
I also dont belive companies are repiping houses for a lifetime for free

It doesn't make me think all Uponor product is bad, no. We all know millions of feet of Uponor A has been installed with zero problelms.

Still, I also know is that there are certain installations where people are getting 10 leaks in fairly new Uponor before doing a full repipe. Uponor is paying for this, but they aren't answering *my* questions.

If Uponor said something like "yeah, we had a bad run of pipe that became brittle and cracked and the problem was identified and corrected", I'd use it again. But I don't know why some Uponor fails and some doesn't, they aren't saying, and that scares me.

Regarding the youtuber - his advertisements say they have a "lifetime transferable warranty" on repipes, but I don't know what that includes or if there are any exclusions.

John
 

JohnCT

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. My question is whether PEX-B offers a similar degree of bendability.

Also I don't see Zurn Expandable fittings locally. I just see the crimp ones. Can you use Uponer Propex with Zurn tubing?

No, B is not as flexible as anyone's PEX A. There are probably some corners plumbed in B that will require fittings rather than bends (I would use the bend supports though with the A).

You can use Zurn B with Uponor F1960 expansion fittings.

John
 

Jeff H Young

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I get the concern with the failures I only guess that Uponor thinks its bad for buisness to make it public. I see zurn has had a class action with thier product as well Have they come clean on thier product failures?
I saw the lifetime warranty and zero details , but manufacture warranty will pay them for the first 25 years. .
 

Rwbil

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I wanted to provide a follow-up regarding my search for suitable PEX pipe and fittings. Unfortunately, the process has been rather disheartening thus far. After conducting some research, I had initially considered using Zurn PEX-B pipe and their F1960 Expansion Fitting. However, when I contacted my usual supplier, Ferguson, they seemed unaware of Zurn's expansion fittings and insisted that Uponor was the brand offering such products.

In an effort to clarify the situation, I reached out to Zurn directly. They provided me with the contact details of their sales representative for my area. I contacted them and obtained a list of companies that were supposedly stocking Zurn products. To my dismay, none of these companies had the Zurn F1960 Expansion Fitting in stock, despite providing them with the exact part numbers to search for.

This setback has brought me back to the drawing board. I am determined not to use crimp connections for several reasons. As it stands, my options seem to be using Uponor white pipe and hoping that the concerns raised by a particular YouTuber regarding the white piping are unfounded. Alternatively, I could explore another PEX-A expansion pipe and fittings, although many of the available options appear to be Chinese-made. Lastly, I could consider using Zurn PEX-B pipe with Uponer fittings.

Is there is a better option that I have not considered, please let me know. Otherwise, out of the options I have mentioned, which one would you suggest?

Edit:

Finally got a hold of a higher manager at Ferguson. For Zurn they have to order the fittings, but he is pushing Jones Stephens Pex-A, which he says is a Ferguson Owned Company. They carry the Jones Stephens Plastic Pex Expansion Fitting in the stores. He did not know where they manufacture these products, so still need to find that out. Any opinion on Jones Stephens.
 
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JohnCT

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I wanted to provide a follow-up regarding my search for suitable PEX pipe and fittings. Unfortunately, the process has been rather disheartening thus far. After conducting some research, I had initially considered using Zurn PEX-B pipe and their F1960 Expansion Fitting. However, when I contacted my usual supplier, Ferguson, they seemed unaware of Zurn's expansion fittings and insisted that Uponor was the brand offering such products.

In an effort to clarify the situation, I reached out to Zurn directly. They provided me with the contact details of their sales representative for my area. I contacted them and obtained a list of companies that were supposedly stocking Zurn products. To my dismay, none of these companies had the Zurn F1960 Expansion Fitting in stock, despite providing them with the exact part numbers to search for.

This setback has brought me back to the drawing board. I am determined not to use crimp connections for several reasons. As it stands, my options seem to be using Uponor white pipe and hoping that the concerns raised by a particular YouTuber regarding the white piping are unfounded. Alternatively, I could explore another PEX-A expansion pipe and fittings, although many of the available options appear to be Chinese-made. Lastly, I could consider using Zurn PEX-B pipe with Uponer fittings.

Is there is a better option that I have not considered, please let me know. Otherwise, out of the options I have mentioned, which one would you suggest?

Edit:

Finally got a hold of a higher manager at Ferguson. For Zurn they have to orAder the fittings, but he is pushing Jones Stephens Pex-A, which he says is a Ferguson Owned Company. They carry the Jones Stephens Plastic Pex Expansion Fitting in the stores. He did not know where they manufacture these products, so still need to find that out. Any opinion on Jones Stephens.

You would be surprised how many people are unaware of PEX B (most if not all) now being certified for F1960 expansion. Most still go by the equation that A is expansion, B is compression. The truth is A can be compressed and B can be expanded.

AFAIK, the inside diameter of Zurn B pipe is the same as Uponor for the same given OD, so I would have no problem using anyone's F1960 fittings (which sets the dimensions).

I honestly don't know if I'd use anyone's house brand. PEX is cheap enough not to try to save a few pennies per foot in my opinion. I'd take Uponor over any Chinese sourced pipe (and no, I don't know if the Ferguson house brand is Chinese).

Sioux Chief, Everflow, and Rehau also make A. There might be others. You might want to try to contact them with your questions and report back here what they say for all our benefits.

John
 

JohnCT

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I see zurn has had a class action with thier product as well Have they come clean on thier product failures?

Yes, the problem was with the brass fittings, not the pipe, although I don't know if Zurn and others affected by the same problem were immediately transparent or if this was only publicly disclosed during the class action lawsuit. IIRC, it was the particular alloy they used that had too much zinc. When the zinc leached out under certain water conditions, the remaining alloy would corrode.

Current production has fixed this as brass fittings now have less zinc which prevents the corrosion in bad water conditions.

John
 

Nebojsa

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So far i have not heard anybody say anything about PEX-B having the same issue as PEX-A (red) .
 

THOMAS W

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I wanted to provide a follow-up regarding my search for suitable PEX pipe and fittings. Unfortunately, the process has been rather disheartening thus far. After conducting some research, I had initially considered using Zurn PEX-B pipe and their F1960 Expansion Fitting. However, when I contacted my usual supplier, Ferguson, they seemed unaware of Zurn's expansion fittings and insisted that Uponor was the brand offering such products.

In an effort to clarify the situation, I reached out to Zurn directly. They provided me with the contact details of their sales representative for my area. I contacted them and obtained a list of companies that were supposedly stocking Zurn products. To my dismay, none of these companies had the Zurn F1960 Expansion Fitting in stock, despite providing them with the exact part numbers to search for.

This setback has brought me back to the drawing board. I am determined not to use crimp connections for several reasons. As it stands, my options seem to be using Uponor white pipe and hoping that the concerns raised by a particular YouTuber regarding the white piping are unfounded. Alternatively, I could explore another PEX-A expansion pipe and fittings, although many of the available options appear to be Chinese-made. Lastly, I could consider using Zurn PEX-B pipe with Uponer fittings.

Is there is a better option that I have not considered, please let me know. Otherwise, out of the options I have mentioned, which one would you suggest?

Edit:

Finally got a hold of a higher manager at Ferguson. For Zurn they have to order the fittings, but he is pushing Jones Stephens Pex-A, which he says is a Ferguson Owned Company. They carry the Jones Stephens Plastic Pex Expansion Fitting in the stores. He did not know where they manufacture these products, so still need to find that out. Any opinion on Jones Stephens.
I have no opinion on the JS pex...yet. I will be in discussion next week or the week after with a rep for them. I will say that if you are not on a recirculation line, then you would be absolutely fine to use the Uponor pipe and fittings. If you are on a recirc line then you may want to use the Zurn pex B pipe and either the Zurn expansion fittings or the Uponor expansion fittings. Not all Ferguson counter people know about the Zurn expansion. No reason to carry both Uponor and Zurn expansion, especially now that they have the JS expansion, by the way Ferguson owns Jones Stephens and is the largest plumbing supplier in the United states. so they will back up any warranty no problem if it ever happens.
 

JohnCT

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.. by the way Ferguson owns Jones Stephens and is the largest plumbing supplier in the United states. so they will back up any warranty no problem if it ever happens.

Thanks for that info Tom, looking forward to your report.

The thing about warranties is that if they only cover the cost of the material, it's not much of a warranty at all. My concern is a failed pipe or fitting that does collateral damage, and a repipe is messy and expensive.

Someone here used PE-RT after his Uponor failed because PE-RT has a 100 year warranty, but it was never established if it was covering the material (big deal) or all costs associated with a leaking pipe, like on a two story house when the pipe in the ceiling lets go.

Regarding the recirc line, is it your suspicion that the Uponor failures have been on recirculation lines and the issue is temp/time?

John
 

John Gayewski

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I mentioned PERT. Legend makes it and it has a 100 year warranty. My personal experience has been mostly positive although I have noticed it takes more time to contract after expansion and the zurn expansion fittings in my opinion are junk. If using PERT I would definitely use uponor or soiux chief fittings and rings.
 
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