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Anyone use PEX tubing?
Old 07-26-2009, 10:00 AM   #1
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Anyone use PEX tubing?

DW and I are preparing to build our retirement home. I have a builder pretty well lined out. He's doing most, and I'm doing some. The plumber is scoping out PEX tubing, and I'm wondering if anyone else has had experience with it within the last 3 to 5 years. I know the older stuff wasn't that great, and had lots of problems with pinholes. The newer PEX has reportedly resolved all those issues. It is a nylon product that actually has better properties than copper.

My plans are to use a manifold mounted in the garage, and run dedicated (no splice) lines to each faucet assembly. (hot and cold)

Any thoughts?


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Old 07-26-2009, 10:08 AM   #2
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My son is using it and it is being used in yachts. One advantage is that it will expand should the line ice up. The breakpoints during freezing weather are the joints. No problems thus far.

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Old 07-26-2009, 10:16 AM   #3
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I have 2 houses. My 1st house, built in 1986, had polybutylene plumbing. The entire neighborhood had problems with leaks, some houses with disastrous consequences when the owner was away. I had 3 pinhole leaks. We all had to replumb with copper. Many of us were fortunate to do it early enough under the claim against a fund set aside by the class action lawsuit against the pipe maker. That billion-dollar fund probably has been exhausted.

My 2nd home built just 4 years ago has polyethylene pipe. This is good stuff. My neighbor forgot to turn the central heat on, and his house was frozen. With copper, the entire plumbing would be gone. Here, when things thawed out, it was like nothing ever happened. Amazing! Though the pipe may be elastic, one would think the elbow and tee joints would be severely stressed and cracked, but they survived. Well, some time later, he discovered a leak behind the shower valve, but that turned out to be the valve itself but not the PEX pipe.

I originally cringed when I heard about PEX, but this is polyethylene, not polybutylene.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:17 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bentley View Post
My plans are to use a manifold mounted in the garage, and run dedicated (no splice) lines to each faucet assembly. (hot and cold)
Any thoughts?
We have 20-year-old PEX with no problems. Gotta be careful crawling around in the attic, though.

And unlike copper, PEX won't give you much warning resistance when you slice into a wall with a reciprocating saw or a drill. I guess the plumbers have learned whenever possible to route it through the ceiling joists and down instead of up from the foundation.

We don't have a manifold but we see a lot of them in new-construction homes. Looks like a nice way for builders to reduce expenses. However I'd still put shutoff valves on the toilets, dishwasher, and fridge. You don't want to have to run downstairs to the garage shutoff when the upstairs toilet starts overflowing.

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Old 07-26-2009, 10:39 AM   #5
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We did a remodel three years ago and all the plumbing was in PEX. Recently added a water softerner and had to change out a couple fittings. Plumber told me PEX is all he would use and wish he used in his own home when he remodelled a couple years ago.
He did have a special tool for connecting the fittings which looked like a hand drill but expanded the pipe so the fitting would go in. He took out a fitting that was joined with compression rings because he said that type of fitting was not "code" so you may want to check your local zoning authority if they will be inspecting. The tool he said cost him over $1000 so suspect renting will be your preferred approach if you can not use compression rings at the joints.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:17 AM   #6
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Our 3 year old home is all PEX as are pretty much all the new homes in this area. No problems.
I was comforted to note that the gazillion dollar homes we recently toured as part of a "Parade of Homes" all had Pex.

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