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Pex - Is the extra cost worth it...

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Tom_133
Tom_133 Member Posts: 891
Hey All,

Im finally getting around to the big shop slab i asked questions about earlier in the year. It's not huge 4800sqft. The owner of this shop is feeling the squeeze on the pocket book and he sees there are pex brands online that sell for much less money and still have an O2 barrier. I personally always just use Uponor, its always been great. Any out there see a problem with burying the cheaper pex in a slab to save some dollars?
Tom
Montpelier Vt
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Comments

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,944
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    If it fails you're going to spend a whole lot more than you "saved".
    SuperTechMad Dog_2Zman
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    Once it's in the slab, it's a **** to replace.

    If it's made by Rehau, Mr. PEX or HeatLink, no problem as they are all PEX A. Others? Nah.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    Mad Dog_2clammy
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,956
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    While Uponor HePex is great, the added cost is not even close to worth it for something that's going to be embedded in a slab anyway. With that said, trash like Vevor and whatever else you find on Amazon is worth exactly what you pay for it. Pex-A of any brand is more flexible than B or C, but again, when embedded in a regular building slab, serves no purpose. If/when it freezes, it bursts just the same as B or C would. I have installed thousands of miles of pex in slabs, and have used a little bit of everything. I always go back to Everhot pex-B unless it's snowmelt where the slab may heave. HePex is absolutely not worth the money. I don't care much for Rehau or HeatLink myself as they're not very flexible for A. Mr Pex is great, and a fraction of the cost of HePex but the last couple years Heliopex from Uponor has been available at a pretty good price as well if you need pex-A. On that note, it's still 50% more expensive than quality pex-B like Sioux Chief or Everhot. Rifeng and Bluefin is great budget tubing as well- I've got hundreds of thousands of feet of each in to date.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    ANYTHING buried under a slab should not get the short end of the stick...Really Foolish.  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 642
    edited June 2023
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    Rifeng is the pex tubing manufacturer for Riifo, Bluefin, Everhot, and previously Zurn. They will be the exactly the same pex between the brands.

    Cixi Welday is the pex fitting manufacturer for Zurn, Legend, Matco-Norca, some Sioux Chief, Mr.Pex, Nibco.

    Everhot uses Hailiang fittings.

    Uponor, Rehau, Mr.Pex, Sioux Chief would be some of the brands that both manufacture and distribute their own pex.


  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    Along with the pipe quality, consider the tools and fittings you want to work with and rely on. I think Uponor is the 'gold standard.' The extra money for 500' of 1/2" Uponor pipe and fittings is not gonna 'break' anyone.
    Mad Dog_2kcoppSuperTech
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
    edited June 2023
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    Mad Dog_2 said:

    ANYTHING buried under a slab should not get the short end of the stick...Really Foolish.  Mad Dog 🐕 

    I don't think the OP was suggesting it should.

    It sounds like they're asking if anyone has actually seen a difference between the cheaper brands and more expensive.

    I only use Uponor and the biggest decision I made was using plastic fittings instead of brass, but I always stuck to Uponor and expansion fittings. But I use incredibly little compared to guys running thousands of feed of this stuff with hundreds or thousands of fittings.

    I too am curious if anyone has actually seen a difference between brands and if so, what?


    I have seen where the "cheap stuff" is equal or even outperforms the name brand stuff. I have seen Chinese stuff outperform and last longer than domestic stuff. Of course, I've also seen the opposite I.E. I'll only use Ward or Anvil black iron fittings. So, I am very curious what others have seen in the real world.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Mad Dog_2GroundUp
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 891
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    Chrisj nailed it.  He will put whatever is going to be long lasting and zero worries.  

    I’m curious if any of the less expensive would be that? 
    Tom
    Montpelier Vt
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    @Mad Dog_2 What specifically in my comment did you find funny?


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    psb75 said:
    Along with the pipe quality, consider the tools and fittings you want to work with and rely on. I think Uponor is the 'gold standard.' The extra money for 500' of 1/2" Uponor pipe and fittings is not gonna 'break' anyone.
    There is a difference in expansion tools and techniques. Over expanding or stretching the tube too much can lead to failures at the connection.

    These tend to show up more in plumbing systems running higher pressure.


    The Rehau system seems to address that concern best.

    There are a number of listings on the tube that address all the conditions you will encounter.

    I would not expand a B pex!
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Chris J..did we read the same sentence of the  original poster?  I think one can infer, "buying the cheaper PEX and burying in a slab to save a few dollars," that one is looking to take a "shortcut" or cut corners, No??  Of course, there's a difference...thats why its half the cost!  Its been common industry knowledge in the last 25 years that this is the case.  I've seen and ripped out various cheaper knock offs of many products.not just Pex or the joints either..You stay with the high quality name brands, you generally have little to no problems. Call backs are BRUTAL for a business....The trade is HARD Enough...go cheap on material qaulity will come back to haunt the installer but even WORSE, the paying customer.  They're paying YOU for your "professional " opinion and experience. Would you "cheap out" on dental work, brakes for your family car? Most people want a professional opinion that is black & white and clear as possible..They NEED to be talked out of making a terrible boo boo. Nobody wants that! Burying ANY piping under a slab is NEVER the place to go cheap.  You get one chance here. I have VERY STRONG opinions..this is a long known fact. My opinions are based on trial and error over 40 years.  If I don't know  a topic well,  I'm not weighing in . I'm Not a know it all.  However, what I do know, I own, will gladly openly debate it , and built my career and expertise adopting a Better way when I see one.. But, I will dig in for a Goal Line Stand when I  call BULL---.  I am known for my bluntness and gloves off style...love it or hate it. I impart advice and experience her as I do every day:  I seek to prevent heartache and costly mistakes that I see made OVER AND OVER....I'd rather someone be annoyed or put off than sugar coat things.  What I find amusing, Chris,  is  Your extremely in your face, over the top argumentative, "style."  We've chatted privately so I know your background and what you do for a living.  I have great respect for this. I really do. I think you're talented, smart,  funny and a good guy overall.  That being said, you come off to me that you not only feel EQAUL to some of us doing this 30-50 years,( very successful professionals in their own right) but that your ideas 💡 and methods are SUPERIOR.  Your field may have some crossover, with ours  which is cool. Let me ask you something? If I came on to a forum IN YOUR specific occupation, and constantly disputed the long accepted and proven methods and materials that YOU and YOUR 
    Super accomplished and successful practitioners lived and died by, wouldn't you and yours find THAT amusing, to say the least? If not more than annoying?  Think about that and take  deep breath and be honest.   Peace ✌ ☮ Mad Dog 
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    @Tom_133

    Look at uponor Heliopex. It is less money since they don't put the potable water certifications on it. Primary difference is that you cannot fix a kink with a heat gun, which the cheaper brands can't do anyway. Heliopex is a different style, not quite a Pex A and also not a Pex B. I think it only comes in 1/2", but they may have added a couple of more sizes. They developed it to have something that could be cost competitive on commercial jobs.



  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 533
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    Tom_133 said:

    Hey All,

    Im finally getting around to the big shop slab i asked questions about earlier in the year. It's not huge 4800sqft. The owner of this shop is feeling the squeeze on the pocket book and he sees there are pex brands online that sell for much less money and still have an O2 barrier. I personally always just use Uponor, its always been great. Any out there see a problem with burying the cheaper pex in a slab to save some dollars?

    Sioux Chief offers Pex-A tubing that is Made in USA and compatible with the Uponor expansion connectors. The last time I checked it is about 20% less expensive than hePEX.
    Tom_133
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    @Robert_25

    That tubing is Pex-B but they approve it for expansion.
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 533
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    GGross said:
    @Robert_25 That tubing is Pex-B but they approve it for expansion.

    I know what you are referring to, it is a different product.  Here are the two:
    https://www.pexuniverse.com/sioux-chief-1-2-x-1000ft-pex-b-oxygen-barrier-pex-tubing-orange

    https://www.pexuniverse.com/sioux-chief-1-2-x-1000ft-pex-a-oxygen-barrier-pex-tubing
    GGross
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 891
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    So what do you guys think? I know we dont discuss pricing at least labor and what we do jobs for, but thats a huge difference. it's a 5k difference for what appears to be the same pex?
    Tom
    Montpelier Vt
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    Tom_133 Member Posts: it's a 5k difference

    I see: $260 difference per roll.
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 642
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    Prices based on
    OXYGEN BARRIER
    1/2" x 1,000ft roll
    only publicly shown prices

    everhot/bluefin pex-b - $250
    everhot pex-a - $350
    everhot/bluefin pex-al-pex - $465

    mr.pex (a) - $620

    sioux pex-a - $665
    sioux pex-b (expandable) - $405

    viega pex-b: $765

    uponor hepex(a) - $845


    you can see choosing uponor over rifeng pex is nearly 4x. On a larger job, that's a ton of money. So the questions was, is uponor worth 4x the price? Would the $250 roll do the job and last just as long?
    ethicalpaul
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,956
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    Again, no. It's not worth the extra money if it's being embedded in a slab. Pex-A in general serves zero additional purpose after the concrete is hard, and Uponor, Rehau, etc isn't going to warranty a damaged tube anyway. Literally the only benefit of any pex-A for slab applications is flexibility during install. There is nothing whatsoever besides that flexibility which warrants the added cost. Those who say otherwise, probably have never used anything else because their salesman or whoever told them that price equals quality. What's funny is a lot of these same guys will install a bottom shelf Navien boiler in the same system. For exposed tubing, heck yes HePex all the way. Embedded in a slab, the lower dollar Rifeng/Bluefin/Everhot and Sioux Chief pex-B is more than adequate. There's no reason to spend top dollar on something that's going to be encased in concrete for the rest of its life.
    ethicalpaulSolid_Fuel_Man
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,792
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    What you said makes sense to me, but Mad Dog's wall of text was much larger, so I'm going with him on this one :sweat_smile:

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

    ratioMad Dog_2Solid_Fuel_Man
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Another consideration is which companies and brands support our industry, support their communities. First in line for fundraisers, helping a contractor in need, etc. support this “free” heatinghelp site. Those costs are reflected in the pricing also.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Mad Dog_2kcoppSolid_Fuel_Man
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    The idea that a salesmen pushes Uponor because it costs more doesn't really track. We sell many brands of pex, Uponor is our lowest margin product in that category and it is not even close, we make more money selling a roll of the cheap stuff, than we do an equal roll of the more expensive Uponor.

    There are other factors why so many are stuck on a brand of pex. Around here the Uponor people worked hard to win contractor support. They provided training when nobody else wanted in on the market, they provided design support before the days where design software was readily available. They provided some of the earliest design software for free, they have a full product catalog offering and not just 3 popular sizes.

    I am not knocking any other brand, as I said I sell many brands of pex, just trying to point out that product cost is only one factor, and does not always equal higher commission for the sales person

    Larry WeingartenMad Dog_2kcoppjamplumb
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 642
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    Very true for resellers not for commission based sales and manufacturer's reps. they had a blast with all the price increases.
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 891
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    I can truly except Mad Dogs argument and 99% of the time its the same thinking as mine. If it was my job for my house I go Uponor. If you know Vermonters then you would know SOME of them feel they know everything and unless there is an undeniable fact why the cheaper stuff is worse then they dont listen. It's taken me months to get him to put chairs in the slab to keep the tube up so we can gain some efficiency and a little quicker reaction time. I understand what Groundup is saying as well, but I dont want this to be another entran situation and I end up with egg on my face.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
    Tom
    Montpelier Vt
    Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
    edited July 2023
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    Tom_133 said:

    I can truly except Mad Dogs argument and 99% of the time its the same thinking as mine. If it was my job for my house I go Uponor. If you know Vermonters then you would know SOME of them feel they know everything and unless there is an undeniable fact why the cheaper stuff is worse then they dont listen. It's taken me months to get him to put chairs in the slab to keep the tube up so we can gain some efficiency and a little quicker reaction time. I understand what Groundup is saying as well, but I dont want this to be another entran situation and I end up with egg on my face.

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.


    There's a lot worse things to have on your face than egg.
    Kind of a weird saying actually. I wonder where that came from.

    EDIT : Best I can tell, bad actors getting pelted with eggs..... I guess that makes sense.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Mad Dog_2STEAM DOCTOR
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    Entran? How about Entran II or Onyx? Or... Orangeburg?
    So many pitfalls. So little time.
    Mad Dog_2Solid_Fuel_Manjamplumb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    psb75 said:

    Entran? How about Entran II or Onyx? Or... Orangeburg?
    So many pitfalls. So little time.

    Was Orangeburg really a failure? I thought it lasted a fairly long time?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    No it wasn't a failure. It was concurrent with cast iron and pre-PVC. I just don't like encountering it nowadays. It wasn't very stong. Low crush-weight.
    ChrisJjamplumb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    You guys are right! I don't recall ever being offered or seen FREE training from these Ersatz knockoffs. I've never had a reason to switch from Wirsbo/Uponor, Taco, Burnham, now Caleffi, Gerber, Gorton, et cetera.  Their trainers became industry allies and friends  John Barba, Dave Holdorf, Tim Doran....part of the Fambly. A previous poster commented on their generosity too!!  Companies of this caliber are not too common today, and I believe in loyally supporting them back! That's Value personified..I'm 💃 dancin with the one who brought me to the dance  We certainly have different philosophies on the products we install. Thats whatd great about a Fee Society....Always looking to substitute cheaper products in place of a higher quality proven product is a race to the bottom in my eyes.I want A Chef whose  stew uses the best and freshest vegetables and meat 🍖 😋.  Many chefs would throw the old potatoes 🥔 or butcher scraps  in because "no one's gonna know...we can save a few bucks on each bowl 🥣.  To each his own  Mad Dog 🐕 
    jamplumb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    You haven't had Egg on your face until you had a rotten duck egg smashed in to it....1970s Hazing on the Farm 🚜.   Most horrendous odor ever...worse than decomposing human and animals, Dental Cuspidor wastes, Rancid  Commercial Grease traps...Water fountain wastes...Instant vomiting...Mad Dog 🐕 🤣 
    kcoppjamplumb
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    Mad Dog_2 said:
    You guys are right! I don't recall ever being offered or seen FREE training from these Ersatz knockoffs. I've never had a reason to switch from Wirsbo/Uponor, Taco, Burnham, now Caleffi, Gerber, Gorton, et cetera.  Their trainers became industry allies and friends  John Barba, Dave Holdorf, Tim Doran....part of the Fambly. A previous poster commented on their generosity too!!  Companies of this caliber are not too common today, and I believe in loyally supporting them back! That's Value personified..I'm 💃 dancin with the one who brought me to the dance  We certainly have different philosophies on the products we install. Thats whatd great about a Fee Society....Always looking to substitute cheaper products in place of a higher quality proven product is a race to the bottom in my eyes.I want A Chef whose  stew uses the best and freshest vegetables and meat 🍖 😋.  Many chefs would throw the old potatoes 🥔 or butcher scraps  in because "no one's gonna know...we can save a few bucks on each bowl 🥣.  To each his own  Mad Dog 🐕 
    Many if not most if those brands go through the distribution channel. A rep firm is in between the manufacturer and the wholesaler. Their commission is also part of the selling price.

    Top reps, like Rathe Associates in your area have endless training events, counter days, job site visits to help start up and troubleshoot. Trainings at engineering offices, trade show booths, etc, etc

    You’d be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable tekmar person then Don Rathe
    Ive been with him on troubleshooting calls he is an encyclopedia of hydronic knowledge for all his product lines,

    PERT tube is another option to take some cost out
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Mad Dog_2jamplumb
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Exactly Hot Rod.  His son James just gave me a private training session on a few items.  Classy Folks. Mad Dog 🐕 
    neilc
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 642
    edited July 2023
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    Yes, and the same Don and James Rathe sell imported pex from Israel. He stands by his product and pricing is very close to the Bluefin/Everhot.
    GGross
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    I wouldn't recommend any Pex but A , Especially if your burying your work in concrete ....

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,956
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    Big Ed_4 said:

    I wouldn't recommend any Pex but A , Especially if your burying your work in concrete ....

    Why?
    Larry Weingartencurtm67
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
    edited July 2023
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    A Pex system is more full port then a B Pex setup... 1/2" B with the fittings is maybe 3/8"..

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Larry Weingarten
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 604
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    Mad Dog_2 said:

    Most horrendous odor ever...worse than decomposing human and animals, Dental Cuspidor wastes, Rancid Commercial Grease traps...Water fountain wastes...Instant vomiting...

    The wordsmithing in that one just deserves a repost.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    jamplumb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,915
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    Big Ed_4 said:

    A Pex system is more full port then a B Pex setup... 1/2" B with the fittings is maybe 3/8"..


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment