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pex verses copper

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Charlesj
Charlesj Member Posts: 15
First off I know this forum seems to be more for heating & if anyone knows of a good plumbing forum it would be greatly appreicated. Were at the stage to start to do the plumbing in our house & I was told that pex is the way to go....I've always used copper. Can I get any feedback or a site that might help me....Also I'm looking for a book on plumbing with pex.....Thanks

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  • curiousity kills
    curiousity kills Member Posts: 118
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    Wirsbo.com can help with thier plumbing products I am a master plumber in the state of NH and ME and I used pex on my own home. If they install a manifold "homerun" type system there is one connection at the manifold and one at the faucet.This is less likely to have a fitting leak.Also it gives you better control of isolating a problem as opposed to shutting the whole house. Pex is the future or domestic water piping.Also this pipe will not split if it freezes and will nat corrode. Although treating your water if on a well is still good to protect your fixtures.
  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    I can think of a few good reasons why not to use PEX...

    Legionella being one.

    Other pathogens being yet another.

    Failure under extreme temperature copper would laugh at - being another.

    No problems with sun light might be another.

    Knowing there will always be fitting leaks - but never knowing quite when - might be a consideration.

    Occasional system over-pressure - like when the washing machine solenoid slams shut and the entire system experiences 500 # of momentary pressure.

    Hangs and looks like al dente pasta when we claim to be "professionals" and our work is supposed to reflect pride in such matters.

    Copper tubing is around 1,000 years old; PEX about 20 minutes.

    Squirrels and mice love PEX - will not touch copper.

    PEX is banned in all major cities.

    Other than that, I can't see why everyone doesn't use PEX either!



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  • well

    your legionella arguement is backed up by one study and refuted by several others.

    Temperatures it would fail at are not typically even possible with the majority of heat sources out there, heat sources which have at least one if not two or more safeguards against dumping superhot water into a potable line with aquastats and tempering valves which should be in place anyway to protect your clients, not the tubing.

    "knowing" there will be fitting leaks? Hey... they aren't in the walls even if that were true. Easy to service. Can't say I've seen much in the way of leaks with PEX. Seen plenty with copper though.

    I'm not aware of any major city PEX bans. I've read plenty of polybutylene bans, but not PEX, and even MA is coming around on it. Please link!

    Squirrels and mice, ok, that's a decent point.

    Lead pipes were used for hundreds of years; wanna use them to run plumbing? Length of time in use means it's the best?

    So your arguement is "it looks crappy" and "it's not as old as copper", and mice like it, basically?

    Nothing wrong with using copper, but I don't see any real compelling arguements here. I guess if mice like it, we need to make sure we stop installing radiant systems too? And electrical wires?




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  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
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    Ken .....

    If you want to compare copper and pex at extreme temps. don't forget to include the cold ones. Copper loses this battle. Pex can expand when frozen.

    Just curious.....what major cities don't allow pex? Are you mainly talking about the commercial market?

    Steve
  • S Ebels
    S Ebels Member Posts: 2,322
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    Viega Fo-Sta Pex

    We use it even on near boiler (hot water) piping. Takes care of the "looks like crap" arguement. Fo-Sta (Form Stable) Pex is otherwise known as PAP, Pex-Al-Pex or aluminum core Pex. The only place we use regular pex is under a slab or someplace hidden. Fosta Pex stays where you bend it and looks great. Viega's fitting line fits both their regular pex and PAP product plus the same pressing tool is used for both. THAT is a nice feature!
    We have never had a leaker, seeper, dripper or weeper. Press it and forget it. I'd dare say that life expectancy will be equal or better than CU. JMHO
  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    Quote from NYC

    While CPVC and PEX tubing are not approved for domestic water use in New York City, they remain a popular choice for plumbers and builders throughout the country.

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  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    This from PM Engineer

    Posted on: 08/31/2004

    Codes: The Politics of Plastic Pipe
    Julius Ballanco, P.E.
    By Julius Ballanco

    There are still three states that restrict the use of plastic pipe in their Plumbing Codes


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  • And don't forget

    no velocity noises that copper has . We just recently started using pex for long runs of domestic and heating . I don't know why we didn't start sooner .

    Real world situation - if water in pex freezes , it does not burst the pipe ? Anyone ever come across a split pex pipe ?
  • and

    that's "All major cities"?

    last I checked, there was one state and a handful of locations that hadn't yet approved PEX. The state, MA, isn't known for being at the forefront of building technology. In fact it's well known for things other than the well being of its populace driving their code adoption process.

    edit; my bad, 3 states then. still a fairly significant Minority, wouldn't you agree?

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  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    Keep in mind

    There are more people in NY, CA and MA than much of the rest of the US combined!

    We're probably talking about the homes of 30-some million folks - never mind every office building and square foot of real estate in NYC.

    It is NOT insignificant by any measure.

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  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    How about when the fittings

    that are very restrictive, start hummin?

    Sounds like the fan belt on my F-150 on a rainy day.

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  • then

    it's not suprising they are the last ones to change their codes, is it!

    Beureaucratic red tape; that's the only left holding things back. This pipe has been in the field for decades now. How much longer before it's "ok"?

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  • curiousity kills
    curiousity kills Member Posts: 118
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    to nrt rob

    nice statement.Im not saying lets ban copper but pex has its place here and is not going anywhere.Copper can look like awaful if theres no pride in installing it.The only exreme temp is freezing and pex wins hands down.I will staple pex every joice or it will look like pasta.If I am installing a water heater or outdoor faucet and the home has copper I will install copper.Pex does help on older homes or mobile home repipes less chance of fires in those really tight spaces..
  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
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    pex frozen pipes breaking?

    Actually I have seen pex pipes break when frozen but it has only been a couple times, and only broke in one place, right next to a fitting. If these same systems had been copper, their would have been many breaks......everywhere, and whole sections of expanded/split pipe, that would need to be cut out, back to where you could get a fitting over the pipe.

    Steve
  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    I believe the objection is not the suitability of the material

    it is the extremely toxic fumes emitted, god forbid the place catches on fire!

    It was the fire code in NYC that shot down PVC use. It is banned in all of the 5 boroughs.

    The toxicity of burning PVC is chemically identical to "agent orange." The fire department banned it - not the plumbing code.



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  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    PEX doesn't crack or rupture, but everything attached thereto

    will.

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  • We finished a relocation

    2 weeks ago using pex . The pipes ran down between floor joists above the kitchen . Normally you can hear the water noise in the copper , even with insulation on them . With the pex there was no noise , uninsulated . And whatever restriction there is in the transition fittings is made up with the long run of pex with no ells , streets , whatever , that we would need if we ran copper .
  • Steve Eayrs
    Steve Eayrs Member Posts: 424
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    humming noise???

    pex piping humming??

    Maybe that was just a happy plumber, who just finished piping the whole house in a lot less time?

    Steve
  • curiousity kills
    curiousity kills Member Posts: 118
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    This also reminds me

    of the old timers thinking pvc on waste and vent was not going to last.Boy Im really disappointed we dont still use cast iron with lead poured joints it would make life so much easier.
  • ok

    that's PVC. the problem with PEX was what happens when it burns as well?

    Neither of those make sense to me in either case. have they outlawed all compounds in buildings (including carpets, computers, etc) that emit toxic fumes when burned?

    Sounds pretty flimsy.

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  • curiousity kills
    curiousity kills Member Posts: 118
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    Yeah but

    at least this portion of the potible water system is accessable in a basement and not a copper line that will require joe homeowner to take down his nice kitchen cabinets and ceiling if they are not already ruined
  • that's a new one on me.

    maybe the pex needed to be affixed better?

    Never had a client complain of that.

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  • of course

    copper has a place still. But it's not a place of any real 'advantage' anymore.

    in heating systems sure, you still need copper for the hard plumbing. Unless you want to individually mount all the heavy components to the wall ;)

    but in plumbing? fixing an existing system is one thing. but a plumbing systems cheap and easy enough to install that nearly all new systems can easily be home-run'ed, freeze resistant, nearly leakproof, quiet... copper just seems like a waste of time and money.

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  • Ken_8
    Ken_8 Member Posts: 1,640
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    It really doesn't matter what you and I think

    It's what the code and fire marshall's think.

    They also thought Vioxx was wonderful, Thalidimide too.

    The euro's thought PE was the perfect tubing.

    Vallaint thought they would conquer American boiler makers.

    Studabaker had the finest car.

    They were all wrong.


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  • jerry scharf_2
    jerry scharf_2 Member Posts: 414
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    Banned in all major cities

    Ah come on Ken. I live in California, and saw the debacle that a single letter from a group representing a plumbers union caused the state to illegally ban all PEX in the state. It was well documented, and the judge really ripped the state up in her decision. The state appeal was tossed quickly also.

    Until ten years ago, unincorporated Sam Mateo county forbade the use of plastic waste pipe. It's one thing to like CI better, it's another to prevent people from using plastic. The only reason it changed was the state decision to adopt the UPC. To the best of my knowledge, plastic pipe did better than cast iron in the last earthquake.

    We're grown ups, and we know that the stuff isn't being resisited on technical grounds.

    jerry
  • Tony_8
    Tony_8 Member Posts: 608
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    couple things

    As far as freezing PEX fittings, Wirsbo's EP fittings will withstand -40F according to their book. A hammer won't hurt em much either. Threaded adapters and valves are still brass though.

    My question as far as heating is : If 3/4 copper with 180F water in a 70F ambient loses 50 BTU/FT, how much does PEX lose under the same conditions ? I've taken to insulating all my copper runs and the difference in fuel usage is noticeable. If I didn't need to anymore to get the same results it would reduce the cost of my systems.
    Does anyone know ?
  • Boston Boiler
    Boston Boiler Member Posts: 70
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    Come'on Bubba,(NRT Rob) fight your battle over product only and keep your personal attacks to yourself. Your talking about forefront of building technology, isn't there 1/2 of million
    people in your state with trucking and logging leading the
    job market? No offense to any of the many fine people of Maine, every once in a while we get a clown that will slam a whole state to make their point also.
  • Charlesj
    Charlesj Member Posts: 15
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    harmful chemcials?

    Now I see Pex seems the one almost everyone favors. Since pex is somewhat new to the market in this country within the last maybe 10 years does anyone know if there any harmful chemicals that leach out of the pex into the potable water.....
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