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To PEX or not to PEX...


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I will be starting work on a bathroom on the second story of an old Victorian home (130 years old). The room has no plumbing at all. I have access through the walls to run all the lines (waste/service, etc) from the basement. My service lines will run about 15 feet horizontal) in the basement and then climb approximiately 32 feet vertical to the bathroom. Once in the room I will distribute to two sinks, 1 tub, 1 shower and a toilet.

I have done a good deal of work over the years with copper but never PEX. I am thinking since I have no plumbing in this room, PEX might be a better alternative.

My thought is to install two manifolds in the basement (hot/cold) and then distribvute from there (i.e. vertical)

I have a few questions....

1. Is PEX better than copper at all?

2. If I go PEX, what vendor is recommended for products?

3. I have looked online and see that the manifolds are either stainless, potable, radiant, etc. I assume potable is the way to go?

4. I have 3/4 " service lines in the basement to pull from. I was thinking of running 3/4" copper to the manifolds and then PEX from there. Should I stay 3/4" PEX or 1/2" or go bigger (i.e. 1 inch)?

I apologize is this is redundant for all but I appreciate the feedback.

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Most of the issues I've seen with PEX had to do with installation rather than the product itself such as accidentally cutting the tubing when opening the roll or by transitioning into a room from a wall or floor with it.

Ezra M recently opened a thread on a condensation issue involving cold water PEX lines.

Avoid the use of any steel plumbing downstream of the PEX, otherwise use Oxygen Barrier PEX.

Marc

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I know many inspectors and long-term plumbing companies in my neck of the woods that dislike PEX with a passion.

These plumbing companies will not install any of it. They say PEX has a ways to go before they would be comfortable accepting the liability for installing it.

They also will not install CSST.

Ditto what Marc said ... virtually all of the failures I've seen have been installation related.

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I know many inspectors and long-term plumbing companies in my neck of the woods that dislike PEX with a passion.

These plumbing companies will not install any of it. They say PEX has a ways to go before they would be comfortable accepting the liability for installing it.

They also will not install CSST.

Ditto what Marc said ... virtually all of the failures I've seen have been installation related.

What's not to like?

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Given that distance, don't use a manifold. You'll have to wait for hot water at each fixture. With a single hot line to the entire bathroom, once the hot water is up there, it's immediately available to every fixture.

Consider using a recirculating loop. Control it with a motion sensor in the bathroom, so it only runs when you need it.

PEX is great. It's been the standard in my area for well over a decade with no sign of serious problems with the product.

The term "service line" means the pipe that goes from the meter to the house, usually underground. I think you mean to say distribution line.

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I know many inspectors and long-term plumbing companies in my neck of the woods that dislike PEX with a passion.

These plumbing companies will not install any of it. They say PEX has a ways to go before they would be comfortable accepting the liability for installing it.

They also will not install CSST.

Ditto what Marc said ... virtually all of the failures I've seen have been installation related.

Then those people should all be installing galvanized steel. It has, by far, the longest track record of success.

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.........I know some folks will question the validity of any endorsement coming from the manufactured home segment of the market [^], but pex is pretty much used exclusively in mods and HUD codes......Greg

I have nothing against PEX, but speaking of manufactured homes and HUD codes (not Modular), remember PB?

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I was a devoted copper user for years but i always used "L" not "M".

When i finally changed to CPVC...well we all know the issues with CPVC.

After much hub-bub I switched to Pex for all projects and have had no issues... for 15 years

The issues i hear about are all related to workmanship and the fittings.

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We have had two clients that had catastrophic failures of Pex piping installations in their homes. Both were due to fitting clamp problems at the joints.

One of the homeowners made a product liability claim and the fitting manufacturer paid to make the repairs.

I advise my clients that insist on using Pex (even though specs require copper) to minimize the number of fittings.

I also learned that the installer is required to check and calibrate his fitting clamp tools regularly.

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  • 1 month later...

Im not a fan of it either,Mostly because Ive seen the way it looks after the handy man types with a pick up truck and a ladder get done installing it.

I must admit it would be my 1st choice if I was running hydronic heating under a floor,Once it clears the floor by a foot or so Id be back to copper myself.

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