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  • Kitec Blows

    Do any of you guys work regularly with Kitec? Is Kitec catching on in your area? By Kitec I'm talking about two versions. The PE-AL-PE pipe which is domestic hot/cold water use which is Polyethylene with a thin layer of aluminum sandwiched in the middle, and the Heating stuff, which is PEX-AL-PEX (You can figure this out). The stuff I've been using for this one job as it is part of the specs, is made by Ipex. We've had to use them in the radiant infloor heating lines which isn't as bad, but we also have to use it for the domestic water lines as well. I've had to hang it with Microfix clamps which seems to be the best option as we can't have straight metal touching the pipe (Microfix clamps are a metal/steel clamp like a split ring hanger with a rubber insert inside to isolate the pipe from the metal.). Our code requires hangers every 3 feet if hung horizontrally for Kitec and 6 feet vertically. The 1/2" stuff isn't bad, but the 3/4" and especially the 1" stuff is a royal pain in the arse. Try straightening some of it out, it's like wrestling with an Anaconda - you ain't going to win. I swear 1" soft Copper would be easier to work with! Try unrolling some and pulling it through about 100 feet worth of Wilson Joists. Not gonna happen. And yet that's what I"ll be doing on Monday for a Hose Bib line. The stuff just does not go straight, period. There is always a sway to it. You push it trying to straighten it, and somewhere down the line it bends somewhere else. And dont' even talk about kinking it. I haven't kinked any yet, but if you kink it, the pipe is toast, period. You gotta either couple it, or replace the entire run i.e. if you're doing infloor heating where fittings aren't allowed in slab, you gotta replace the entire coil. Yeah you can be careful, but if you use just straight Pex made for heating, you kink it, out comes the heat gun. Also, while running it vertically in walls, I don't know of a suspension clamp that will truely work for it. For example I ordered some 3/4" Mickey mouse clips to run it veritally in a wall in some steel studs. I made some steel backing that I screwed from stud to stud, and the 3/4" mickey mouse clips, for 3/4" kitec, are just slightly small and you gotta wrestle the plastic clip into a position to screw it down. I tried a 1" Mickey Mouse clip for 3/4" Kitec and it is clearly too large and the 3/4" Kitec is swimming in the clip! Because of the nature of 3 layers of pipe in the pipe, the OD is larger that traditioanl 3/4" copper or 3/4" Pex/Wirsbo/Rayhau, etc.

    Overall, virtually none of our suppliers carry this stuff. It's impossible to find, and yet we have to use it on this job. I am wondering where this pipe will ever fit in. I'm also curious, since I don't know, what it's price is per foot compared to the same equivilent Type L Copper? And compared to Pex?
    Will this stuff ever replace Copper? Does it have a future? What do you do to better work with it? I swear I need a pressure bender, and you gotta wear gloves or your hands will be raw at the end of the day from trying to stuff fittings into it.

    I await your suggestions.
    Last edited by Scott K; 11-18-2006, 08:12 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Scott K View Post
    By Kitec I'm talking about two versions. The PE-AL-PE pipe which is domestic hot/cold water use which is Polyethylene with a thin layer of aluminum sandwiched in the middle, and the Heating stuff, which is PEX-AL-PEX
    Kitec XPA is the cross linked polyethylene with aluminum core(pex/al/pex). I wasn't aware of a kitec product that didn't use cross linked polyethylene? Wirsbo also makes pex/al/pex its called Mr Pex.

    Originally posted by Scott K View Post
    Will this stuff ever replace Copper?
    Possibly, if they improve the manufacturing process and the price of copper keeps rising.

    Originally posted by Scott K View Post
    Does it have a future?
    Maybe not.Check this out!

    http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com...a-pipe_adwords

    Originally posted by Scott K View Post
    Is Kitec catching on in your area?
    All the water services in new constuction here are Q-line. Its an Ipex product which is pex/al/pex. Normally 1" but 3/4" is still fairly common. Distribution systems are pex (mostly Wirsbo) For heating we use hepex but are also starting to use Mr pex. I think Kitec is popular back east.The plumber on Holmes on Homes was installing some on an episode a while back. He was talkin it up like it was the $hit!

    Originally posted by Scott K View Post
    What do you do to better work with it?
    Yah it can be a bear. Patience is a virtue = patient or you'll be one!
    Last edited by Hondahead; 11-18-2006, 11:20 PM.
    You will never expand your mind, if you do not challenge your beliefs.

    By the reading of this post, you acknowledge and agree that the poster shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any content contained herein.

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    • #3
      This stuff is called "PlumbBetter" or something like that, and it is PE-AL-PE, and we use the XPA crimp rings on it, although I'm not sure if the pipe is XPA. This pipe is red in colour. The Heating Kitec, which is PEX-AL-PEX, is orange in colour.

      To me it sounds like Rayhau might be the way to go. Supposedly you can use their version of the Wirsbo style expansion fittings on it, as well as pex crimp rings, and I could be wrong, but I heard it is still covered by warranty if you use either method of joining (again, could be wrong - don't consider it fact). The ony problem with Rayhau from what I was told, is it's oxygen barrier is kinda noisy i.e. you can hear it expanding and contracting if you listen carefully.

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