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  • Why is pex bad?

    Don't want to hijack Pauline thread so I'm starting this one. Why the negative thoughts on pex? It seems after the PB fiasco, the plumbing companies were leery to introduce a new product to the US markets but it's been in service for over 30 years in Europe. I know in the life span of a well designed/installed plumbing system, 30 years is short but 30 years and still going? This sounds like the future material. Is it because the overall cost is cheaper? Or the less skill required to install pex? I already know about the lawsuits but those sound like isolated incidents. What are your thoughts?
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

  • #2
    Re: Why is pex bad?

    I installed alot pex in new mexico, not out here though. I have my choices, wirsbo and rehau, installing rehau would be like an upgrade from type m copper to type L copper, a bit more expensive. I like the locking sleeve instead of the memory ring of the wirsbo.

    I never had any problem with either system, unless it was 10 degrees outside, the wirsbo would take too long to close around the fitting, so we would heat up the area with a torcha nd that would solve the problem.

    Efficency is a problem out here, due to the fact that the pipe is installed in crawl spaces and won't hold hot water like copper holds hot water and vice versa.

    Rodents would be another problem, but I hear that the rodents won't go after clear pex, so I guess that solves that problem.

    With the cost of copper and the theft of copper, pex is looking better and better. I think that it is to easy to install though. I do like the idea of manifold sytems, like in a closet and be able to turn a shower valve off without shutting the house down.

    Pex has it's pro's and con's, I do believe it is only a matter of time before the system becomes widely used here. I also believe that wirsbo and rehau are tried and true systems and are reliable.
    sigpic

    Robert

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    • #3
      Re: Why is pex bad?

      pex wirsbo tomatoe tamatoe. where are all nearly the same. i dont find wirsbo quick or easey, mainly "the wirsbo would take too long to close around the fitting, so we would heat up the area with a torch and that would solve the problem."

      we allways had to carry heatgunw and sring cords around yuck. rehau seems to be more durable, but the outside is a bit rougher and i found it harder to pull. the main drawcback to the systems is the hugh preassuer loss from fittings. 1/2 id pipe. with a fitting inside. but copper is too much now for a 6 bath house which is verry common here
      how is it that so many answers are in the instructions

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      • #4
        Re: Why is pex bad?

        Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post
        I installed alot pex in new mexico, not out here though. I have my choices, wirsbo and rehau, installing rehau would be like an upgrade from type m copper to type L copper, a bit more expensive. I like the locking sleeve instead of the memory ring of the wirsbo.

        I never had any problem with either system, unless it was 10 degrees outside, the wirsbo would take too long to close around the fitting, so we would heat up the area with a torcha nd that would solve the problem.

        Efficency is a problem out here, due to the fact that the pipe is installed in crawl spaces and won't hold hot water like copper holds hot water and vice versa.

        Rodents would be another problem, but I hear that the rodents won't go after clear pex, so I guess that solves that problem.

        With the cost of copper and the theft of copper, pex is looking better and better. I think that it is to easy to install though. I do like the idea of manifold sytems, like in a closet and be able to turn a shower valve off without shutting the house down.

        Pex has it's pro's and con's, I do believe it is only a matter of time before the system becomes widely used here. I also believe that wirsbo and rehau are tried and true systems and are reliable.
        what does a house sound like with pex system compared to L copper.Also I was told that a contractor was having rodent problems with his clear(opaque),no one on the other tracts in the vicinity had problems with the colored.
        Last edited by drtyhands; 10-10-2007, 08:09 PM.

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        • #5
          Re: Why is pex bad?



          I have worked in idaho, washington, and utah where cpvc, and pex is commonly used in all these states and almost all new const. is with eather one of these, including the 100 unit apt. building i now live in. the mains are all in copper to a manifold located in acess area in bedroom closet, where it
          then branchs out in pex to each fixture, their are ball valve shut offs on hot and cold lines in closet so don't have to shut down building to change out units angle stops!!

          i have used pex a lot in the service and repair it is good for small quick repairs or total repipes

          JERRYMAC MASTERPLUMBER
          JERRYMAC
          E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
          CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
          FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
          SINCE JAN. 1989

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          • #6
            Re: Why is pex bad?

            Around here, the city service comes into the house in PE, then everything else is in PEX. Never had a problem in the 10+ years I've been using it. Although I don't like the flexibility of the product when stubbing out for stops, you sure can't beat it when fishing long runs through joists! Plus if you cut the handles on the crimpers in half you get a great workout.

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            • #7
              Re: Why is pex bad?

              Personally ive heard alot about the rodent problems in crawl spaces with pex. I personally have been useing Fostapex for the longest time. The crimper system is put out by viega i belive it is. The pipe is pex inside then a ring of aluminium then a ring of pex. I guess its supposed to keep the rodents from eating through. But the big thing for me is that when the lines become heated up they stay nice and ridgid instead sagging like the worsboro

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              • #8
                Re: Why is pex bad?

                Originally posted by mtburdick View Post
                Personally ive heard alot about the rodent problems in crawl spaces with pex. I personally have been useing Fostapex for the longest time. The crimper system is put out by viega i belive it is. The pipe is pex inside then a ring of aluminium then a ring of pex. I guess its supposed to keep the rodents from eating through. But the big thing for me is that when the lines become heated up they stay nice and ridgid instead sagging like the worsboro
                Thats Viega's "Stadler" pipe, brief experience with it on baseboard, then the shop I was with opted for Wirsbo.

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                • #9
                  Re: Why is pex bad?

                  Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                  what does a house sound like with pex system compared to L copper.Also I was told that a contractor was having rodent problems with his clear(opaque),no one on the other tracts in the vicinity had problems with the colored.

                  No adam, I think you miss understood me, I said wirsbo is like installing M copper, and installing rehau is like installing L copper.

                  I have never had any noise complaints.
                  sigpic

                  Robert

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why is pex bad?

                    Originally posted by westcoastplumber View Post
                    I installed alot pex in new mexico, not out here though. I have my choices, wirsbo and rehau, installing rehau would be like an upgrade from type m copper to type L copper, a bit more expensive. I like the locking sleeve instead of the memory ring of the wirsbo.

                    I never had any problem with either system, unless it was 10 degrees outside, the wirsbo would take too long to close around the fitting, so we would heat up the area with a torcha nd that would solve the problem.

                    Efficency is a problem out here, due to the fact that the pipe is installed in crawl spaces and won't hold hot water like copper holds hot water and vice versa.

                    Rodents would be another problem, but I hear that the rodents won't go after clear pex, so I guess that solves that problem.

                    With the cost of copper and the theft of copper, pex is looking better and better. I think that it is to easy to install though. I do like the idea of manifold sytems, like in a closet and be able to turn a shower valve off without shutting the house down.

                    Pex has it's pro's and con's, I do believe it is only a matter of time before the system becomes widely used here. I also believe that wirsbo and rehau are tried and true systems and are reliable.
                    What?
                    Rodents? Clear?
                    I have never heard a house with Pex in it.That's all I was asking.
                    WHAT!!!!!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why is pex bad?

                      Pex is'nt bad. "Anbody can install it", true enough, but not everybody can make it work good and look nice. I've seen some real hack pex installs and I've also seen some that look like works of art.

                      Wirsbo is the best IMO. The fiitings are the same ID as the tubing (tubing is expanded to recieve fittings) so pressure loss is minimal. A manifold system will out perform the old trunk and branch system and remote manifold with recirc line works great in the 5000sq ft, 6 bath homes. Around here the water service is typically 1" Q line (Pe/Al/Pe) , the water distribution system is usally a copper and pex hybred. (I would guess the 90% of new residential construction is Wirsbo) Typically copper is run from the meter to the water heater and main manifolds in mechanical room and then pex to fixtures or remotes. Tub and shower valve body supplis are usally fabbed in copper to make a more solid instal. The freeze resistant qualities of pex are a bonus up here.

                      Pex is far superior to Poly B. The big problem with Poly b was incompetent installers. I installed 100s of systems (including radiant heating) using poly B and had not one failure, most systems are still in use today. Funny how you guys in the USA had 1000s of failures and lawsuits? (jk) Here in Alberta Canada Alberta Municipal Affairs is aware of approximately only 4 Poly-B failures in Alberta over the last 20 years. All were related to improper installation procedures rather than the materials. Unconfirmed estimates are that about 148,000 homes in Alberta have Poly-B water systems. 4 out of 148,000, not bad.
                      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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                      • #12
                        Re: Why is pex bad?

                        Originally posted by Hondahead
                        Funny how you guys in the USA had 1000s of failures and lawsuits?
                        Not funny at all. I really liked polybutylene. In fact, my own house is plumbed with it, in a manifold system. It's been about ten years and I've never had a failure of any kind.

                        The worst failures were municipal - under city streets and the like.

                        PB's biggest failing was that it can't withstand antibacterial chemicals, and urban areas often use them. Here, the water is good, and there is no need for such, and the pipe doesn't disintegrate.

                        The other problem was, as you mentioned, bad installation. In trailer houses, the pipe was installed with dog-eared aluminum crimp rings and acetal (plastic) fittings. It was not uncommon for the aluminum rings to simply degrade from moisture or crack at the dog-ear. The acetal fittings had a nasty habit of splitting from the pressure of the ring, or cracking from lateral pressure where there were not enough support hangers.

                        When it was installed with copper or brass fittings and copper crimp rings, the problems were minimal or nonexistent. In a manifold system, the only connections are at the accessible manifold and in the fixture cabinet or possibly behind the wall on a tub or shower valve - no tees or valves to fail. As long as the pipe was protected where it went through a floor or was stressed at a stud, it wouldn't wear through. All this was covered in the installation manual.

                        The PEX I use is usually Vanguard or something similar, with the similar copper full-circle crimp rings. I've yet to see a leak on a crimped fitting. I had one defective brass fitting once. Once. And I've yet to repair a PEX pipe that failed.

                        Support it 32" on center, check all your crimps with a guage, bundle hot and cold lines separately, it's pretty indestructible.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Why is pex bad?

                          In the numerous forums I belong to I'm seeing product failure of numerous kinds starting in Las Vegas with Kitec, MTBE issues with another and now ZURN is involved in a class action lawsuit with their fittings as they're snapping off because they tried to solve flow/velocity issues by thinning out their product to keep large shoulders in the pipe to fitting equation. And of course dezincification in some aspects.

                          As much as I dislike anything new until (and I won't buy the EU UK theory that it works there, it should work here buy line, They don't have chlorine levels like we do) it has a proven track history, especially from the service perspective.

                          I can see a bundle wrap of home runs in chicken bracketed soffett that a carpenter shot a nail through the wood.....laid and rested against that piping until years of vibration finally etched a hole in the product.

                          You've got limited space to cut out and replace the section, the piping is hard as a freaking rock and won't conform to the barbs of the fittings you're installing and the instant use of heat on plastic ages it considerably causing the piping to be almost like glass in physical properties when its old.

                          Use PB, Blue-Max, CPVC for reference to the aging process of plastic products when consistently subjected to temperature variances over the life span of the product, short few years, just a year in most cases.

                          Never had a problem with copper pipe growing 2" over 1000'. Never had a underground water service in copper constantly snap because it was stretched from end to end and not snaked in the ditch to allow such movement. All because someone wanted to spend $80 over $300.

                          But, as opinionated as I am, I started a second business that requires the possible use of PEX that transports potable water to systems that are permanently installed in warehouses/buildings. All of which will have to be installed and protected from UV rays *ah yes, just like the days of prohibition when you had to hide and cover alcohol so no one could see you had it* and
                          whatever else the product disallows from normal piping systems.

                          Still has to be safe for human consumption as the water that runs through it has to be safe/sanitary on all counts. Not all applications will require this method but I'm considering the option since all is exposed and suits the need on a entirely different level not implicating plumbing and its design.
                          Last edited by DUNBAR PLUMBING; 10-15-2007, 11:10 AM.
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                          • #14
                            Re: Why is pex bad?

                            Rodent are a problem for sure not only pex but for all types of piping in he cieling.
                            Had them eat ABS drain piping too.
                            recently did two repairs on pex where the rat ate a hole one day and came back and ate another the next day.
                            LOL bad luck for the owner, but i think its time to call the xterminator.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Why is pex bad?

                              Originally posted by mtburdick View Post
                              Personally ive heard alot about the rodent problems in crawl spaces with pex. I personally have been useing Fostapex for the longest time. The crimper system is put out by viega i belive it is. The pipe is pex inside then a ring of aluminium then a ring of pex. I guess its supposed to keep the rodents from eating through. But the big thing for me is that when the lines become heated up they stay nice and ridgid instead sagging like the worsboro
                              If this is the same pipe I think you are describing, that system had a major fitting recall and had yet to offer a new approved fitting. They poured a lot of it in concrete around here for infloor heat.

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