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scott.martin 12-22-2007 03:17 PM

Anyone use PEX to plumb an entire home?
If anyone read my introduction, I am in the planning stage and wanted some advice on using PEX to plumb the entire house. I have never worked with it, and it sounds easier to install and easier to maintain and less expensive.

I have read no bad reviews for it, and since I am not experienced with it....."if something sounds too good to be true......"

Any suggestions?

Rehabber 12-22-2007 04:49 PM

Replumbed a 1906 Victorian. I used all copper inside the walls, and pex underneath (where there will always be access to it). Copper is tried and true, who knows about pex:whistling2:

Ron The Plumber 12-23-2007 09:12 AM

Pex is great, we plumb entire houses with this pipe, go for it. Size it out just like copper pipe gets sized.

jpplumber 12-23-2007 10:00 AM

It is true that whole houses are being plumbed with it now, and different people seem to swear by different brands, and the brands seem to all have their own unique fittings and tools to connect the PEX tubing to the fittings. The early failures seem to happen in the fittings themselves. Everybody seems to agree that it is much easier to install than copper, and although copper tube has it's own problems over time, albeit very few (pinholes comes to mind) The question is how will this PEX tube and fittings stand up over time? This nobody knows for sure.
I have never seen a rodent chew through copper tube, but numerous times in plastic.

Ron The Plumber 12-23-2007 10:09 AM

I know it's been in use in Europe since the 60's, long before it was in use here in the 80's. So your looking at close to 50 years.

scott.martin 12-23-2007 11:29 AM

JP and Ron, thanks for both your responses. I know rodents are an issue with the PEX but they are also an issue with electrical wiring, so I am hoping I don't have an issue with either one, but I am not opposed to wandering the attics with rat shot, it would keep my kids in check at minimum haha. All of the reviews I have read are of course advertisers or "plumbers" that are endorsing the product on the web pages of the manufacturers.

Are there limitations, i.e. you wouldn't plumb out the hot water heaters with it, or run it buried out to external connections for a sprinkler system?

mikey48 12-23-2007 12:09 PM

I like the home run manifolds, makes for a good supply of water to each source. If you have rodents chewing stuff in your walls you have other major problems, you can always buy a big cat. I have rentals and do most of my own repairs including plumbing. I would use pex.

scott.martin 12-23-2007 12:47 PM


I don't anticipate having a rodent problem, I just replied to that as it was listed as one of the potential problems of PEX. As far as home run manifolds, do you use them like you would electrical home runs, or do you use them by number of "outlets" or by amount of water flow needed or by feet etc?

Chris Johnson 12-23-2007 01:32 PM

Could someone please show me a picture of a piece of PEX chewed by a rat. Speaking with Uponor they have never had a claim to this nature, labratory tests with PEX and rats have produced a dead rat and no teeth marks in the PEX, so I would like to know where this urban legend started.

jpplumber 12-23-2007 03:06 PM

My experience with plastic or any poly type system is limited, I have absolutely none with installation and if it has been in use in Europe for years I stand corrected. I have never done "new" work, always on the service side, so I know the repair issues that I have had to deal with. It is fair to say I have not had to make a repair to any type of PEX system installed in the past 10 years in this area, but then again wasn't even used to my knowledge to any degree until about 3 or 4 years ago and then just exploded on the scene in the last 2 years in response to the high price of copper. When I say a rodent chewing through plastic, I have seen it on actual pvc pipe as well as on gray Qest fittings and lead flashing on roof tops for that matter and old lead drum traps, I have just never seen it on copper tubing and was only mentioned as a possible drawback. It is not so much an urban legend but perhaps we are talking about different types of plastic, maybe I am uneducated in this matter. I think the "P" in PEX stands for poly, which is a kind of plastic. If the company I work for uses poly tubing I will use poly tubing, but it would never make me comfortable in my own house. I do know that Qest systems that are in use in Texas have had problems, and again the problems tend to be with the connectors themselves cracking and did one time find a yard line of Qest tubing with a crack in it as it does seem to become stiff over time. And Chris Johnson, I don't find the thought very comforting that the same tubing that is going to carry my potable water will kill a rat without even showing a chew mark, I might come up with a better argument if you want to keep selling the stuff.

scott.martin 12-23-2007 03:23 PM

JP I will look into the Qest maufacturer and their problems, and I did click on the link on this page that was a reference to a class action suit against Zurn for connectors that failed. I will agree with both you and Chris on the rat chewing, first, if I have rats chewing on my pipes or wires, I definately have an issue more serious than what type of plumbing to use and might want to correct other structural deficiencies, on the other hand, if chewing PEX will kill a rat.........might want to test it on my in-laws house first haha.

Either way, this is exactly why I joined the forum, opposing views and different opinions will help me make an informed decision instead of what advertisers or marketers push on me. I was stationed over in Europe for 4 years and they do tend to build things that last and are proven, as opposed to the US where we put an "expiration date" on pretty much everything we build. I did read that they have been using PEX tubing in RV's for years in the US.

The location will be the hill country of Texas just north of San Antonio so I won't have to worry about freezing, but if I did bury it, I would worry about the friction from the shifting soil over time, so it might be prudent to go with copper in anything buried.

Thanks again for the input, it makes me do more research and consider points I wouldn't have thought of on my own.

jpplumber 12-23-2007 03:33 PM

The newer PEX is supposed to have better flexibility and "memory" if frozen when the pipe expands without splitting and contracts back to normal after it thaws. I do know the company I work for has been doing repipes and yard lines with PEX and sharkbite connectors (brass push on fittings with "O" rings) that require no special tools.

Ron The Plumber 12-23-2007 03:39 PM

Here is some FAQ's about Pex, should answer alot of questions being asked.

bigMikeB 12-23-2007 05:41 PM

I wouldn't plumb my house with pex and I wouldn't water my lawn with copper. Do you like the taste of water out of a garden hose? Pex is just an invention to make plumbing cheaper so anyone can do it.

Bondo 12-23-2007 06:54 PM


About 30 years ago, I replumbed a housetrailer sitting on a riverbank that I was going to call Home for awhile with 1/2" Nylon Airline,+ brass compression fittings..... The stuff used to plumb the air systems in Tractor Trailers.....
The only Mistake of the undertaking was I should have gone with 3/4".......

(Another 1 of those,....."Hey, I thought of that 1st,.?..)

As I go through the process of My home rebuild, when the final plumbing comes around,....
I'm sure that the PEX type of plumbing will have it's place.........;)

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