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jdm001 12-19-2011 11:22 PM

Copper to Pex and Using "Gator Bite" Fittings?
Hi, I was hoping someone could help me out with a quick question. I have a hot water heater that's dying; constantly leaking and it's over 22 years old... so I'm upgrading to tankless water heater that I've already run.

First, I have a really tough install in that it's in the basement ceiling, but directly over the AC for the house; and it's hard for me to make a bunch of fittings to re-route the cold water into the tankless heater.

Is it possible to convert my copper pipe to PEX for about a 6-10 foot run; so that way I wouldn't need to install approximately 4-6 elbows and 45 degree bends in order to get straight copper over to the new install area?

Ideally, i put in a "T Fitting to in the copper, putting the "leg" of the T as a flexible PEX tube going to the tankless heater, and the other side of the T continuing to all the cold water connections. On the return hot water from the tankless heater, i'll use more PEX to run above and around the AC unit to get to the existing source where the current hot water heater is (thus enabling all the old "taps" for hot water to remain intact).

Is this the proper way? I can sweat pipe, but i don't think i can do so many bends and fits in such a tight area; and PEX would make it much easier.

Lastly, anyone use the compression fit "Gator Bite" fittings? Is there any way that will actually hold? I'm surprised to see them and can't believe they'd work. Just curious what the contractors think of them.

Many THanks!


Chemist1961 12-20-2011 06:04 AM

I have used Shark bites on my 3/4" copper supply from my water meter, into my "Power Pipe" drain water heat recovery unit, which collects heat from my drain water. I then pre warms via an outer coil, the water inbound to my 50 gal heater. (I have 3 teenage boys who shower constantly) Also used the shark bites and bought the braided flex hose version to swivel my water heater away from the cold outside wall it was originally installed against. Check your codes for pex as a a supply, but I mated pex to copper with no issues. Shark Bites IMHO are a great invention, very slick for my installation which will require future adjustment as I re-install cabinets and drywall behind and around my heater area... and check out Drain Water Heat recovery units, much cheaper than any on demand tankless heater I have seen. They work very well where there is continual demand for hot water with showers. We run 2 showers at a time with no pressure or heat issues.

jdm001 12-20-2011 06:16 PM

Cool, do either the shark or gator bites allow the copper to pex conversion for you (copper on one side, pex on the other)?

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joecaption 12-20-2011 06:43 PM

Both companys make a copper to Pex fitting.
I hope you know that tankless heater is going to have to be acessable. At some point the sencer will fail that detects flow and will need to be back flushed or replaced.

jdm001 12-20-2011 09:59 PM

Cool thanks!
Yes, the tankless heater is easily accessible, as is all the "T" fittings, etc. the only part that is NOT would be the middle 3-4 feet where I'd mount the pex around the AC unit; otherwise I'd just have sweat all the pipe.

I literally have about 6-12 Inches above the AC to do all the right angle turns; and about 18"-2' between AC and side wall, since I can't get in there with my torch. I figure I do pex transition on the top near the front of the AC, swing it around the top/back of the AC and mount it on the joists, and then come down on the other side and down to the tankless.

Is the tankless on-demand not all its cracked up to be? I got a small Stiebel Elton that had good reviews.

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ws450r 12-21-2011 10:23 AM

The gator bite fittings are great. I recently had a couple leaks and put in a new sink. My dad and I have no experience with the copper pipes, and used these fittings with cpvc. I haven't had any problems yet with them.

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