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Old 02-12-2010, 03:01 PM   #31
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PEX vs. Copper


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Originally Posted by kenm09 View Post
Something to think about...and I know its a bathroom. BUT, if you had two glasses of water in your fridge, and one was made of copper, and the other was plastic, what would you drink out of first?
I can assure you we have all drank from plastic cups and plastic glasses with no concern. But when has anyone opened a refrigerator and seen a copper glass of water....

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:35 PM   #32
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exactly. that is precisely the point, bob.
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Old 02-13-2010, 01:26 PM   #33
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The pex lawsuits are beginning to roll in now, one after another. Some deal with the system fittings and dezincafication issues, some like Nibco pex deal with defects that cause the pipe to split down the length. Several Pex manufacturers have already folded up and a couple more are on the way out. Every single pex manufacturer is involved in litigation of one sort or another. The common argument that the stuff has been used in Europe for 50 years with no trouble is misleading at best. The reason you don't hear about European pex problems is because their legal system operates a bit differently than ours and the lawsuits don't make it to the public forum but All european Pex manufacturers have paid off millions in damages. Still, it is here and it is not going away anytime soon. Because it's cheap, easy and fast it has gained a foothold with the diy crowd as well as many plumbers. Personally, I would not install it in a concealed location in my own house. If I can et to it to inspect and repair it, I don't have a problem with it. If it lets go in the ceiling it's going to be a big issue. As for copper leaching out of copper pipes and causing health problems, I challange anyone to find one single provable case of that happening. If it did, it's one in 10 million.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:10 AM   #34
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PEX vs. Copper


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Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
Research shows that not to be true
It is True, Try again:

Quote:
The Copper Development Association, a trade group for copper companies, said Tuesday that federal regulators had approved its application to market a group of copper alloys, including brass and bronze, as capable of killing bacteria and microbes effectively enough to protect human health.
Copper ions can penetrate the cell walls of microbes and can disrupt reproduction and other cell functions.
The approval is the first time that the Environmental Protection Agency has allowed health claims to be attached to a solid antimicrobial material rather than a liquid or aerosol disinfectant. The agency regulates antimicrobials not applied directly to the body under the laws intended to control agricultural pesticides.
How widely the copper products will penetrate the multibillion-dollar market for antimicrobial products remains unclear. Copper is a relatively soft, easily tarnished metal that may not be suitable for many applications.
Researchers who worked on the concept expect hospitals and other public institutions to be the initial market for the product, based on the approvals gained by the trade group. The tests showed 99.9 percent kill rates within two hours against the leading antibiotic-resistant bacteria now plaguing hospitals, said Harold T. Michels, senior vice president for technology and technical services at the trade group.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=99458486

https://www.asrt.org/content/News/In...urf081121.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/26/bu...6microbes.html
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:46 AM   #35
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Due to the source of my information regarding european pex lawsuits I will decline to give you a link, suffice to say that the information is damaging at best and the gentleman that gave it to me could and would probably loose his job as he reps for one of the larger manufacturers.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:54 AM   #36
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Here is a very well documented domestic case.

residential buildings. In 2000, Pulte homes built 27,781 homes; in
2006 this number rose to 41,487. If these houses are then built in an
area, for example in Nevada, where water quality is critical to pip-
ing installations no matter what pipe type used and non-
dezincification-resistant fittings have been installed, damage
can be immense. In this context, the largest class-action lawsuit has been filed with respect to 5,300
buildings erected from May 2002 until January 2006 with an amount of loss of $7,800 each which
totals to $41.3 million not including lawyer’s fees. When such disasters happen, the only thing to be
done is a strategic withdrawal. (Winfried.Hamich@kwd-online.de)
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:57 AM   #37
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PEX vs. Copper


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Originally Posted by NHMaster View Post
Here is a very well documented domestic case.

residential buildings. In 2000, Pulte homes built 27,781 homes; in
2006 this number rose to 41,487. If these houses are then built in an
area, for example in Nevada, where water quality is critical to pip-
ing installations no matter what pipe type used and non-
dezincification-resistant fittings have been installed, damage
can be immense. In this context, the largest class-action lawsuit has been filed with respect to 5,300
buildings erected from May 2002 until January 2006 with an amount of loss of $7,800 each which
totals to $41.3 million not including lawyer’s fees. When such disasters happen, the only thing to be
done is a strategic withdrawal. (Winfried.Hamich@kwd-online.de)

PEX use solid brass fittings... are you suggesting that these are bad compared to copper fittings.
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:07 AM   #38
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I refuse to go out on a limb on anything though Uponor is strongly suggesting that everyone use their plastic fittings. remember though that pex failures go beyond just fittings alone. Due to differences in manufacturing processes ( and you can google and read for a solid week on that subject) there have been cases where the cross link process went bad and the pipe has developed splits along it's length. The viega crowd will tell you that their stuff is solid and to be honest, so far it has. My advice to anyone installing pex is to make sure your insurance is paid up.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:15 AM   #39
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PEX vs. Copper


Right, Hospitals are going to use it because it doesn't kill germs
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:56 AM   #40
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I did a little research on PEX lawsuits, and discovered that there are several ongoing lawsuits in addition to the Zurn fitting case. One case involves Heatway, a now bankrupt company that distributed PEX heating tubing manufactured by Goodyear. They recently lost a lawsuit against Goodyear in which Heatway claimed that all the Goodyear PEX tubing supplied to Heatway was defective, resulting in rupturing of the tubing in some cases. Goodyear countersued, claiming that Heatway had failed to properly instruct installers, and had failed to inform clients that the presence of acid in the water/glycol mixture could lead to pipe damage.

Goodyear won the case, and Heatway went bankrupt, however they are apparently in the process of being sold to Watts.

I also stumbled across a number of articles claiming that PEX tubing is not resistant to warm, chlorinated water such as would likely be encountered in most U.S. potable water distribution systems (muicipal water supplies). I was unable to confirm this assertion. I also came across an article describing the need for special antioxidant chemicals that must be added to PEX to resist damage from oxygen in water. This is apparently accurate, since there is an ASTM test for antioxidant PEX chemical, however I was unable to determine how much life reduction of piping could be attributed to high oxygen content water.

One article I ran across claimed that PEX tubing used in heating systems could last up to 300 years because the oxygen and chlorine in the recirculated water was rapidly used up by the sacrificial antioxidant chemicals included in the PEX tubing. However, the article suggested that ordinary potable water continuously replenishes the oxygen supply, therefore the article suggested that PEX could last only ten years if it were used with harsh conditions such as low pH water, high chlorine content, high oxygen content, and warm water.

All of this is needless to say very difficult to digest. We have a pretty good history of copper pipe, however I know from personal experience with my house that copper pipe does poorly in acidic conditions such as I have. I do not know whether copper is adversely affected by chlorine, ozone, high oxygen content, or organic chlorine derivatives such as are found in many municipal water supplies.

It is common with any new innovation to discover at some point down the line that there are problems that are not obvious initially. For example, the Romans introduced lead pipe, which seemed to perform very well, until it was determined that lead in water was hazardous to health. Polybutylene pipe was manufactured for many years (and is still available outside the U.S.), but was ultimately withdrawn from the U.S. due to issues with fittings, and a large class action lawsuit. Solder for copper pipes used to be 50/50, meaning 50 percent lead, 50 percent tin (I still have some in my basement). Now all solder for potable water must be lead free, but still uses additives such as antimony. I wonder how safe antimony is.

I don't see any way forward to determining which pipes are safe, long lasting, and cost effective. Too many seemingly knowledgeable people with wildly divergent opinions. One thing that is clear to me is that anyone with a personal financial stake in the discussion should be viewed with some skepticism, i.e. the PEX tubing association is not likely to present a balanced view of the viability of PEX, similarly the copper pipe association is not going to tell us about problems with copper.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:33 PM   #41
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Then IMO your statement is not much better than gossip used against a competing product.

Why yes, indeed, unless I want to cost someone their job, at this point it is just that. But did I not make that point clear?

36 years as a licensed plumber. Most of that as a master plumber. I've seen products come and products go. Some were exceptionally good, others not so much. I have installed miles and miles of copper. Much to my dismay, I also installed miles of polybutlyne and paid the price for that mistake. I have consequently also installed many thousands of feet of pex. Most of it on radiant heat jobs but admittedly, some has been for domestic water. After all, though not much of a justification, we must all remain competitive and there is no doubt that pex is cheaper than copper both in cost and in labor. That said I keep my fingers crossed and make sure my liability insurance is paid up. I find it disconcerting though when folks that have never installed more than a couple hundred feet of the stuff, and installed that in their own homes ( only liability is their own ) are so willing to give an unequivical thumbs up to a product that they have close to no experience with.
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Old 02-16-2010, 05:14 AM   #42
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That is correct, I have not had any problems. Partly because I did quite a bit of research before deciding who's product to use and partly because we are very careful during installation. At this point the sheer volume of installed product vs the number of failures and problems is still pretty low. I just hope it stays that way. One of the issues that rarely gets discussed is the effect that chlorine has on pex. It takes time but eventually it degrades the pipe and causes it to go brittle.

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