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Old 09-14-2017, 10:17 PM   #1
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Best PEX brand??


Hi All... I am an above average DIY'er and am preparing to install new supply plumbing in my cabin. I plan to use PEX but have been told there are some brands that have had issues with leaks/breaks. i am looking for advise on what brand(s) that are used by those in the trade. I am able to buy at a wholesale house so I have more options than Lowes or Home Depot. Any suggestions greatly appreciated..
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:19 PM   #2
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Re: Best PEX brand??


I think issues are mostly with the fittings. Personally I used Wirsbo (Uponor) with good success. Only downside is you need relatively expensive installation tool. Whatever brand of PEX you use, make sure you get compatible fittings. Your plumbing supply house should be able to give you matching tubing and fittings, with the correct installation tool.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:06 AM   #3
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Re: Best PEX brand??


Yes, I was told fittings the issue. Heard Shark Bite had real problem with fittings breaking and leaking. Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 09-15-2017, 12:19 AM   #4
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Re: Best PEX brand??


I just looked up Uponor brand. Will any ratchet made for PEX work on their clamps or do they have their own tool? I see on listed that handles 3/8 to 1" but it is not listed as Uponor. Thanks again all for any help
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:41 AM   #5
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Re: Best PEX brand??


I much prefer the ring and crimp system than the clamp system. The ratchets will work almost universally, but it is the clamps that you need to make sure they fit the tubing. I have not heard of Sharkbite having problems with their rings breaking. I have recovered some ill placed fittings (mainly because they are expensive) and have had a bear of a time removing the rings. I have to use an angle grinder to cut them off, so I doubt they will "break". Too, you are provided with a "GO" "NO GO" gauge with your crimper, so checking each connection is a must.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:28 AM   #6
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Re: Best PEX brand??


So it seems maybe not much has been gained with the law suits against Poly pipe being their fittings were the original problem and not the tubing. So there still seems to be a fitting problem plus all the different brands in the bucket to get confused with and mixed from one job to another. AH, the plumbing industry. Will it ever end? I doubt it.
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:40 PM   #7
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Re: Best PEX brand??


It also had to do with the crimpers not being calibrated properly. I ran across many Polybutylene connections where the tool marks were offset, not completely on the ring, or just loose. I calibrate my PEX tool often to make sure it crimps properly. Sloppy crimping had an additive factor to the failures, too.
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Old 09-15-2017, 05:52 PM   #8
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Re: Best PEX brand??


Every manufacturer has jumped on the pex wagon and that includes the imitation guys.
And that is where you'll have problems. Do not skimp on the tool of choice. Resist buying the Ebay imitations.... Spend the extra money and buy a brand that the pros use

That said- I have used Uponor, crimp and cinch and I will use any of them at any time.
Most of the problems you will come across are user error.... not the system.
I have more than a few hours on each system and the material and assembly fail rate is no different- if not less than on copper- you can train a monkey to run pex- takes all the skill out of plumbing.....
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Best PEX brand??


I really appreciate the info.. I dont buy the cheap stuff when it comes to something this important.. I hate cutting open walls or pulling up new floor tile.. I will head to my supply house and see what I can find but I am not likjely to go Uponor.. Tool is pretty pricey for a one time DIY
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Old 09-15-2017, 06:42 PM   #10
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Re: Best PEX brand??


Best is whats available. Stick with what you local plumbing warehouse carries.
Here it is the crimp ring pex . So fittings and pipe available. The tool you may get cheaper online.

Uphonor used to be more of a west coast thing. And the crimp ring more popular on east coast.

My local plumbing supply houses dont even carry uphonor. But I would have used that if it had been available when I first started working with pex.

Stick with a name brand and tried and true method. Either the clamp ring or uphonor expanding.

Cinch ring has not been around as much

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Old 09-17-2017, 08:19 AM   #11
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Re: Best PEX brand??


Wirsbo expansion. It doesn't reduce the ID so much in the fittings.
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:14 AM   #12
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Re: Best PEX brand??


A few points worth noting. There is a long history of problems with polybutylene piping and fittings, you can read the history of lawsuits. Polybutylene is a totally different type of pipe than PEX, which is cross linked polyethylene.

That said, there is a history of lawsuits and failures associated with brass fittings for PEX, check out the Zurn lawsuits. My understanding is that the issue was with the brass in the fittings suffering dezincification under certain conditions, which lead to rapid and total failure of the fittings. Interesting enough, I saw similar issues with Wirsbo brass fittings that I personally used. Perhaps due to acidic well water in my house, the brass Wirsbo fittings corroded relatively rapidly and failed after a few years. I no longer use brass fittings, Wirsbo has come out with polysulfone plastic fittings which appear to be very good, I have had some of them in my house for 10 years with no issues.

I believe that some of the issues with brass is poorly made brass plate that gets turned into all sorts of plumbing items such as fittings. Due to the history of trouble, I will not use brass fittings unless there is absolutely no alternative.

As to PEX itself, there are three types of PEX tubing, A, B and C. Each type is manufactured using a different process, and the three have slightly different properties. PEX A is the most flexible, and is the only type of PEX that can be used with the Wirsbo expansion ring system. This is another good reason to buy your products from a real plumbing supply house, no one in a big box store is likely to understand the difference between PEX A, PEX B and PEX C, and they would probably be happy to sell you PEX B tubing even if you are using the Wirsbo system. Big mistake.

The crimp ring systems have a few drawbacks. First off, the crimp ring reduces the diameter of the pipe at the fitting. This leads to a small loss of pressure at each fitting, so if you have lots of fittings this can be a problem. The Wirsbo expansion ring system maintains the same diameter of pipe through the fitting, so there is no loss of pressure through the fitting. Second, the crimp ring system requires a properly calibrated tool. If the tool goes out of calibration, the fitting may leak. The Wirsbo system relies on a conical head to expand the pipe. The conical head is metal, and does not require calibration. The Wirsbo tool should last a lifetime without deterioration. Essentially if you learn how to use the Wirsbo tool, the fittings will not leak.

As to sharkbites, I have two sharkbites in my system, where I want disconnect capability. Very good for that, however sharkbites are expensive, and I would never use them for a whole system unless you have unlimited funds available. Even then, I do not trust sharkbites in buried locations.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:10 AM   #13
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Re: Best PEX brand??


So is the Wirsbo fitting considered to be the best now?

I really want to use this in the next home I build.
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Old 09-17-2017, 01:44 PM   #14
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Re: Best PEX brand??


I was in our electrical/plumbing house the other day and picked up a brochure on SharkBite's newest innovation. This should ease Daniel's mind somewhat. New PEX ONLY push connectors that can be buried and have an indicator on each fitting to tell that the PEX is seated properly. It is called EvoPEX. http://www.sharkbite.com/evopex/

Edit: It is cheaper than the brass SharkBites.
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