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Old 11-15-2019, 12:50 PM   #1
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best PEX system


So this might open up a can of worms, but I'm fairly new to PEX having always gone the copper route. I'm currently building my own house and am looking at investing in a PEX system and am wondering what you would recommend? My local supplier rents the tools for most of the different systems, but I'm not adverse to just buying something (it's a lot cheaper than hiring someone, and I can always resell it when I'm done).

When I've observed other people doing this it seems a lot of people are using the expansion system (Wirsbo) with the plastic rings and pex-a tubing and the plastic fittings. I've also seen people use brass fittings with that wirsbo system but I have no idea why because they're crazy more expensive... A couple guys I've seen use the crimp system.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:33 PM   #2
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Re: best PEX system


I've used both the copper crimp and the stainless clamp type....both worked fine. Between the two, I liked the stainless clamp primaily for it's ability to get in tight spaced verse the big lever required in the copper crimp.

But I've heard great things about the wisbro system...apart from the $500 tool.

I think if I was going to do a whole house, I would probably invest in the tool...especially if I expected to use it in other work. It appears a little more full proof than the other systems.

The copper crimp requires you to double check it with a go-nogo guage, and the stainless clamp requires you do be sure it is in constant good specs.

I'm interested what others have to say.

I assume it is just a matter of cost and preference whether you use plastic or brass fittings for wisbro...????
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Old 11-15-2019, 03:37 PM   #3
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Re: best PEX system


I use both copper crimp rings and SS clamp systems, sometimes on the same job. The SS clamp tool is much easier in tight spaces and you only need a single tool. I prefer the plastic fittings. The expansion system looks good but none of the supply houses around me carry the tubing or fittings. Check to see what's available in your area.

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Old 11-15-2019, 04:01 PM   #4
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Re: best PEX system


I use the copper rings with the crimper. Seems simple enough. The only thing I would like to see is either a hydraulic, electric, etc. crimper about the size of a pair of pliers for really tight places. Of course R&D would dictate they charge arms, legs and first born for them.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:14 PM   #5
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Re: best PEX system


I have used all three systems. Hand me the tool you're using and I'll jump in and help- they all have their plus and minuses....

Currently I use expansion and am installing 2" on a 12 plex. I'd like to see you crimp that ring

BTW, I see Ryobi has a cordless crimper at HD. I think Milwaukie makes one too
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:22 PM   #6
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Re: best PEX system


I have always used the pex with the copper crimp rings. Just because that was by far the most popular and available system. On east coast.

And still what all the major plumbing sply houses stock in my area.
And Wirsbo a bit over priced since not as many manufacturers to compete.

A few pros and cons. But if I had a choice I would lean toward the Wirsbo system. Just because the fittings are larger and dont restrict flow.

May not have the burst strength as the crimp on pex but good enough.

Over copper you are still saving money. So I stick with the proven brass fittings for both. And the much better freeze protection you get with the brass ones.

Unless you have well water then go with the plastic ones.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:46 PM   #7
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Re: best PEX system


Ayuh,..... 'bout 10 years ago or so, I discovered pex plumbin',.....

The plumbin' supply house next-door carries the brass fittin's, 'n ssteel crimp rings, so that's what I've been doin' all my plumbin' with, ever since,......

I bought their rachetin' crimpin' tool, for just under $100. back then, that works Great,.....
Never had a bad connection, yet,......

I do 1/2", 3/4", 'n 1" so far,..... same tool, different sized rings,.....

I spurge on the brass fittin's,.....
I always end up with a couple extras on each job, so now I've got a gallon jug fulla fittin's for spur of the moment repairs or projects,....
The plastic 1s, though they aren't, just seem so breakable,......

I may never sweat another copper joint,......
Done damn few since I found Pex,....
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Old 11-15-2019, 09:00 PM   #8
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Re: best PEX system


Like with everything, there are going to be haters and promoters. Listen to what they say, and find out what makes sense to you and go with it.

For me, I use the stainless steel crimp rings and a combination of copper, plastic and PTC connectors (PTC = Push to Connect). And I even do some sweat work because sometimes you just need copper. The crimp ring is just easier for me, and the tool I use to crimp has an indicator to tell me when the crimp is done. Plus, it is really one handed. I do have the other crimp style tool in case I cant find the other one.

All I use are ball valves and 1/4 turn shutoff valves. And full bore when I can find them.

PEX has a lot of benefits going for it. Flexibility, heat retention, etc. However, a lot of plumbers and others treat PEX like copper ignoring the benefits of PEX. By that I mean they do the branch and tree means of routing the water to the fixtures.

PEX was meant for the home run system of piping. The cold water goes into a manifold and from there out to each fixture. This includes the water heater. The hot water then goes into it's own manifold and is distributed out to the fixture.

I prefer a modified form of the manifold system. Since there are seldom single standalone fixtures, usually an outside sillcock, I prefer to think of plumbing zones. Like a kitchen zone, bath zone, washer zone, etc.

Instead of running a line to each fixture in the bath zone you run one line to a manifold in the bath zone and then you run a short, smaller run to each fixture.
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:46 PM   #9
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Re: best PEX system


I plumbed a house recently using the Uponor expansion system. The tool is a bit expensive and typically local suppliers don't carry the expansion materials. However, supplyhouse gets stuff to you in the mail fast.

The main appeal of the expansion system to me is that over time the fittings become tighter. PEX tries to revert to its original shape. Crimp fittings are forcing it 'out' of its original shape. With the expansion fittings, the PEX tries to return to its original shape and therefore creates a better seal over time. It was very easy to work with in tight spaces as well.

I plumbed the entire house (two bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room/hot water tank, exterior spigot) in maybe 1.5 hours with a hybrid homerun system.
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:02 PM   #10
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Re: best PEX system


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisher1871 View Post
I plumbed a house recently using the Uponor expansion system. The tool is a bit expensive and typically local suppliers don't carry the expansion materials. However, supplyhouse gets stuff to you in the mail fast.

The main appeal of the expansion system to me is that over time the fittings become tighter. PEX tries to revert to its original shape. Crimp fittings are forcing it 'out' of its original shape. With the expansion fittings, the PEX tries to return to its original shape and therefore creates a better seal over time. It was very easy to work with in tight spaces as well.

I plumbed the entire house (two bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room/hot water tank, exterior spigot) in maybe 1.5 hours with a hybrid homerun system.
The other way to look at that is.
The copper crimp ring is tried and tested over time. The crimp is solid.
Ice would not be able to expand a copper ring as easy as the plastic ring
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Old 11-18-2019, 08:53 PM   #11
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Re: best PEX system


I found a HUD user guide regarding PEX.

Here is the link: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publi...sign_guide.pdf
A lot of interesting information. Some stuff even I didn't know. Which isn't surprising.

@Fisher1871 how did the modified home run system go? Did you have access to the pluming groups (still trying to come up with a good descriptive name for it) from below?

Did you put valves on the main manifold? What size PEX did you use for the runs?

I am thinking of building a copper main manifold, with pressure loop, using 1" copper and then running 3/4" PEX to each destination manifold. I may use a prebuilt manifold with no shut-offs as I will put a shut-off on each fixture. I plan on running 1/2" to the sink and toilet and 3/4" to the shower and tub.

For the kitchen it will be all 1/2". To the Laundry room, all 3/4". The utility sink is in my Garage and I am planning on using frost free sillcocks and running the drain inside and then putting the p-trap on the warm side.

And I agree, Supplyhouse.com is a great place to buy hard to find, and easy to find plumbing supplies.


If you want to see how much pressure all the fitting take to blow off, watch this video.

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Old 11-19-2019, 11:15 AM   #12
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Re: best PEX system


Quote:
Originally Posted by ktownskier View Post
@Fisher1871 how did the modified home run system go? Did you have access to the pluming groups (still trying to come up with a good descriptive name for it) from below?

Did you put valves on the main manifold? What size PEX did you use for the runs?
The modified system worked great. I would have went with homerun system if possible, but it is a 100+ year old house and couldn't make a homerun system work.

From memory, I only have a 3/4" line coming into the house from the meter. I used 3/4" trunks and used the EP plastic manifolds/Tees to downsize to 1/2" when needed as part of the hybrid system/grouping bathrooms, kitchen, etc.

Cold 3/4" in, then say for example three 1/2" lines out to single sink vanity, toilet, shower.

I installed lots of valves. I think I installed a valve on each end of most runs (one were it takes off from the EP manifold/tee and one at the termination point - toilet, vanity, etc). The valves aren't all that expensive. Since I saved a LOT by doing it myself and not paying for labor, I spent a bit more on valves, etc.

All this is accessible from my basement. If I need to replace a line for some reason, it will be real easy to pull line from the basement to wherever - even the 2nd floor bathrooms.
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