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Old 05-25-2013, 10:39 PM   #1
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PEX installation

I have gotten to thinking about the 35 year old Poly B in my van... one short section has already been replaced with a piece of rubber hose at the water heater, indicating it's already had one failure.

There are a LOT of 90 degree elbows in the lines which means it has a LOT of places to fail... I think I need go nip this in the bud before I hit the road in September.

My main concern is that I get the crimp rings right. I know you get a "no go" gauge with the tool but I'm still nervous about it... which is funny considering how much good plumbing work I have done over the years. I will simply have to keep a watch on the fittings every so often for the first few weeks and fix any leaks that may be occurring from installation.

But it still makes me nervous to rip out the old and put in new.

Much of it will have to be mostly assembled, put into the cabinets and then crimped to another piece where I can reach it.

Can anyone help reassure me that it won't be a nightmare?

It's very simple really. One bathroom sink/shower (both in one) and one gally sink. The worst of it is around the bathroom but even that should be able to be installed without too much trouble since I can assemble, then put in the wall for the most part.

The longest and hardest run of pipes with a lot of crimps is to the gally sink since it has to snake around in walls and cabinets. The longest straight runs is to the water heater and back. The advantage with PEX is being color coded, for sure. I will probably just have to rip out all the PB2110 so I can deal with installing the new all at once. it's not rocket science how it runs and it's actually pretty accessible for about 95% of it.

Even so... it's not something I look forward to. Better I do it now though, when I'm not living in there yet.

That or dedicate a day to it outside of a Lowes or Home Depot shortly after I hit the road when I have nothing better to do... which sounds like a good plan actually... since I currently live 20 miles from a Lowes/Home Depot and I stinks having to go get more parts constantly. Anything left over can be returned right then and I can be on my way. I will just try to limit my use of the plumbing until I replace it all I guess. I have put pressure on the system and didn't find any outright busted wide open leaks (which is how Poly B tends to go I've read). Turning off the water and draining the pressure off the lines when I leave it would be a good idea so it doesn't burst when I'm not home.
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:53 PM   #2
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I've never done anything as extensive as you are proposing to do, but Home Depot sells a line of PEX fittings marketed under the name "Sharkbite" that eliminate the need for crimping. In addition, with the purchase of a simple tool the tubing can easily be removed from the fittings in case you need to adjust something. They're more expensive than the crimped ones, but sometimes I think stress-reduction is worthwhile. Here's a link to them:http://www.sharkbite.com/
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Old 05-25-2013, 10:58 PM   #3
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I've tried a bit of those "no crimp" fittings around the tank (between the tank and pump) and they leaked badly. I don't know if I did something wrong or got the wrong thing but I won't mess with those. I ended up putting cheap vinyl tubing with clamps instead (which needs to be the reinforced kind though which I will also do).

The ones you linked are the kind that do need crimping. Sharkbite is the brand of PEX that Home Depot sells.. it doesn't mean "no crimp" just because it says Sharkbite.

The nice thing about PEX is you can assemble and not crimp to see if everything lines up, then take it apart and crimp it. Plus.. PEX is very cheap... about $3 for 10 feet so it's not so aggravating if you waste a few feet of it.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Cubey View Post
I've tried a bit of those "no crimp" fittings around the tank (between the tank and pump) and they leaked badly. I don't know if I did something wrong or got the wrong thing but I won't mess with those. I ended up putting cheap vinyl tubing with clamps instead (which needs to be the reinforced kind though which I will also do).

The ones you linked are the kind that do need crimping. Sharkbite is the brand of PEX that Home Depot sells.. it doesn't mean "no crimp" just because it says Sharkbite.

The nice thing about PEX is you can assemble and not crimp to see if everything lines up, then take it apart and crimp it. Plus.. PEX is very cheap... about $3 for 10 feet so it's not so aggravating if you waste a few feet of it.
Thanks for pointing out the problem with my link; I've fixed it.

I'm not disputing that you had problems with push-on PEX fittings, but I am using a number of them in both hot and cold water applications and have had no problems whatsoever after more than 10,000 miles of bouncing along the highways.
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:58 PM   #5
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Yeah that's not the kind I bought. The ones I bought.. may not have been for PEX at all. I'd have to go back and look up the stuff I got. I just know they were plastic and you had some kind of insert and compression setup. I don't think I even used the inserts which may have been the problem.

The ones you linked look much better based on this video:
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:48 AM   #6
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Another thing.... they make TWO kinds of shark bites... a kind that has lead and a lead-free kind. Cheapest I have found online so far for lead free ("LF") are $8 each for the elbows. I wonder if the crimp fittings are LF that Home Depot sells.... if not, they are selling lead-laced pipe fittings as "potable"!

Check it out: SharkBite® Push-Fit Fittings | Cash Acme

This one from Home Depot is NOT lead-free based on the part #.
SharkBite 1/4 in. x 1/4 in. Elbow-U244A at The Home Depot

As long a I don't drink from the water system I guess it's safe.... but how many people DO use "potable" water with lead laced PEX fittings?

These ARE marked as lead free and cost a heck of a lot less.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBite...3#.UaGxZ5yRWQM

However... according to the EPA:
However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

I guess it's just one of the dangers of life that I'll have to ignore and hope it doesn't kill me. Maybe I'll brush my teeth with it but not drink it unless I install an under-sink filter at the gally or something like that.. which is the only sink I'll really use 99% of the time. The bathroom one is mostly just a drain for adjusting the temperature for the shower before you start the shower.
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:43 AM   #7
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While the Sharkbite fittings work really well, I'm not sure the cost is warranted if you have a large number of fittings to do. They are handy for joining old copper pipes to new pex lines, or places where you might have trouble getting crimpers in place. Just an opinion but if I had to do a lot of connections, I would probably opt for the less expensive overall method even if it did mean laying out some money for a decent tool. As for Sharkbites, I know a career professional plumber who uses them all the time in different situations and he swears by them. They are a credible if more expensive option.
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Old 05-26-2013, 04:47 AM   #8
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When I did some PEX repairs. I looked at the Sharkbite fittings. It would not take many to run up the $$$. Invested in a tool and some rings. Got it off EBAY. Fittings and more rings are cheap at both Lowes and HD.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:43 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cubey View Post
Another thing.... they make TWO kinds of shark bites... a kind that has lead and a lead-free kind. Cheapest I have found online so far for lead free ("LF") are $8 each for the elbows. I wonder if the crimp fittings are LF that Home Depot sells.... if not, they are selling lead-laced pipe fittings as "potable"!

Check it out: SharkBite® Push-Fit Fittings | Cash Acme

This one from Home Depot is NOT lead-free based on the part #.
SharkBite 1/4 in. x 1/4 in. Elbow-U244A at The Home Depot

As long a I don't drink from the water system I guess it's safe.... but how many people DO use "potable" water with lead laced PEX fittings?

These ARE marked as lead free and cost a heck of a lot less.
SharkBite 1/2 in. Brass 90-Degree Barb Elbows (5-Pack)-UC248LFA5 at The Home Depot

However... according to the EPA:
However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

I guess it's just one of the dangers of life that I'll have to ignore and hope it doesn't kill me. Maybe I'll brush my teeth with it but not drink it unless I install an under-sink filter at the gally or something like that.. which is the only sink I'll really use 99% of the time. The bathroom one is mostly just a drain for adjusting the temperature for the shower before you start the shower.
I think your information is misleading and can cause unnecessary concerns among those that read it and don't do any follow-up research. I don't work for Sharkbite or any company related to its sale; I simply want to make sure that what is posted here is correct.

According to the Sharkbite/CashAcme website, their products comply with ANSI/NSF Standard 372 Certification which is the primary certification for plumbing products used for drinking water. There is a more stringent standard being phased in by 2014 as part of a government effort to reduce lead levels in drinking water; that standard is ASSE 1061. The push-on Sharkbite connectors are not yet certified for this new standard but from the website it is not clear if they fail to comply with it or if they haven't yet completed certification.

It is not that the product is unsafe; it complies with the law companies have been complying with for years. It is simply that they are not certified as complying with the new, more restrictive law. I don't think there is any reason to be posting stuff saying that it is unsafe to use these fittings with water that anyone intends to drink. They are as safe as any plumbing products have been required to be for many years.
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Old 05-26-2013, 08:54 AM   #10
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I don't think there is any reason to be posting stuff saying that it is unsafe to use these fittings with water that anyone intends to drink. They are as safe as any plumbing products have been required to be for many years.
Stuff deemed "safe" sometimes turns out not to be. That's why I am replacing the plumbing in my van... Poly B deteriorates from chlorine laced water and has the tendency to bust wide open.

If lead laced fittings weren't a big deal, why are they making specific "lead free" ones along side the 'lead' ones? (Led free ones STILL have *some* lead but not as much)
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:03 AM   #11
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The reason they will leak is because the pipe was not inserted enough.I measure and mark the pipe.The insert sometimes hangs on the tubing,you have to wiggle it around to go over the insert.Push it to the mark,you will have no leaks.I learned this the hard way.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:09 AM   #12
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For the number of times I have had to work on the PEX tubing in my coach, maybe a dozen or so, I always used the plastic PEX tubing twist on fittings purchased at Home Depot or Lowe's. The metal ones are way too expensive.

I have not had one of them leak ever!

It has been cheaper and less worrisome than purchasing the crimping tool, etc.

It all depends on what YOU feel comfortable in doing.

Here is one example, no special tools required except maybe a set of pliers to snug it up.

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Old 05-26-2013, 09:11 AM   #13
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Stuff deemed "safe" sometimes turns out not to be. That's why I am replacing the plumbing in my van... Poly B deteriorates from chlorine laced water and has the tendency to bust wide open.

If lead laced fittings weren't a big deal, why are they making specific "lead free" ones along side the 'lead' ones? (Led free ones STILL have *some* lead but not as much)
Almost everything we purchase complies with one standard or another, some of them are government-imposed, many are simply industrial standards. In this case the standards for drinking water purity have been changed to further reduce the amount of lead in drinking water. It's not that we are drinking water "laced with lead" but, rather, that the government has decided that it would be even better if lead levels were reduced even further.

When standards change some things that were considered compliant with the previous standards may no longer be compliant with the new standard and have to be modified. Under the new lead level standards some plumbing products will have to be modified. However, no one is saying that we need to go back and re-do the plumbing in every house in the country in which the lead solder is not compliant with the new standard, just that new plumbing will be installed compliant with the new standard. Over time newer houses compliant with the new standards will eventually replace the old.

Instead of focusing on whether or not a particular plumbing fitting that met the old standard meets the new one, go take a look at the copper pipes in your home soldered with lead solder 20, 30 or 40 years ago. I'm sure your health is at much greater risk from that then it is from a PEX tubing fitting. Yet, I'm pretty confident your health hasn't really been affected by the pipes in your home, either. This is all for the purpose of making us even "more safe" than we already are.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:13 AM   #14
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While the Sharkbite fittings work really well, I'm not sure the cost is warranted if you have a large number of fittings to do.
Well it seems odd but the better crimp tool (Made by Sharkbite) seems not to come in 1/4".

Due to going with 1/4" size which is the smallest and cheapest, by the time I buy the crimp tool ($50) and the ring cutter ($25) to fix any mistakes without wasting the brass fittings, I may as well pay a little more and have the push in ones. 50ft of 1/4" PEX is $24... so right there... that's about $100.

From Home Depot's site with free shipping to home, the cost is $106.45 for 50ft of PEX piping, 12 elbows and 4 tees and 2 of the disconnect clips so I'll have a spare in case one gets lost. And yes, that's the push-in kind of fittings. If I dig up a 10% off coupon code, it'll cover the sales tax plus another dollar or two.

That's not including any other odd fittings I may need around the city water hookup, the pump, the ends for the sink supply lines and of course the four supply lines themselves but it'll be under $150 for everything.

Funny how in this case it seems to cost less to go with the easy push-in fittings. Now if I was replumbing a whole house.. probably not. I still need to take photos, measurments and count the existing fittings but I think it'll work out that way.

I have a week to think about it before I have the money to buy the stuff anyway and probably almost another before I actually get it installed.

Oh and it seems the only (well made) 1/4" crimper I can find is from Lowes for $90... http://www.lowes.com/pd_197103-87088...ool&facetInfo=

I guess 1/4" isn't very popular... but in my case it's what is probably will fit in the existing areas it has to go through.
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