PEX: Gods gift to plumbers.

PEX is a copper substitute for domestic plumbing. And while today’s post title might be a bit of a hyperbole, the stuff is still pretty nifty. The word PEX comes from its formal name “Cross Linked Polyethylene”. It’s a convenient substitute for copper because the connection points do not require ‘sweating’ (a process that involves torch, flux, and solder.)

My first experience with PEX went well. For whatever reason, I envisioned this stuff working with all slide and lock connectors – in fact most joints require a crimping tool (otherwise the plumbing components cost about 5 bucks a piece – compared to 2.50ish) Still, it’s a pretty easy to use.

The Old Plumbing
The New Plumbing

PEX joints are made with small rings of metal which need to be crimped to provide a water tight connection between the plastic PEX tubing and the brass elbows and connectors. Since this was a small job, I cheaped out on the crimping tool. While it was the fiscally intelligent decision, this choice resulted in a lot more muscle to crimp the fasteners together.

It took about five hours to get all of the equipment from Home Depot and install the plumbing. Now that I’ve done it once, I could probably do it in about half that time. An expert could do it in 45-60m.

Verdict: Use PEX wherever possible in home plumbing applications.

4 thoughts on “PEX: Gods gift to plumbers.

  • 9/28/2012 at 12:36 pm

    You could have borrowed my PEX crimping tool for free! Next time, run your pex down close to the floor so when you do a remodel down there, you can eliminate all of the copper water lines in your house. PEX and brass fittings should last longer than your lifetime.

    • 9/28/2012 at 1:15 pm

      Smart suggestion on running the PEX to the floor. I’ll do that with my upstairs bath!

  • 9/28/2012 at 3:27 pm

    You may want to add back in some mechanical support. The cross stud 2×4 in the old setup was providing that, the new setup is probably going to move more than you want.

    • 9/28/2012 at 4:01 pm

      Already done! You’re exactly correct, it was a bit shaky. The handy nail clamps are great and easy to use for securing the tubing.


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