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Old 08-19-2009, 10:35 PM   #1
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Default What's the BEST PEX to use

Ha! I got your attention! The copperholics are prolly the first in, followed by the Rehau and Wirsbo folks.
This is more an article of interest than a simple post.

First off, I'm a recovering copperholic. I like copper. I like copper joinery. It's tried, it's true, and a proper craftsmans work will be around for the archeologists to uncover. And I learned from a real master. Geo was an artist with any torch that'd keep a flame hotter than 500 deg. No lie, I watched him couple a 3/4" type L joint with a freakin' Bic lighter once! Butane doesn't burn that hot? You're right, but I watched him take filings from a magnesium anode rod along with a burnt out piece of running rope and some damp newspaper, set it all up, <avert yer eyes> and *FLASH*! Burned for a few seconds followed by some frantic action on his part (I was green as grass and had no idea what he was doing...) and voila! A solder joint that held till we could get back and make a proper repair. This all took place at a research site way back in the boonies.

Anyway, long story short, George was a master of mettalurgy as it applied to the noble profession of plumbing. Geo had been around the block a few times and i used to have fun kidding him about how well the Roman's learned from him. But he was very pragmatic. He was one of the few from the old school that would accept (sometimes grudgingly) the newer ways of doing things. When PB came along he was a bit of a curmudgeon. He'd say things like, "yeah it's okay but I dunno... the europeans are using this other stuff that looks promising." He was talking about PEX.

Fast forward 20 years from that time (er, he's been dead 20 yrs... mebbe 22 years or so) and here we are in North America using PEX. Now, it seems, PEX is king. It's the wave of the future! But what IS PEX? Cross-linked poly from what most of us know. So what?

So now we are la plomberie, "those that seal with lead". We are those that need to know how to supply water safely to the masses, and to safely carry it away for treatment/disposal. Is water distribution done strictly with copper pipes and fittings? Is there any other material that will stand the test of time. PVC and CPVC have come to light over the years. Although the hardware store variety of CPVC is gradually disappearing from common use (does not stand up well) PVC has tried hard to do the job. But these materials have too many detriments. Too brittle; too much of a thermal expansion coefficient to work well in the real world; contains lead (kind of an irony there); etc etc.

So PEX was introduced. Much earlier in Europe than on the North American continent... but we on this continent don't cotton to change much. Especially when it flies in the face of what worked well for our grandfathers.

Now you'd be hard pressed to find a plumber that hasn't heard of PEX. It may even be easy to locate a group of plumbers that dislike PEX. Simply post a "PEX rules and Copper Sucks" on a forum like this and you'll get an earful! So is PEX the best? I don't think so. Is PEX better than copper? I don't think so. Is PEX as good as copper? Um... I'd have to say, "It depends".

Whether you like it or not, PEX is working itself into the trade to the point that "those that seal with lead" have to consider more than just basic non-ferrous mettalurgy but also a good knowledge of "plastilurgy". What is plastic? Plastic is many different things and now we are faced with more than just the different alloys of solder available to the trade. Is it PEX "a" or PEX "b" or even PEX "c"??

Why is the difference between PEX "a" and PEX "b" so important? If PEX "b" is a lesser product than PEX "a" then isn't PEX "c" just crap??? The answer may surprise you. And if it does then you have much to learn about "plastillurgy".

Although PEX "b" is vastly inferior to PEX "a" (you'll notice that certified PEX pipe will ALWAYS specify that the product is indeed PEX "a" whereas PEX "b" will only mark it's pressure/temperature ratings and not specify which grade it acually is) PEX "c" is probably unaffordable to most plumbers. It is the best and is only made (to my knowledge) at one place on the planet. PEX "b" is crap and is hardware store quality at best. PEX "a" is the best available to the common market. You can be assured that if it is indeed PEX "a" that they will proudly display that fact. And you can tell by working it in your hands that there is a difference!

Uponor's (Wirsbo) pipe is PEX "a" as is the Heatlink Group's pipe (the best I've seen so far) . Rehau may have a plant that produces PEX "a" however I've never seen the product (if it exists) so I remain skeptical. Bow and Ipex have so far failed to provide me with the ideal product. Canplas and Vanguard have also failed to show me the goods, so to speak. Watts and others I believe rely on others to provide their pipe so, the same goes there. (Acutually I believe there are very few plants that actually produce PEX pipe.)

So, that being said, is PEX just a bad word that will pass soon. I don't think so. Even the inferior types have made inroads into our trade that are irrieversible. The retail outlets will always provide an avenue for Joe Homeowner to gain access to our product. This is nothing new. What we can offer is knowledge and ability. In this case our ability is in product knowledge. Know what you are dealing with and when to bother dealing with it. Choose your method of joinery but more than that, be sure of the product you are installing and be sure that it will (or will not) stand up to the UV exposure, the pressure carrying capacity, and the elasticity that you say (or hope) it will.

PEX pipe and it's miriad of fittings (expansion or crimp, pinch clamp or compression) are here for the long haul. How will your product of choice stand up?
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:53 PM   #2
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:57 PM   #3
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Viega Pureflow Pex is made in their own plant in Wichita KS.
It's my pex of choice.
Pex A, B, only shows how the pex is made. It is not a quality factor even though some think so.

http://www.viega.net/4693.htm

That's all, not saying another word. Goodnight!
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:05 PM   #4
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The question is what is the best pex to use? This is about pex, those that what to jump in here and start talking about copper, don't, want to talk about pex, here it is, I best not see this thread go off topic.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron The Plumber View Post
The question is what is the best pex to use? This is about pex, those that what to jump in here and start talking about copper, don't, want to talk about pex, here it is, I best not see this thread go off topic.


That's easy:


Miguel?


Use the PEX that does not have the words CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS GOOGLE YAHOO BING ASK JEEVES ASK.COM MSN SEARCH URL TRACKBACK IE CODEC

and provides ease of install that accommodates your work ability to know that red goes to red, blue goes to blue, and you get paid when the water turns on and no leakie.

Make sure you do not use the PEX piping that hasn't been used by plumbers and later found out to be DEFECTIVE. This will ensure that your piping choice will be a good one.

Remember,

You must not expose it to harmful UV rays, must not have dirty hands when installing it, NO VERMIN INFESTATIONS as they will eat holes in PEX.

NO GLUES, NO CAULKS ARE USED around this piping with PETROLEUM DISTILLATES.

IF YOU HAVE BAD WATER, REMEMBER THAT PEX BRASS FITTINGS CAN FAIL. FAIL due to dezincification.

I hope this helps. Use the proper tools and make sure the tools are properly calibrated. Otherwise under/overcrimping can cause RUPTURES or PIPE BURSTS in the walls at connectors.

Last edited by Ron; 08-19-2009 at 11:51 PM.. Reason: Removed over posting of search engine words.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:33 PM   #6
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Thank Dunbar,

Your opinions are noted, we shill leave it at that, there should be no arguments over what you posted, and your opinion is just that, no more no less. Those that feel the statements posted are all wrong, that is fine leave it at that.

I do think repeating search engines over and over was not needed, I do hope you will at least be so kind to edit your post so it does not look like your pushing an issue on any members that so reads it.
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Last edited by Ron; 08-20-2009 at 12:11 AM..
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:59 AM   #7
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I do think it is important to do some research before committing to anyone product. There is a definite difference in quality between the brands and that has a direct relationship to the manufacturing process and to some extent the joining method. Every manufacturer will proudly tell you that their product is the best and indeed PEX is being manufactured and or re-labled from plants all over the world. Uponor has claimed that their pex is superior because the cross linking process takes place in the mix tank, thereby insuring that the product is 100% molecularly linked, whereas those products that rely on electrification at the extruder to perform the cross link process can at times leave areas that are improperly linked.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:18 PM   #8
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I like to use rehua pex, no specific reason, just been using it for years now and have had zero problems with it, hope that tells you something.

It seems more flexible the the other brands, maybe that is way I use it.

Is it the best, I don't know, it does the job it was intended to do.
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Old 08-20-2009, 07:11 PM   #9
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Thanks ppl.
One of the reasons I posted that ( somewhat lengthy) bit was simply out of boredom, but mainly I wanted to see what type, if any, discussion it might inspire.
I'm just saying what I know and I expect to hear what you know. Discussions on topics like this go on all the time at supply house counters and coffee shops all the time but forums like this give the unique advantage of getting information, opinions and ideas from all over the place.

Thanks folks.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:05 PM   #10
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We're still doing a body count from the last time this subject was broached.

We finally signed the PEX V Copper armistice of 2009 with all parties agreeing that the opposing parties are just plain nutz and therefore will never agree to anything that either party says and will continue to install whatever product they damn well want and the rest of you can all take a flying leap. As part of the treaty however, bloody discussion of the subject is still possible on the chat providing none of the parties is within 5 states of each other. At no time do any of the participants "feelings" matter.
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