Monday, October 02, 2006

Pex tubing rocks my world.

We finished the plumbing. Yes, that's right. WE FINISHED THE PLUMBING!!!!
(*fireworks and happy dance*).
We started at 10AM, and 12 hours later we had H2O in the bathroom. AND WATER PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(*more happy dancing*)
And the verdict is in: I think Pex tubing is the greatest invention since sliced bread.

I had read a lot about it online before we decided to use it, but I didn't find a ton of information from *real* people that have installed it... especially non-plumber type people like me.
For the layman, pex tubing is a flexible type of plumbing pipe that can be used in place of copper. There are special fittings for pex that don't require any soldering or special tools, so basically anyone can put it together. Yes- ANYONE.
Another beautiful thing is that it is flexible, so you can curve it and use fewer connections (Fewer connections = fewer possibilities for leaks!) AND you don't need to cut huge access panels to feed the pipe in!

We needed to replace all of our galvanized supply pipes (hot and cold) from the main line in the basement up to the 2nd floor bathroom. These pipes were the only pipes in the house that hadn't been replaced, and the water pressure to the upstairs bathroom (and the rest of the house in general) was non-existent.
I have a bit of plumbing knowledge... I know how to do basic copper soldering, and I understand the basics behind household plumbing. That means I know what reducers, couplers, and elbows do, and I know what size pipes to use for different applications- All something a quick read of any "Plumbing for Dummies" book could give you. But I'm no plumber.
We did enlist the help of a friend who had done a fair amount of plumbing (Thanks Seth!), which made the job go a lot faster. But I emphasize that, with Durapex and Push 'N Go Fittings, you don't need a large amount of plumbing expertise. The fittings can also be used with copper and in combination with pex and copper.

Note: There are some pex brands that require a tool called a "crimper" and use crimped fittings. If you are going to be doing a lot of plumbing, you might want to take a look at this tool, but it's about $100. Push N Go fittings do NOT require a tool. Also, for consideration- there are only a limited number of sizes for Push N Go fittings. I couldn't find 1 in. fittings, and we had to work with basic sizes for reducers and elbows. We did have enough selection to make the project work, though.

After we turned the water on at the main, we had a couple of leaky joints that worried us. But, it turns out we just hadn't pushed the fittings into the pipe tight enough. You REALLY have to push them in all the way, and it does take a little strength.

We now have about 10 times more water pressure upstairs than we did before. We can actually run the bathroom sink and the tub faucet at the SAME TIME!

Gotta go... I have more happy dancing to do to the plumbing gods.

1 comment:

Brett said...

Thanks for the note and pics, I was a little leary of trying the push and go's to splice into an existing copper line. I love the simplicity and seeing it work for you has given me enough confidence to try it.