How to Join PEX to Copper

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Many professional and DIY plumbers have switched from copper pipe to cross-linked polyethylene tubing (PEX) as their choice of materials. Not only is this material cheaper, but installation is less labor-intensive. Additionally, PEX is available in up to 500m lengths, and its flexible nature allows it to bend around obstructions and turn 90-degree corners. Consequently up to 50 percent fewer elbow and in-line fittings are required. PEX can be connected to any combination of galvanized, chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), PEX, and copper pipe without solder or glue.

Things You'll Need

  • PEX tubing cutter
  • PEX support sleeve
  • PEX push-fit connector
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Copper pipe cutter
  • 120-grit emery paper
  • Make a clean, square cut on PEX tubing with a PEX tubing cutter. This tool resembles a pair of pruning shears, but instead of two blades, it has one blade opposite an indented steel jaw designed to hold the tubing at right angles to the blade.

  • Insert a PEX support sleeve into the PEX, flush with the end of the tube, to reinforce the end of the pipe. The support sleeve will prevent the PEX from collapsing from pressure exerted by the clamping metal tines built into the PEX push-fit connector.

  • Mark the manufacturer's recommended insertion distance from the end of the tube, using a ruler and a sharp pencil. In most cases, this will be 1 inch from the cut end of the pipe.

  • Push the PEX firmly into one end of the push-fit connector until it can't go further and the edge of the fitting lines up with the pencil mark on the side of the tube. You will feel the clamping tines lock into place.

  • Make a right angle cut in the end of the copper pipe with a hand-held copper pipe cutter. Insert the pipe between the rollers and the cutting blade and tighten the knurled roller adjustment handle. Rotate the tool around the pipe three to four times and tighten the adjuster 1/4 turn. Repeat until the sharpened wheel cuts through the pipe.

  • Roll a piece of 120-grit emery paper into a tube and use it to remove the burr left on the inside edge of tube by the cutting wheel. Gently polish the face of the cut end of the copper tube in case the cutting wheel left any protrusions.

  • Mark the insertion distance with the ruler and sharp pencil and insert the pipe into the other end of the PEX copper coupling as described in Step 4 to connect the PEX to copper joint.

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References

  • Photo Credit plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from Fotolia.com
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