PEX plumbing, known as cross-linked polyethylene tubing, offers several benefits over copper and plastic plumbing. Copper requires an open flame to solder the joints, which can increase the risk of fire, and plastic plumbing uses strong chemical primers and cements. Another benefit to PEX plumbing is its flexibility, enabling it to follow curves, eliminating joints that are prone to leaking. PEX plumbing is also easier to dry-fit than copper and plastic, which can be dry-fit but then must be disassembled to flux and solder or prime and glue. It is easy to convert from copper, plastic and threaded steel pipe to PEX plumbing.
Things You'll Need
- Full-circle crimping tool
- Plastic or flexible tube cutters
- PEX transition fittings
- Brass PEX compression fittings
- PEX crimp rings
- PEX tubing
- Plumbing wrench
- Tape measure
- Utility knife or emery cloth
- Marker or pen
- Go/no-go gauge
Remove the old plumbing and screw a PEX transition fitting onto the incoming supply line. Use a plumber’s wrench to tighten the fitting into place. Use the correct fitting for the type of supply line for your home.
Measure the length of tubing needed to supply water to the new fixture, using a tape measure. Mark and cut the PEX tubing per your measurements, using a marker and tube cutters. The cut must be level. Remove burrs or shavings with a utility knife or emery cloth.
Slip a crimp ring over the cut end of the PEX pipe. Push the brass fitting into the tubing until the fitting shoulder butts against the pipe. Carefully slide the metal crimp ring until the ring rests 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the fitting. This ensures the ring will crimp correctly over the fitting and pipe.
Run PEX plumbing and fittings in this manner until you have supplied new lines to the intended fixtures. This process, called dry-fitting, ensures that enough pipe is used and run to every fixture before crimping the lines and permanently installing the PEX tubing.
Place the crimping tool squarely on the metal crimping ring, holding the tool at a 90-degree angle from the ring. The jaws should completely cover the ring. Squeeze the handle of the crimping tool until you feel the crimping ring compress under the pressure. The crimper will make a clicking noise as it tightens.
Place the go/no-go gauge over the crimped ring to check your fittings. The go side of the gauge should move freely over the entire crimped ring and tubing. The no-go side should not be able to fit anywhere on the crimped ring.
Tips & Warnings
- The brass fittings for PEX plumbing are ribbed so that they mechanically lock into the internal side of the crimping ring. Do not over crimp the ring since this will smash the ring and possibly cause it to cut into the PEX tubing.
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