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PEX Plumbing: Flexible Retrofit

Posted by Matt Power, Editor-In-Chief

May 28, 2010 2:27:00 PM

With the ability to bend without special tools or heat, PEX tubing makes an ideal plumbing solution when it's time to repair or remodel. It can also connect easily to existing copper.

A COUPLE OF COPPER PIPES DEVELOPED A LEAK under my sink this week. To be fair, it wasn’t the PEX Plumbing with Crimping Toolcopper that gave way, it was the old solder, put in 30 years or so ago. And it wasn’t a fast leak. I had time to react before much damage had occurred.

The plumber, instead of putting a complete copper assembly back in, added a hybrid plumbing loop that includes flexible crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing. I’ve been intrigued lately with the idea of “design for disassembly.”  PEX isn’t exactly designed to come apart, but it’s easy to bend, redirect, or cut and add on a section. I’ve always struggled with solder joints, but PEX plumbing requires fewer joints, and it’s easy to create a leak-free bond.

Uponor 5/16" QS-Style Fitting Assembly, R20 Thread: A4020313For example, I found a several couplers that allow you just stick the PEX into the ends of to seal. Some brands such as AquaPEX from Uponor, are suitable for fire sprinkler systems.

Image: Uponor (showing Uponor 5/16" QS-Style Fitting Assembly, R20 Thread: A4020313)

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