PEX piping, developed by Zurn, makes it easy to install and maintain plumbing even through tall buildings. Compared to rigid copper, PEX will expand and contract according to temperature, and is therefore durable in applications where intense heat or frigid temperatures are the norm.
PEX is also different from conventional PVC in that PEX is constructed with a cross-linked design. This makes it particularly flexible, enough to contract and expand depending on temperature.
What you need:
- PVC cutting tool or any sharp knife or saw
- Tape measure
- PEX pipe
- Ring crimper
- Crimp rings
Measure the required length. You can use a tape measure to determine how long you would need your PEX pipe to be. Alternatively, you can simply run a length of PEX piping along the wall, floor or ceiling where you will need the piping to go through.
Add allowance. After measuring, allowance on each termination point to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature. PEX will expand by 0.8% (or one inch per 100 feet of pipe) for every 10 degree increase in temperature. The corresponding contraction will be the same for every 10 degree decrease in temperature.
Cut the pipe. After measuring the length of your PEX pipe, you can now make a cut. Use a PVC cutting tool or any sharp implement. It’s important to cut on both ends, to make sure that each end is smooth and burr-free, which is important for PEX to function properly. To be sure of a proper cut, you can purchase a pipe cutter specifically designed for PEX pipes.
Crimp the PEX pipe. After cutting your PEX pipe to the proper length, slip on a copper crimp ring, making sure that it’s about an eighth to a quarter inch from the end. Insert the piper fitting into the PEX pipe, making sure that the end of the PEX pipe is at the shoulder of the fitting. You can now use your crimping tool to close the crimp ring. Make sure that your tool is at a 90-degree angle, so the crimp ring will close securely on the PEX pipe. Otherwise, a poor-fitting crimp ring will result in leaks.
Add supports. When installing PEX piping, make sure you provide adequate support throughout the length of the piping. If you will be installing the PEX pipe above a beam, it should be supported or clamped at six-feet intervals. If it will be joisted through a wall, it will need to be supported every 32 inches. If you will be running PEX through several floors, make sure it has support in every floor. It will be important to leave some slack in your PEX piping support to give way to contraction.
PEX piping has great applications in hot and cold water provision and is very resistant to other chemicals commonly found in plumbing. PEX pipes can even be used underground. At the moment, the only limitation of PEX so far is that it cannot be used outdoors.