How To Install Plastic Tubing

Plastic tubing comes in three distinct styles – flexible, semi-rigid and rigid and in a various colors and levels of transparency. The plastic tubes come in long coils that allow it to be installed without connectors. It is practical to use plastic tubing on hard to reach areas. These qualities make the plastic tubing adaptable to the environment into which the plastic tubes will be placed. With its many uses, plastic tubing can be installed for different purposes. Here are the steps on how to install plastic tubing.

  • Check the plumbing local code in your area. There are places where the use of plastic tubing is not allowed. You have to follow the specifications that are required.  If you will only install a cold water line, you can use the less-expensive polyethylene (PE) plastic tubing. For hot and cold water lines, you must use the more hardy polybutylene (PB) plastic tubing.
  • Turn off the main water line before you start installing the plastic tubing. Attach the fitting that will be connected to the water source and roll out the coil. Adjust the tubing to conform to the area where it will run. Provide support for the plastic tubing every thirty-two inches. Clip it loosely to the surface where it runs along.
  • If you are using PE flexible plastic tubing and you need to connect two ends to extend the length of the plastic tube, first insert hose clamps over both ends of the tubes to be connected.  Push one end of the insert fitting into one end of the tube until the serrations on the fitting are fully inside the plastic tube. Tighten the hose clamp securely over the serration. Do the same for the other end of the new plastic tubing. The insert fittings can be straight or T-shaped. T-shaped are used when you have to divert from the main line and add a plastic tube to go in another direction. It may be difficult to push the insert fitting into the plastic tube. The trick is to soften the PE tube with hot water. You can either dip the end of the tube in hot water or pour hot water over it.
  • If you are using flexible PB plastic tubing and you want to extend its length, push a compression ring on one end of the tube. Add a compression washer and flange. On the other end of the extension tube, add a flexible tubing union. The tubing union can be fitted into the compression ring and tightened by hand. Tees and ells are fittings that you can add to the plastic tubing to branch out the tubes into other directions.
  • You can also attach a metal stop valve on flexible PB tubing. Push half of a brass insert into one end of the tube. Push a compression nut and ferrule on this end, too. On other end push the metal stop valve assembly. Connect the two ends and tighten. The brass insert will prevent the tube from getting compressed when you tighten the nut.

Plastic tubing is good to use for areas that will be difficult to work in using conventional water pipes. Care should be taken though that you do not twist the plastic tubing as this can cause cracks to form on the surface. Plastic tubes are also very susceptible to punctures so you have to use these in areas where the threat of puncturing the tube is nil. Do not forget to support the plastic tubes with clips and seal joints with plumber’s putty for additional security.


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