How is a PEX Repipe done?

Updated: May 27

How to replace copper pipes with PEX

Some time ago, copper pipes were the best option for homeowners that wanted durable pipes that would last several decades. But as these things go, new improvements in the science of materials were made that led to PEX. PEX is short for Cross-linked Polyethylene and is an alternative material for copper, PVC, and CPVC pipes. This fantastic material is better than copper in many areas: it's less expensive and flexible. If you are considering replacing your old copper pipes, PEX is an excellent option. Read more to learn why PEX pipes are a fantastic option for your home.


What is PEX

PEX is ideal for people who like to work on their houses themselves because it's easier to work with than having to solder copper pipes and fittings. It's possible to connect PEX tubing using crimp-ring type connectors with the help of a crimper. You can also connect them using a push-fit type of connector. These methods are suitable for joining new PEX tubes to existing copper pipes. Push-fit types of connects are better for DIY handymen since they don't require specialized tools.


Why you should consider replacing your copper pipes with PEX

For many decades, copper has been the material of choice for commercial and residential plumbing. Copper piping is sometimes recommended for home plumbing because of its heat and high-pressure resistance. However, this material can fail sooner than expected because of various factors. Also, copper is more expensive than other plumbing materials. This is why alternatives to the traditional copper piping are used more and more.

Benefits of PEX versus Copper Piping

Replacing your old pipes with PEX pipes can offer you these benefits:

Lower costs in production and installation

PEX is about 25% less expensive than copper because it requires less energy to produce the material. PEX is also lighter, so manufacturers can store and ship these pipings in a more space-saving way, making for lower shipping and handling costs. And because of its flexibility, it can also be bent around corners easily. PEX piping doesn't require as much cutting and fewer fittings, making it easier to install than copper. Because of all these cost-saving factors, installing PEX instead of copper piping is significantly cheaper.

Better energy efficiency

PEX has a lower thermal conductivity rate than copper. Because of this, PEX can help keep hot water hot for a longer time. They also produce less condensation on cold water lines, leading to fewer moisture-related problems in ceilings and walls.

Quieter

PEX piping is quieter, eliminating most noises associated with metal pipes, including banging noises from the water hammer. While the water hammer doesn't produce loud noises in PEX, it can still cause potential pipe damage. If you notice that exposed PEEX pipes flex or move around when you turn off your faucets, it is wise to have your plumbing system checked by a professional {<— perhaps a link to your contact page}

It's more durable in the long term.

PEX pipes have better chemical resistance and expansion and contraction rates than copper piping. Installing PEX could help eliminate many potential plumbing problems, like leaks caused by corrosion and failed fittings, which is a typical problem with copper piping.


The options for pipe replacement

If you run into damaged copper pipes, or you want to try replacing them yourself with PEX, there are several options to do this yourself.


• You can try to spot fix. When finding leaking copper pipes, you can take a minimal approach and cut out the wrong section to replace them with PEX.

• You can replace visible runs. This is a step between complete repiping of the entire house and small patches. It's also an option to replace large areas of 10 feet or longer of exposed copper pipe with PEX. You'll only replace the areas that are needed.

• Complete repipe. A good long-term solution is to repipe your entire home, replacing copper pipes with PEX. This involves disconnecting and bypassing all your existing copper and running new PEX pipings through your house. You can either follow the current pattern or start entirely new with a PEX manifold-and-branch system.

Many DIY handymen choose to replace the visible runs because this is not as labor-intensive or costly as repiping your entire house.


Signs that your copper pipes need replacement

Copper pipes have a long lifetime, sometimes even 50 years or more, but they eventually go wrong. When copper piping starts to erode, leaks are not always very obvious. There are some early signs to look out for. If you notice the following symptoms, your copper piping might need replacement.


• There's a smell. You start to notice a stale, musty smell that you cannot entirely lay a finger on what it is. It is even more confusing if the scent is in a laundry room, bathroom, or a child's room because you naturally think the smell is related to the room. But the odor is more like stagnant pond water, and it is constantly there.

• You see can see some signs. Broad bulges may start to develop on the ceiling or walls. This is caused by pinhole leaks in the copper slowly dripping on the drywall, causing it to expand.

• You see it. When you open a wall or ceiling, for example, to add insulation, you might notice that the copper pipes have become green, crusty, or corroded. When you see this, the lines might already have pinhole leaks that are beginning to leak water. Sometimes the dripping is so slight that you can't see it on the outside yet.


What you'll need to replace the piping


Equipment / Tools

• Marker

• Copper tubing cutter

• Drill-driver

• Copper pipe deburring tool

• Tape measure

• PEX tubing cutter


Materials

• PEX tubing

• Push-fit straight couplings

• Push-fit tees (as much as you need)

• Copper pipe straps and screws (as much as you need)



Our instructions for replacing your pipes


Cut off the water supply.


Water supply pipes are under pressure, and before you work on them, you'll need to shut off the water and drain the pipes. You might have branch shutoff valves in your system that will allow you to shut off water only to the section of the line you're working on at that time. You can also close the main shutoff valve to shut down water to the entire house when you are making repairs.



Drain the pipes


The water supply pipes will continue to hold water, so if it's possible, drain the lines by opening a faucet at the lowest level of your home. In most cases, this is in the basement or a first-floor utility sink or bathroom. This will allow the pipes to drain and prevent a lot of mess when you cut into the copper piping.



Cut both ends of the lousy copper.


Permanently mark the copper pipe to keep the sections you're replacing before starting. This way, you'll make sure you'll work on the right parts. Also, extend the area you want to replace well past the corroded area at both ends.


Cut through the copper pipe at both ends of the section to be replaced using a copper tubing cutter. Vertical sections of pipe will need support to prevent sliding down inside the wall cavities. Secure the vertical lines to the wall or floor by framing them with copper pipe straps and (the right) screws before you start cutting.


Cut the fixture supply branches.


Suppose sections of copper pipe you're removing include branch lines that run to plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks, or showers. In that case, you will need to sever these connections by using the tubing cutter. Suppose branch connections have been made with couplings or compressing fittings instead of sweat-soldered fittings. In that case, you'll have to disconnect them with a wrench.



De-Burr the cut ends


Make a snug fit with the push-fit connectors. The cut-off ends need to be smooth and clean. Using a copper de-burring tool, you can smooth all the cut copper pipes inside and outside. Run the device a couple of inches up the line to ensure that all corrosion is correctly removed.



Cut a length of PEX tubing.



Measure and cut PEX tubing long enough to replace the old copper pipes by using a PEX tubing cutter. Make sure to factor in the length added by the push-fit connectors. After this, cut the PEX tubing slightly longer. This will allow some room for expansion and contraction. PEX tubing has the flexibility to allow a little bit of excess.



Connecting PEX to the copper


Clean the ends of the Copper to remove burrs and debris. Then, measure and mark a depth line on the end of the copper PEX fittings. If you use push fittings Follow the push-fit connector manufacturer's specifications; do this on each end of the copper pipe.


Force one end of a fitting or push-fit straight connector onto one of the cut ends of the copper pipe. Make sure the tube is fully seated at the bottom of the connector and the connector reaches the depth marking. Insert one end of the PEX tubing into the other opening on the straight connector, pushing it to the depth line.


Repeat these steps with the opposite end of the repair area, joining the PEX to the copper pipe with another push-fit straight connector.



Connect the fixture supply lines to the PEX


The removed segment of copper also has fed fixture supply lines; you'll need to connect those lines to the new lining of PEX. You can do this by cutting into the PEX line with the PEX tubing cutter and then using a push-fit tee-fitting to patch into this line. Two outlets on the tee connect to the new PEX line, while the third feeds the supply line that runs to the fixture. If you wish, you can also replace the copper fixture supply lines with PEX at the same time.






The advantages of pipe replacement done by a professional


A lot is possible yourself, of course, but it can also be a hassle to figure this all out, get the supplies you need, and then do the whole replacement process. Why do all the effort when someone else can do a faster and better job? We offer a complete PEX repipe in one day, with city inspection and drywall and texture patch. We only use the best materials, which we can also give a 25-year warranty. Are you looking for someone to replace your old copper pipes with the best PEX materials with fast service and only work with the best materials? Contact us to get advice from our experts. {<— link to contact page}




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