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Old 12-24-2014, 11:57 AM   #1
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Mantua , Ohio
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Copper v. Pex

Copper v. Pex???
I'm old school, copper even in my rentals and new construction companies.
My 61' has the factory 3/8" copper lines, no leaks. BUT,,, I AM redoing the system itself with a pump, plastic tanks, tankless hot water, faucets, etc.
I lack experience with Pex, but I have messed with it extensively and feel confident I can re-plumb the whole thing.
I'm in deeper than I originally planned anyways, so to convert to Pex, really isn't a big deal.
Again, I prefer Copper, as I can fix a break VERY fast, but in the long run, should I just convert over to Pex and if yes, should I go to 1/2 lines?
THANKS and Merry Christmas!

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Old 12-24-2014, 12:06 PM   #2
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I prefer pex in an RV due to vibration as well as the possibility of a freeze. My house has copper. Half inch is what I used, with crimped fittings.


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Old 12-24-2014, 12:16 PM   #3
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For a reinstall I would use crimp fitting. But for any future repairs use Shark Bite fittings.

All you need to know to work with plastic is how to use a ruler and a saw. Everything else is self forgiving. That is why the plumbing fraternity fought the use of it so hard when first introduced.
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Old 12-24-2014, 12:19 PM   #4
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1/2 inch PEX is the way to go. Spend the money for a good crimper and gauge set.

The cheap crap one that you use with a pair of locking pliers will not crimp reliably. Been there, wasted time and money... They have them in most big box stores.

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Old 12-24-2014, 12:53 PM   #5
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I replaced all the leaking copper with PEX in my 64. It tolerates freezing and vibration better and a plus for me was no need to solder. Easily repairable too.
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #6
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pexuniverse is a good source
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:58 PM   #7
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I used 1/2" Pex from Home Depot and the crimp style rings, Home Depot is easier to find anywhere in the country and the crimper works with multiple size pipe and the stainless steel crimp rings will not expand as much in the freeze/thaw cycle as the copper rings do, that can cause small leaks.
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Old 12-24-2014, 02:05 PM   #8
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Copper v. Pex

Pex in a trailer is so easy that it is practically a no brainer.

Fast, easy, done, move on to the next project.

(I would have gone the way of copper had I not read this forum, hat tip Airforums!)

I used all brass hardware and copper crimp rings with a modified bolt cutter crimper I got off eBay.

The first trailer might have taken a good part of a couple days to plumb, the second took about a half day.

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Old 12-24-2014, 02:06 PM   #9
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Use PEX but go ahead and buy a good crimper as rmkrum suggests. SharkBite works well enough but for the price of those fittings you can afford to just buy the crimper. I redid my entire '78 Ambassador in PEX and it has been through a number of hard freezes with no ill effects.
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Old 12-24-2014, 02:38 PM   #10
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I went with PexA Uponor/Wirsbo system....The nice thing about this series of pipe is that it expands to fit OVER a 1/2" fitting; you don't loose any flow as opposed to other crimp systems. This means that it expandabilty is double what other Pex pipe is, so concerns over freezing expansion will be less. The Wirsbo system is very easy to install and my project was the first time using it with no leaks.

I have been told never to use Sharkbite fittings where you can't see or reach as there is a possibility of them leaking due to vibration or pressure. A good quick fix, but very expensive to do a whole rig as well.

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Old 12-24-2014, 03:23 PM   #11
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Pex for sure. Cuts like butter with a PVC pipe cutter, IMHO a must have tool. I had a summer job once re-plumbing house trailers back in the days before PEX. I installed a lot of copper that summer so I can tell you that PEX is by far the easiest way to go and I think the best.
I used crimp rings on most of my connections but there were several places were I could not make the "last" connection due to space. I used a few SharkBites in those places. I found that in some of the cramped locations you can make the connections up outside the trailer and then put them in and make the last crimp. Use a Sharpie to mark orientation of the fittings when you mock it up then take it out and do the crimps. Put a short length of PEX in your tool box along with a few SharkBite unions and you are ready for most problems but most likely you will never need it. The only leak I had develop was after a couple of summers of camping. It was where the tubing from the water pump mated with the PEX. The hose clamp leaked on the tubing side of the connector but not the crimped on PEX fitting. I have had zero leaks with crimp rings or SharkBites.
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Old 12-24-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
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You will be glad you did. After your first install, you will wonder why you did not try it before. And, you will be done with copper from then on.
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Old 12-24-2014, 07:32 PM   #13
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I do a lot of work with both. I much prefer working with copper - I think it looks more professional and solid but ...............I really have a hard time justifying it over PEX in most cases.

I have had a few tight spaces where I could not get the crimping tool in and had to sweat copper or use the sharkbite compression PEX connectors. If a copper repair just needs 2 or three fittings, I will replace with copper because I know I would have to solder on a few copper-to-PEX barbs anyway.

But mostly, for a remodel or addition, now I grab the crimper and a coil of blue or red PEX. It is faster than sweating and, because it can make mild bends and twists, it saves a few joints/fittings.

Although soft copper will hold up well, for a travel trailer, PEX seems ideal. 1/2" for main supplies and 3/8' for fixtures. The home improvement stores do not carry 3/8" but, on a travel trailer it seems like it would be far easier to work with than 1/2". Airstream uses all 1/2" probably becuse that is what most fixtures are set up for.

Copper ring crimpers are the way to go. You do not need to gauge every crimp - just check the first and last on a job to see if the crimp tool is wearing. Use a pair of shears to cut the pipe and use a deburring tool

I now carry a Dremel tool with a metal cutoff wheel to remove crimp rings.
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Old 12-24-2014, 08:45 PM   #14
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There exists a tool to remove PEX rings, but the one I have from Home Depot requires cutting the PEX then using the tool to split the ring off the fitting. A Dremel tool is ok if you don't scuff the tubing.

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