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Old 05-11-2014, 04:53 PM   #1
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Pex or not to Pex?

I'm right in the middle of a major reno….I have the rear lounge with the two couches and currently have the two small cabinets out under the wardrobes, along with the bathroom cabinet, toilet and both kitchen cabinets out.

The plumbing is for the most part very accesible now and I was wondering should I change it to Pex? I am reading that you can't buy crimps for the grey anymore and I don't entirely trust compression fittings (also bloody expensive). I do have a couple of them where I had a leak.

I'd like to buy and install a new shower system as we have gone chrome everywhere else instead of brass and retro fitting it to the grey could be a problem especially if I have to move piping.

I did come across this little tidbit about using Pex outdoors, answer was…. Yes. However, it MUST be protected from direct and indirect sunlight. PEX Pipe will start to become brittle and crack with continued exposure to sunlight.

Thanks for your input
Cheers
Tony
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:20 PM   #2
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If it is easily accessible now, and replacement won't kill your budget, I think I might change it out, the grey stuff is not known for aging gracefully.

The time to make the plumbing accessible can be worth a lot.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:21 PM   #3
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Done lots of plumbing - all types - over the years.
Decided to use Plex last year in my '76. Started out just to do the kitchen sink area. Went so well I ended up doing the whole trailer. Now would not use anything else.
Only problem I had was I bought a 'roll' at HD - getting to straighten out was a real b---h! Than someone mentioned on here that it came in straight 10' lengths. Now have both and it's much easier. It won't bend easy so used a lot of 90 degrees.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:50 PM   #4
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Tony,
I replumbed my '89 25' Excella last summer using 1/2" PEX. I bought the rolls and used Sharkbite fittings. In some places the straight 10' pcs may have been easier to use. My method in many places was trial and error for the correct length, so the Sharkbite fittings allowed easy disassembly to modify the length. Oh,yeah, buy the Sharkbite disassembly tool if you go to the PEX. Some have used the PEX crimping tool as the Sharkbites are pricey. The gray PB tubing was deteriorating in the elbows I discovered when removing the old lines. Since you have access to so many areas now, I recommend switching to PEX. Its not a fast job to do, but you will be happy you did it.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:02 PM   #5
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I've been having water pressure issues. Found 4 problems. A bad crimp on the power wire had been taped up and getting hot enough to melt the tape. The filter on the suction side was installed in the gray crap with hose clamps and an attempted repair with plumbers putty which was sucking air. The check valve in the pump was bad. And the fill line was installed over the pump squashing the motor down to the floor making it noisy.

I installed a new pump and some pex. I found that Lowe's sells an adaptor to go from grey to pex. I didn't use one. My lines are still in pretty good shape so I reused one connector to the pump. Warmed it up a bit with a heat gun and used a pex crimp. It's a pretty reliable looking repair and some day I'll continue with the pex conversion.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:34 PM   #6
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Tony my old grey tubing was fine but the fittings were breaking. I ripped the entire system and put in PEX. The shark bite fittings are convenient but expensive and very heavy. Buy a crimping tool and do the job right and be done with it. The other thing I did was to run the entire water system in foam insulation. It might be a bit over kill but I sleep better in freezing temperatures and I think it helps keep a constant temp while taking a shower.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
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The grey stuff is probably PB Polybutylene, there have been several lawsuits surrounding the stuff it was supposed to last 30 years, most of it lasted much less than that, it is now off the market. If you have the chance replace it. I have one house that fell outside the recall/payout and have been slowly replacing it as I get the chance. I also have a mobile home where the fittings have been failing on a regular basis, again replacing it as I get to them. From what I gather exposure to chlorinated water hastens it's demise. My house, fortunately was on well water for many years, now on chlorinated water, the failures are accelerating.

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Old 05-11-2014, 08:01 PM   #8
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The 30 year old fittings are going to start failing very soon if they have not already. I replaced all my plumbing with pex and it is the only way to go. There is some up front cost in the crimper and the crimp remover tool (I highly recommend this one, hey we all make mistakes sometimes) Most of the work is gaining access to the pipes the plumbing part is easy. If you have all those cabinets and seats out of the way you half way done with the project already. Replace it , you won't regret it.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:21 PM   #9
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If a shrkbite fitting freezes, the ice will disfigure the lock ring & push off the fitting. just make sure you winterize your trailer before the cold weather hits.
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Old 05-11-2014, 10:07 PM   #10
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It is a no brainer to replace all plumbing with Pex and I would use the crimp fittings. It helps to build piping sub assemblies on the outside and then install the pex sub assemblies. It may be helpful to use a compact crimping tool available at Lowes or HD that works with a set of vise grips. It only costs about $25 and then you have it in your bag of tricks forever.

Dan
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
It may be helpful to use a compact crimping tool available at Lowes or HD that works with a set of vise grips. It only costs about $25 and then you have it in your bag of tricks forever.



Dan

It takes 4 hands to use one. They work best in a vise and you better have strong hands and a good set of vice grips. They don't work well in tight areas. I've got one that I'll sell real cheap. I'll invests in a good one when I do more pex work.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:09 AM   #12
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For no more than the PEX and the fittings costs (in relation to the overall cost of the reno), there's not much of a decision to make in my opinion. Just be sure to either use the Sharkbite fittings or the plastic fittings that are made for PEX.
Good luck!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
I'm right in the middle of a major reno….I have the rear lounge with the two couches and currently have the two small cabinets out under the wardrobes, along with the bathroom cabinet, toilet and both kitchen cabinets out.

The plumbing is for the most part very accesible now and I was wondering should I change it to Pex? I am reading that you can't buy crimps for the grey anymore and I don't entirely trust compression fittings (also bloody expensive). I do have a couple of them where I had a leak.

I'd like to buy and install a new shower system as we have gone chrome everywhere else instead of brass and retro fitting it to the grey could be a problem especially if I have to move piping.

I did come across this little tidbit about using Pex outdoors, answer was…. Yes. However, it MUST be protected from direct and indirect sunlight. PEX Pipe will start to become brittle and crack with continued exposure to sunlight.

Thanks for your input
Cheers
Tony
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:42 AM   #13
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I'd redo our trailer right now in Pex if I had the time and access. I'm half afraid to even touch the PB pipe and fittings. I'm nervous when I use the water heater bypass that I'm going to break a pipe or damage the valve.

I've already had one problem with PB - the rubber insert on the fitting for the water pump tore and started leaking. I couldn't replace the insert, so I had to cut the PB and splice in a piece of Pex and some fittings to make it all work. Yeah, I survived, and it works well, but note I've just added some extra weight on the remaining PB pipe with the Sharkbite fittings. I was afraid to use one of those squeeze-grip pipe cutters on the PB, so instead I used a traditional metal roller cutter, going only a tiny bit deeper each time around.

So, yes. I'd replace it. To me it'd be a no-brainer if you're in the middle of a restoration project.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isuzusweet View Post
The plumbing is for the most part very accesible now and I was wondering should I change it to Pex? I am reading that you can't buy crimps for the grey anymore and I don't entirely trust compression fittings (also bloody expensive). I do have a couple of them where I had a leak.
Like others, I would replace PB with PEX anytime the opportunity presents itself.

Quote:
I did come across this little tidbit about using Pex outdoors, answer was…. Yes. However, it MUST be protected from direct and indirect sunlight. PEX Pipe will start to become brittle and crack with continued exposure to sunlight.
For outdoor use, PEX's cousin, PE, is available. The type suitable for potable water has a black exterior and a white interior. It is sunlight resistant and suitable for direct burial in most soils.
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