One of the principles of effective design is the choice of right materials for a job, based on its requirements. If you consider hot and cold water plumbing, what are the factors that you must look out for in a material? Resistance to high and low temperature variation, resistance to chemical corrosion, durability and flexibility are the characteristics you should be looking out for.
What is PEX?
In case you have never heard about PEX, let me fill you in about the virtues of this material. PEX is cross linked polyethylene, which is well-known as a plastic polymer. The strength of polyethylene as a material is enhanced by cross linking and this derivative is tougher than its source material.
It can withstand temperatures ranging from freezing point to about 200 degree Fahrenheit. These are the exact characteristics that one wants to see in home hot water piping materials. So PEX is a natural choice when it comes to installing home plumbing. Besides the durability, what makes PEX pipe installation simpler than copper pipes is its flexibility. PEX pipes are available in inch, inch, 1 inch and 3/8 inch diameters.
How to Install PEX Piping?
Before we talk about PEX pipe installation, let me list out the things you will need for the job. If you need to transport the PEX pipe over a large distance in the house, you will need a drilling machine, PEX fasteners, hangars, straps and stud plates.
According to the scale of the project, you will have to determine the length of PEX tubing that is needed. Depending on length of tubing, you must purchase PEX straps and hangars. To make attachments at plumbing ends, you need crimp rings and PEX cutters, as well as crimping tools.
Under heating and cooling effects, a PEX pipe can expand or shrink. For a 100 feet PEX pipe, you can expect a shrinkage of 1 inch, for every 10 degree rise in temperature.
Let me now provide a brief summary of procedure for installing PEX tubing. Firstly you need to mark out the path on the wall, along which the PEX tubing will run. At appropriate intervals, you must drill holes for the metal fasteners to be fixed. After the metal fasteners are fixed to the wall, you must run the PEX pipe through it, after cutting appropriate segments from the 100 foot roll.
Using hangars and straps, you can make sure that the piping is firmly fixed. The last part is connecting the PEX pipes to plumbing attachments. This will require crimp rings to be attached at every end. The crimp rings should be fixed using a crimper tool, while taking care that it is at least 1/8th inch away from the pipe end. If you want, you may use a go/no-go gauge to check whether crimp ring is firmly fixed. That does the job.
Hope this brief summary of PEX pipe installation has given you a good idea of how to go about it.