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All-Purpose OWF Discussions => Plumbing => Topic started by: E Yoder on March 21, 2018, 07:33:13 AM

Title: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 21, 2018, 07:33:13 AM
Hi Guys,

I'd like to hear your experience on this-
I read on another forum where Pex B (crimp rings, regular insert pex fittings) is looked upon as kind of "low grade".  Pex A with expansion fittings is the Pex most installers on there promote. They speak of cheap Pex splitting and separating, leaking fittings, etc.
However I have never seen actual cases posted showing it, usually just second hand info being talked about.

I've have seen pictures of Pex-al-pex separating, but I'm speaking of Pex B specifically.
I have seen acidic water eat out brass pex fittings on domestic water lines (along with anything brass and copper in the house). The PPSU plastic insert Pex fittings seem to stop that issue. I've never seen one of those fail except for an overtightened female adapter.
And I've used miles and miles of Pex B in heating systems with next to no issues. Old fashioned copper crimp rings, insert brass fittings.

Anyway- I'd like to hear your experiences with Pex B.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: mlappin on March 21, 2018, 07:55:46 AM
There was a lawsuit against Nibco awhile back for supposedly there brand of pipe failing at the fittings.

My original install was 16+ years old and never had a failure, Pex B. But again, in this day and age if a manufacturer can shave a few pennies here and there so much the better.

https://www.classaction.org/nibco-cpi-pex-plumbing
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: greasemonkoid on March 21, 2018, 02:16:56 PM
I replumbed my whole house 3 years ago and after research decided PEX - A was the way to go. Local plumbing supply stores said they (hajoka) didn't carry it and none of their customers used it (obviously). So PEX B it was, now they tell me they do carry it. How frustrating... Hope it holds.

A few months ago the well pump switch stuck closed. VERY thankfully I was home at the time, the toilet valve began to leak and sinks went to beating and banging. By the time I realized what was going on and hauled tail to cut the switch it was too late. While I was in the well house the popoff blew on the hot water heater. Basement flooded in a matter of seconds.

Today everything is still sealed up and holding. The popoff blew at 150 psi, but that pex B says 160 psi on the line. There are redundant safety switches and and proper valves on the system now, that could have ended very badly.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: mlappin on March 21, 2018, 03:22:01 PM
I replumbed my whole house 3 years ago and after research decided PEX - A was the way to go. Local plumbing supply stores said they (hajoka) didn't carry it and none of their customers used it (obviously). So PEX B it was, now they tell me they do carry it. How frustrating... Hope it holds.

A few months ago the well pump switch stuck closed. VERY thankfully I was home at the time, the toilet valve began to leak and sinks went to beating and banging. By the time I realized what was going on and hauled tail to cut the switch it was too late. While I was in the well house the popoff blew on the hot water heater. Basement flooded in a matter of seconds.

Today everything is still sealed up and holding. The popoff blew at 150 psi, but that pex B says 160 psi on the line. There are redundant safety switches and and proper valves on the system now, that could have ended very badly.

WOW, thatís a hell of a good well pump to be able to build that kind of pressure.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 21, 2018, 03:29:31 PM
A good test I guess, but wow, not something you'd volunteer for!
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: wreckit87 on March 22, 2018, 03:14:27 PM
Aside from the Nibco ordeal, I haven't heard of any issues myself. Kitec had a delamination/separation/rupture issue and huge settlement but that's PAP. Been using B myself since day one with no issues, really don't see where it could go wrong unless severely overheated. I've had to pull a lot of crimped joints apart and even with the ring already cut off it's tough to separate without heat. Re-plumbed some stuff for my old man last fall after an underground Logstor mishap/replacement and noticed there was a coupling near his boiler that the last guy (me) cut the ring off of to separate and apparently had a change of plans so the ring never got replaced. 4 or 5 years ago when that boiler was swapped in. Granted it's just atmospheric pressure and was a return line, but the stupid thing went 4-5 years with no ring and never leaked a drop. Pretty impressive if you ask me! I don't much care for the poly fittings unless they're couplings, have seen enough of them break that I don't care to use them. Customer recently came and bought some PEX-B
from me to replace a blowout in his basement. Said his existing stuff was green (I assume Central pex? Which is B) and his aquatherm in the garage overheated. Blew both relief valves AND split the pex in the basement open like an overcooked hot dog. Still racking my brain to figure out how exactly that can happen with reliefs in place which also went, but it did.

Ever play with that polybutylene crap? What a dumpster fire. Sharkbite is the only thing I can find that works on it. I was able to crimp it once with double rings, crimped the first one like normal but it was still loose, so I split a second ring and put it over the first one and crimped again. It's only been a few months but it's working well so far! I saw some of that junk once in a basement that was so brittle from the heat over the years, that it shattered like glass when I tried to bend it in about a 4 foot radius
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 22, 2018, 04:57:27 PM
Yeah, polybutene (PB/quest) is a whole different animal than pex. Do you use the pb-pex adapters? PB is sdr-11 (larger id), I think. I see it a lot in 80's and early 90's double wides. Makes me nervous, it's had it's issues for sure. I try not to disturb it. Old cpvc can be brittle too.
That's very interesting about not leaking with no ring. It's tough stuff, you gotta cut it off, I use my ring cutter to spread it otherwise I'd never pull it off.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: wreckit87 on March 22, 2018, 06:34:07 PM
I don't typically touch plumbing except my own house (which happens to be a mid 90's doublewide with PB) but there was a local heating guy that used it for all his boiler installs back 20 years ago. I've run into a few of those disasters which were 1", he used Oetiker/cinch clamps and some sort of fittings, likely what you are referring to, but I don't carry that stuff or even know where to get it so Sharkbite was the answer. Except that one time I thought I'd try the crimp. And the other time when the pipe fell apart and needed full replacement lol.

The non-leaky ringless joint was a huge surprise. I often pull it apart after cutting the ring, either by heating a bit with the Mapp torch to soften or gyrating the fitting to elongate the tubing, sometimes both. Never used a ring cutter though, just a cordless grinder or a handheld reciprocating saw blade. Do they work well? What are you spreading with it?
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 22, 2018, 07:16:18 PM
https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-PXCRCUT-PEX-Ring-Cutter-1-2-1-Copper-Crimp-Rings?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn9fGpqKB2gIViySGCh00EQRrEAQYASABEgLVNfD_BwE (https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-PXCRCUT-PEX-Ring-Cutter-1-2-1-Copper-Crimp-Rings?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIn9fGpqKB2gIViySGCh00EQRrEAQYASABEgLVNfD_BwE)

Something like this. To cut the ring and spread the pipe open.


https://www.supplyhouse.com/Everflow-PXTC0034-NL-3-4-PEX-x-3-4-PB-Coupling-Lead-Free (https://www.supplyhouse.com/Everflow-PXTC0034-NL-3-4-PEX-x-3-4-PB-Coupling-Lead-Free)
They've got several sizes of pex-pb couplings.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: RSI on March 22, 2018, 07:32:39 PM
I am pretty sure Menards has some PB to pex adapters. I never touch that stuff either unless it is an old boiler line and I am pulling it all out.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 22, 2018, 08:24:23 PM
I run into PB tieing into older water heaters in double wides, gotta couple to it somewhere. Crimp gently....
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: wreckit87 on March 23, 2018, 02:31:56 PM
Eldon those ring cutters you have to cut the pipe off and slide the cutter inside the fitting don't you? Often there isn't enough leftover pipe to cut it off, that's why I pull the old joint apart and re-crimp on the new fitting. Always works fine but getting the ring off can be a PITA either way with my stone age methods
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 23, 2018, 03:12:51 PM
Yes, you're right. You gotta cut the pipe and insert into the fitting. I saw one on eBay that cut the copper ring from the side but never got one to try.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: wreckit87 on March 23, 2018, 04:37:25 PM
I never looked hard enough at those tools like you linked until today to notice that. Always thought they would do it from the side. I had this thousand year old side cutter once upon a time that showed up in a box of junk I got at an auction, had a real long snout like a needle nose, that actually worked really good for the copper rings but I lost it somewhere and had to resort to the old methods. Probably have 10 other side cutters and none work worth a crap for it. The 12" sawzall blade actually works really well in most cases
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: RSI on March 23, 2018, 06:38:14 PM
One reason I like the cinch clamps is they are easy to get off. I use an old junk ssc tool and close it down on the ear and bend back and forth a few times and the clamp snaps.

The thicker ones can just be popped apart with a screw driver but the Oetker clamps are too hard to get apart that way.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: mlappin on March 24, 2018, 11:49:56 AM
I find a duct blade in the sawzall works well.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: RSI on March 24, 2018, 05:44:09 PM
I bet an oscillating saw with a blade for wood with nails would be the best way to cut copper rings off pex. I will have to give it  a try. I just got a Dewalt 20v one and can't believe how good it works.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 24, 2018, 06:27:20 PM
I think the one case of leaking SS clamps it was an issue of off brand clamps with the wrong tool. They switched to oetiker brand and had no further issues.
Pex is really an amazingly reliable system.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: RSI on March 24, 2018, 07:41:15 PM
I got some cheap no name ssc tools that Nature's Comfort was selling. They didn't properly crimp the clamp and a few leaked. I just recrimped the same clamp with a good tool and they never leaked again.

I only use those tools to break clamps now.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: E Yoder on March 28, 2018, 12:58:06 PM
There was a lawsuit against Nibco awhile back for supposedly there brand of pipe failing at the fittings.



https://www.classaction.org/nibco-cpi-pex-plumbing

I found one article that stated that the whole nibco pipe failure was Pex C that is much less resistant to water quality issues. ?
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: Radio Tech1964 on November 11, 2018, 10:14:13 PM
I run into PB tieing into older water heaters in double wides, gotta couple to it somewhere. Crimp gently....
Ran into a similar problem tieing in to the hot water heater and main cold supply here. It's  double wide plumbed with Qest pipe which is totally odd ball to pex. My solution was archaic at best. We heated the PEX and it would slide right on the Qest fitting but no crimp rings I had would work so next best for me was a wide worm gear clamp.  I've repaired Quest to Quest in mobile homes for years with clamps and they are still holding. I hope this variation holds for a long time ;D
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: shepherd boy on November 12, 2018, 01:27:04 AM
You can get a Quest x pex adapter coupling at Lowes or wherever made for that situation.

Just did an install at Emory, not far from you? Got to fish South Holston this summer. Them Walleye and Smallmouth are calling.
Title: Re: Any Pex B pipe or fitting failures?
Post by: Radio Tech1964 on November 14, 2018, 08:59:02 AM
Hey there!

We are almost neighbors  ;D
I used to use those Grabber brand fittings with Qest but they got hard to find for awhile.  My method was definitely not an approved method but thankfully it has held for close to a week. We are so dang far from a Lowes or similar place that when we ran into this situation we couldn't make it to the store and had already cut the pipe >:(  That figures don't it LOL!

Speaking of South Holston I remember several years ago I was called to check a vhf radio in a yacht of sorts, big ole boat anyway  ;D
The owner wanted to go out in the lake a ways to verify my repair and I agreed. That was the first time I had ever been so far out in the water where I couldn't see any land and I was nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof  8)  Long story short the radio worked fine and I was very happy it did... in case I had heart failure!