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CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe

 
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Old 06-17-2017, 10:19 AM   #1
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CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


What is the latest thinking on CPVC .vs PEX piping? I read one article that says pex is the best and the next article says CPVC is the best. I live in Florida with harsh water that puts pinhole leaks in copper. And I read that Chlorine is tough on pex piping. I know pex is highly used in Europe, but read they do not have that much Chlorine in their water:

https://failures.wikispaces.com/PEX+Plumbing+Failures

Here is what I do know from personal experience, CPVC get brittle over time.

If I go with pex I am leaning towards the Uponor AquaPex Piping and the expansion ring connectors. Due to the zinc issue is it best to use all plastic fittings or go with brass. Any opinion on which connect is best the expansion or crimp method and which fittings are best?



If anyone has links to independent test that was done on both types of pipes that would be appreciated.

When I go look at new homes they seem to all be putting in CPVC in my area.

But in general which ones causes the least call backs and least to leak or burst over time.

I am also thinking if I go with pex I will have to go to a larger pipe size like 1" due to ID size being smaller especially at fitting.

Finally any recommendation on best places to buy Pex.

Thanks in advance,
Robert
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Old 06-17-2017, 11:13 AM   #2
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by bilskro View Post
What is the latest thinking on CPVC .vs PEX piping? I read one article that says pex is the best and the next article says CPVC is the best. I live in Florida with harsh water that puts pinhole leaks in copper. And I read that Chlorine is tough on pex piping. I know pex is highly used in Europe, but read they do not have that much Chlorine in their water:

https://failures.wikispaces.com/PEX+Plumbing+Failures

Here is what I do know from personal experience, CPVC get brittle over time.

If I go with pex I am leaning towards the Uponor AquaPex Piping and the expansion ring connectors. Due to the zinc issue is it best to use all plastic fittings or go with brass. Any opinion on which connect is best the expansion or crimp method and which fittings are best?



If anyone has links to independent test that was done on both types of pipes that would be appreciated.

When I go look at new homes they seem to all be putting in CPVC in my area.

But in general which ones causes the least call backs and least to leak or burst over time.

I am also thinking if I go with pex I will have to go to a larger pipe size like 1" due to ID size being smaller especially at fitting.

Finally any recommendation on best places to buy Pex.

Thanks in advance,
Robert
I am not a plumber, but have been around them on new houses and I do my own. IMO pex is the way to go . If using the expansion it is a full 1/2, 3/4 etc. I use crimp myself. easy to do and use. I have bought from Supplyhouse.com they have some good prices . guys I know seem to use the plastic fitting. I used brass myself. Not much more can tell you, but think you will like it if you try pex.

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Old 06-17-2017, 12:00 PM   #3
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


There are 3 types of PEX. A, B, and C.

C is not approved for water distribution.

B is a second grade product that uses crimp connectors.

A is widely considered the best. It uses a proprietary expansion ring for connections. It is manufactured under the brand AquaPEX by Uponor.

There have been almost zero failures with PEX so far. It is also the least toxic of all the plastic piping products.

However, it is still toxic to some extent, and how much toxins are leaching into the water, we won't know for some time.

CPVC is probably the single most toxic piping, both to use and manufacture. In fact, in California, it is not allowed in some structures for potable water, (Hospitals, HUD homes, for example).

I personally use copper exclusively. I've used PEX a few times for some repair and extensions, but I prefer copper.

It needs to be understood that everything needs maintenance and repair/replacement. This is no different for plumbing systems in houses. Whether it is copper or PEX, it won't last forever. But because it is far more difficult to re-pipe a house than it is, for example, to re-side it, or even re-wire, most folks throw a fit when the piping fails, and want to sue someone, or find a magical, eternal, piping solution. But it doesn't exist.




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Old 06-17-2017, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


"It needs to be understood that everything needs maintenance and repair/replacement. This is no different for plumbing systems in houses."

There is a bit of a difference. You will usually see siding start to crack and peel and even if it just broke off you can see and repair if before any major damage. But when a plumbing pipe burst and you are not home, thousands of dollars of damage can occur. Maybe the only thing that is equivalent is a roof blowing off in a hurricane.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:35 PM   #5
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Not a plumber but my Subs all use and love PEX ("Not the crap from Home Depot," their words). They will sometimes use CPVC and other mediums as necessary but only when they cant use PEX.

I trust their opinion/expertise, which is why I use them.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:55 PM   #6
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


I would never use cpvc. Ever. I used to do handyman work years ago and whenever I had to do anything on a house that had cpvc the stuff was so brittle I'd crack it EVERYTIME. I'd always end up having to rip out drywall to do the repair. Everytime I'd say: I'll be more careful and it should be good. Nope. Never. It always broke.
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Old 06-17-2017, 05:03 PM   #7
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


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I would never use cpvc. Ever. I used to do handyman work years ago and whenever I had to do anything on a house that had cpvc the stuff was so brittle I'd crack it EVERYTIME. I'd always end up having to rip out drywall to do the repair. Everytime I'd say: I'll be more careful and it should be good. Nope. Never. It always broke.
I know exactly what you are talking about as I have been there. But cannot use copper here and CPVC has been around a long time. I am just afraid to be the pex guinea pig. Who knows how it will hold up after 20 years in Jacksonville harsh water. We might be saying Darn should have gone with CPVC. But right now I am leaning towards pex.
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Old 06-17-2017, 05:25 PM   #8
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


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Originally Posted by bilskro View Post
I know exactly what you are talking about as I have been there. But cannot use copper here and CPVC has been around a long time. I am just afraid to be the pex guinea pig. Who knows how it will hold up after 20 years in Jacksonville harsh water. We might be saying Darn should have gone with CPVC. But right now I am leaning towards pex.
You are far from being a guinea pig.

https://failures.wikispaces.com/PEX+Plumbing+Failures

PEX Failures

With the sudden increase in the use of PEX in recent years, failures in PEX plumbing systems have been observed. Failures can be linked to two areas; the pipe and the fitting. The pipe can fail when exposed to chlorine within the water, or over exposure to sunlight before installation. In addition, PEX pipe has also been found to be permeable when exposed to some solutions, including oxygen and some petroleum products, and can leach toxic chemicals from the pipe material. As far as the fitting, the leading cause of failure in a brass fitting used with PEX is caused by dezincification. This causes the fitting to corrode and eventually create leaks.


Until I no longer was, I was a hardcore all copper builder. Even when the other national names had switched to pvc & cpvc, I insisted on copper - it was a hallmark of the brand, just like the famous architect I used.


The link below is Google Earth of our 1500 front door project in Oxford. The first 150 or so were done with copper before the switch to PEX in about 2001-2003. So that's a good long major project reference with a 10 year build cycle.

Took the plumber forever to get me to change my mind.

I have ZERO regrets.

Let me know if the Google link doesn't work - I've never tried posting that type before.

If you get it right, you could "drive" through the whole thing via Google - will take you awhile.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.8334.../data=!3m1!1e3
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


PEX-B is a clear winner in terms of price vs. both other types. It has been in use for over 40 years with no known issues, given that a typical warranty for any type of PEX is only 20-25 years. It also has a higher bursting pressure than PEX-A and a similar or better resistance to oxidation - a very important factor for plumbing installations.
The major downside of PEX-B is its’ stiffness and coil memory (tendency to return to the original shape of coil). While there’s little difference in smaller sizes such as 1/2", larger pipe diameters, especially 1”, can be noticeably harder to bend. Any kinks (which are very rare in our experience, but still occur) made during the installation can only be repaired by installing a coupling and cannot be repaired with a heat gun like PEX-A.



http://www.pexuniverse.com/content/types-of-pex-tubing
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Old 06-17-2017, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by bilskro View Post
I know exactly what you are talking about as I have been there. But cannot use copper here and CPVC has been around a long time. I am just afraid to be the pex guinea pig. Who knows how it will hold up after 20 years in Jacksonville harsh water. We might be saying Darn should have gone with CPVC. But right now I am leaning towards pex.


Page 2


http://www.sharkbite.com/sharkbite/w...e-PEX-CPVC.pdf
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:16 AM   #11
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


It's a no brainer, PEX all the way . Something you all should know about CPVC or any PVC, for that matter is that it will get brittle over time. It is something I have run into time and time again. The slightest little bump and the stuff breaks.
As for PEX, it is far from new in the big scope of things. It is a proven method and the only real issues are guys that don't install it properly. Especially the crimp fittings. There is a specific spot on the fitting to properly crimp the barb. If done right, it will likely never fail.
The other option is expanding fittings for certain brands of PEX. The benefits of these are that you don't reduce flow and they have a warranty when installed by a contractor who has the training.
The cons are that they take more time to install (labor cost) and you have to use specific brands of PEX pipe. (Wirsbo and Upinor are the most common)
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:02 AM   #12
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Pex has significant freezing advantages, but at the end of the day CPVC works fine and is more proven than PEX.

1) There is nothing easier than gluing together CPVC pipe, not crimping, not expanding... nothing. The cutters are easy to use in tight spaces. A glue dapper is easier than any crimping or expanding tool. Follow the glue rules is easier than following crimping or expanding rules. A cheap pair of tubing cutters is good enough for small jobs, Rigid ratchet cutters are probably the best.

2) The CPVC pipe is the ideal balance of rigid and flexible to run pipe straight like copper or run it messy like PEX. Giving customers the option to run homerun/manifold plumbing is a nightmare. Houses are not designed around using that much additional pipe, it can create a lot of unusual problems, which cost labor money or screw one party or another in the quote. Homeruns and manifolds are not worth the money. Pressure is mostly determined by faucet and supply tubes from the valves, not pipe. Most households don't run enough stuff at once for the homerun system to shine. The limit is most often your faucet, your water service, your filtration system or your tankless hot water system is clogging and the pressure balance faucets are balancing to the lower hot. On a side note. Tankless heaters are almost never worth the money/hassle. They don't save enough for the massive additional maintenance that MIGHT be involved and that is based on water quality, which is beyond the plumbers control. Water softeners don't actually prevent all the minerals from scaling pipe, only some of them. So, it will always be a bit of a risk to go tankless.

3) CPVC is cheap and does not require many tools. It does the job fine, there is no need to look for another option. If you have a proven option that's easy, stop looking for other options.

4) There is no real problem with CPVC getting old and brittle. A standard house generally doesn't outlast it's plumbing all that often anyway (unless you used quest pipe). This is just people whining about things because they are not perfect AND trying to sell PEX. The reality here is that usually it doesn't happen with a decent/sharp snap closed or ratchet style cutter. BUT, if that's a problem just use the old copper cutter or a hacksaw. DERP. It's like nobody thought of that? It's still going to be 5 times easier than running copper.

5) The only REAL problem with CPVC is not following the instructions on the glue label. You don't want to jam much glue into the fitting. but only a thin layer on the inside of the fitting. You can apply as much as you want to the pipe. Then hold for a few seconds and boom your done. The instructions are pretty clear on how to use it. I always use Oatey Orange because it sets a little faster, which is ideal for repairs or installation. For drain the fast setting glue is not worth it, imo.

6) Other limits of CPVC are that you need dry pipe and fittings. You need a fresh glue supply and you need to recognize when glue gets old and gels up and throw it out. It may not be the best pipe in extreme conditions when compared to PEX, but those extreme conditions generally don't exist in 99% of proper plumbing installs. You need a way to carry pipe in straight lengths and not rolls and you need more different types of fittings to run the pipe in the ideal way.

As a plumber I say PEX does not have useful real world advantage over CPVC unless perhaps the pipes are routinely exposed to freezing conditions for some reason, and they never should be. I would prefer to insulate CPVC and seal up the crawl space as the proper solution to freezing pipe issues.

I see no reason to ever use pex for water pipe. I might use it for radiant heat, but I have a big problem with pex.

In multiple homes around here as well an RV. Mice have chewed through the PEX pipe. We've never seen mice chew through CPVC in 40+ years of plumbing. We've never seen CPVC pipe spontaneously fail or develop pipe holes like copper.

The only real complaint is that it gets brittle, but unless it's installed wrong and the glue was junk or the pipe was wet, the glue joint holds up JUST like the ever important drain glue joints all over your house. I think using PVC drains and CVPC water pipe is about as ideal as it currently gets for a plumber. PVC is our friend!

The brittle problem is easy to get around and installation time is low. I suspect CPVC will wind up holding up better than copper since it's far more resistant to acidic water conditions, which was one of the major failing points of copper, the house full of pinhole leaks.

Copper is still the best of the best for anyone with decent water, but if I had low PH water I think a CPVC install would last longer. Pex is prone to mice chewing through it, but other than that it MIGHT last a long time. I think, over the course of a homes entire life, mice could prove to be a long term nightmare for PEX installs. Hopefully the houses are sealed up real good or not in climates with small insects that like to chew soft plastic. I don't want the liability of a PEX, but even without that glued joints are faster and don't require special tools. I don't like coiled pipe one bit. If I wanted to run CPVC sloppy, like pex, I could do that and run it a little faster, but ... why.

If homeowners want to work on their own pipe, CPVC is easier I think. Sharkbites made transitions easy on most any pipe these days. I dunno how long those things will prove to last. I've seen them leak, but people probably also didn't follow the instructions and prepare the pipe.

Just don't jam glue in the fitting, don't use old gelled up glue and don't get the pipe or glue wet and hold the fitting together. I like to twist the fittings when I can to helps ensure the best joint. Like drain PVC, the pipe will sometimes want to push out a little when you first glue it together. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won't. You just hold them in for a few seconds, which technically changes with the temp, and you're fine.

I'm just a plumber, my dad is a plumber, I'm not trying to sell you anything other than the concept of staying with a proven and highly standardized piping system. CPVC is the more proven choice and all the talk about it being brittle is highly exaggerated.

If that were true, to the point some people say, as plumbers we'd see it happen. How is it we've seen more mice chew through PEX than we've seen people just break off CPVC? How come so many people use CPVC? How come it's all part of accepted code? Wouldn't we have massive class action lawsuits like the kind that put quest out of business?

Now.. years ago the CPVC pipe was a different formula. Maybe some of the first batches were not good or consistent and there are some bad installs out there. I think that's where copper wins, it's hard to mess up the copper 'formula'. However, it's easy to mess up the fittings and have a batch that are hard together, while CPVC fittings are never hard to put together or require sanding or reaming to get together.

I've worked on some old CPVC and only ever experienced mild brittleness, which meant we just cut it with copper tubing cutters. We have lots of old retrofitted farm houses around here, so I see a decent amount of old sloppy CPVC. We've never seen it just break and fail unless the cabinet guy or something broke it off and that can even happen with new pipe if you hit it hard. I'm sure PEX can get punctured in the same ways, especially since we know mice can chew through it. It is soft plastic. If pex was self healing and puncture proof, then it would really be something.

By code I still have to insulate PEX, which means nailing the pipe right to the wood kind of sucks compared to setting things up in a way that will make insulating the hot side easier. Saving time on the install and running sloppy pipe then losing time on insulating doesn't make much sense. Fighting rolls of pipe trying to make big bends takes time. Using crimp or expanding fittings takes time. I just don't see the advantage at all unless you run pipe like you TOTALLY don't give a crap, in which case you MIGHT out run me running CPVC at max sloppy level, but I doubt it.

The only thing I have working against me is glue drying time to get the air test, but realistically we don't charge by the minute anyway. A CVPC repair might take 20 minutes and include 30 minutes of drying time while we do nothing, but you'd get charged an hour either way. The PEX repair would cost the same, but WE could leave the job sooner and go to another job.

That's the real advantage of PEX, but it's not something that plays out in the real world as good as it does on paper. I can always just shark bite repair a CPVC leak and roll out if I had to. The reality is that plumbing jobs are diverse and hard to a lot time to because of the huge variety of plumbing in homes from now and dating back 100 years. The minor advantage of PEX for rapid repairs isn't likely to add up to much unless you somehow specialize in PEX water line repairs only.

Last edited by IamPipe; 12-02-2017 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:04 PM   #13
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


That looks like an advertisement for CPVC. You just pop in here to write an essay, full of misinformation, singing the praises of CPVC. Are you the PIO for a CPVC manufacturer?

For those reading this thread, some mis-statements:

-Manifold systems are probably the single most effective method of reducing pressure/supply problems, particularly to distant fixtures.

-Tankless water heaters are not for every application, but I've installed and serviced many, including periodic flushing with either commercial lime scale remover, or just plain vinegar. I've also installed point of use calcium filters for everything from tankless water heaters, to commercial ice makers, to commercial espresso machines. They work fantastically. I know, because I do the maintenance on them, including water testing.

-If your plumbing system is outlasting your houses, you're building some really $#itty structures. There is no reason why a stick-framed home shouldn't last 150 years or more. Maybe not with OSB, though.

-CPVC is nothing if not brittle. That is probably, besides toxicity, it's single greatest drawback. It is inevitable, period.

-CPVC is highly toxic. It leaches carcinogenic chemicals for years, if not for it's life. The single most toxic pipe that is approved for drinking water.

-Attaching PEX fittings is no more time consuming than gluing CPVC. In fact, the reason plumbers nationwide have almost universally switched to PEX, is because it is FASTER. Period.


For the record, I don't like PEX. I'm a copper guy. But PEX is far better, in just about every way that I can think of, than CPVC.




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Old 12-02-2017, 03:34 PM   #14
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


You can do what you want, but I find CPVC so easy to install that I can't see anything but risk in PEX. Pressure isn't a problem for any pipe system really. If it's a big house you use 1 inch CVPC mains (or larger) and risers. With CVPC you're not really limited by cost so you can upsize easier.

Really though.. PEX is definitely a lot more prone to mice chewing holes in it than CPVC. Don't you think that's kind of a major problem. I just did a pex repair on an RV and fortunately we could get to it from up top because the underside was just a framework of metal with tubing inside it. We were able to pull the pipe up and sharkbite it, fortunately for them. I think any soft plastic is much more likely to be chewed by rodents.. that is their way. That alone is a big liability. but lets just say you don't think the mice thing will happen to you.

You can't crimp or expand joints faster than I can glue. Other than this claim CPVC gets dangerously brittle. It's more like it gets annoying brittle and you have to use the old slow tools, but copper cutters cut it like butter. It's also not like you will probably cut into old pipe a bunch of times. I've never seen it just break when mildly hit, but the original pipe formula was likely inferior and I'm sure I haven't seen everything.

But, we used it in hundreds houses over the decades and there has been zero breaks that we have heard about. We used PEX is maybe a dozen and at least one mice chewed a hole in the pipe. I'm no odds expert. I'm no pipe scientist, but I think in the BIG picture of things PEX is more likely to get chewed by a mouse in a most populated parts of the country than CVPC is to snap off.

I suppose you can call it an advertisement of my opinion. With all the hype on PEX we've had people ask for PEX and home runs and I just know the internet put all that BS in their head.

As an installer I find CPVC awesome. Have you seen the sprinkler guys install that orange sprinkler pipe. Those dudes are FAST and their installs looks pretty decent sometimes. They use CPVC pipe, it's good enough for massive sprinkler water delivery. It's good enough for farmers. I've never seen it fail unless the glue was wet or old and that's darn easy to avoid.

The brittle claim just isn't a good enough reason to switch over to a less proven pipe system that I KNOW mice enjoy chewing into. If you're THAT scared of pipe failure you should be installing L copper and maybe a water filter to get max pipe life. Maybe only mice in my area chew through PEX SO.. I think it's copper or CPVC. You go top of the line or you go with the OTHER proven alternative. Introducing new pipe system with minor advantaged and potentially major flaws make no sense.



Scale is not limited to calcium, unfortunately many people think that. So, vinegar may help and it may do nothing. Having to schedule a plumber in your house to flush your water heater sounds like a pain in the butt to me. Tank4Life! I'd go back to the non vapor proof gas if I could. They weren't a problem and easier to work on. A lot of 'advances' are just BS to sell stuff, imo.

Since CVPC is cheap and requires less fancy tools and fittings. What really would I be advertising other than a simple and proven way to install pipe?

Usually when people advertise, they advertise new fancy things with all these benefits you never had before. I'm saying stick to the old CPVC, it's proven and widely used in lots of applications.

It's STILL a nightmare having to fix old quest installs and even if PEX turns out to hold up, it's still yet another pipe system to have to support and the advantages just aren't really there. PEX needs to be mouse proof. Maybe in extra cold climates PEX wins out, but really your house should protect your plumbing. If PEX was truly freeze proof that would be compelling, but not being mouse proof makes me just see it as a big liability.

It's not uncommon for a home to get torn down before it's 150 years old and rebuild. With all the changes in modern building it often winds up being cost effective. There is no reason yet to think PEX can outlast CPVC anyway.

Studies also show PEX leaching chemicals also. No actual health risks have been linked with either. The air has chemicals. The rain has chemicals in it. Your food has chemicals. Unless a health risk is proven I don't think that's much of a real argument. I read studies that show PEX actually leaches more, so who knows which way that goes. I'd say heated plastic pipe probably leaches some chemicals either way.

If leaching is a concern then I think you have to go with copper.

I go to the supply store and talk to real plumbers all the time. Nobody likes pex and many don't even like CPVC because it's too easy and homeowners do it and screw it all up.

Plumbers 'nationwide are switching to PEX' and you think I said sound like an advertisement.. hmmm. I just don't see that in real life. I know for a fact mice chew holes in it. We've installed it and it wasn't easier than CPVC.

We did go to a house where a plumber had started in PEX and then run out of the people, we finished it with CPVC.

If you run PEX right and don't just flop it around in the bays, I don't think it's going to be any faster at all. My CVPC will be straight, parallel and nice looking compared to most PEX installs.

Either way the mice problem alone really should have mad PEX a no go years ago. I think many of you who use it professional are taking on huge liabilities.

You can google mice chewing PEX. I'm hardly the only one.

Last edited by IamPipe; 12-02-2017 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:37 PM   #15
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Never had a mouse eat a pipe.
So that issue doesn't apply.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:38 PM   #16
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Maybe in extra cold climates PEX wins out, but really your house should protect your plumbing.

Or in climates that have a cold spell at least once a year?
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:40 PM   #17
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


I go to the supply store and talk to real plumbers all the time. Nobody likes pex and many don't even like CPVC because it's too easy and homeowners do it and screw it all up.

We are smart enough to realize that plumbers want copper as they are the ones still using it.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:44 PM   #18
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrdavid567 View Post
I go to the supply store and talk to real plumbers all the time. Nobody likes pex and many don't even like CPVC because it's too easy and homeowners do it and screw it all up.

We are smart enough to realize that plumbers want copper as they are the ones still using it.
A know some plumbers that had there house's all copper.
Very rare these days.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:45 PM   #19
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Either way the mice problem alone really should have mad PEX a no go years ago.

Still do not see that.

By the way, my trad listed is roofer, except I havn't been roofing since the early 90's.
Today I repair houses where the so called plumbers have screwed up.
I for years ran copper and have mad the switch to Pex as it is a proven system.
CPVC becomes too brittle and is not liked around here.

You can use anything you want, I am not your customer.
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Old 12-02-2017, 04:45 PM   #20
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Re: CPVC Or PEX For Re-pipe


Their both junk.

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