Are you afraid to solder copper pipes?
If you’ve never soldered before it can be intimidating. Plus you can easily catch your house on fire – never a good thing.
Today you’ll learn how to install PEX pipe. This is a general overview that’ll share quick tips and get you familiar with PEX.
Which by the way comes in pretty handy when your wife tells you the kitchen ceiling is leaking water.
We promise that you’ll be able to fix any leaky pipe in your house after you read and watch today’s tutorial.
So let’s dive in and save you money!
Here are all the supplies we discuss
- Crimp Rings (1/2 inch)
- PEX 90 Degree Elbows (1/2 inch)
- SharkBite 90 Degree Elbows (1/2 inch)
- PEX Crimping Tool
- Pipe Cutter for PEX
- PEX Crimp Ring Cutter
- SharkBite Depth Tool
- Sharpie Marker
- These Amazon Affiliate links help support Home Repair Tutor, thanks for using them
SharkBites aren’t cheap but if you buy the PEX fittings in bulk they’re actually competitively priced.
And once you have the PEX crimping tool you’re all set to begin your plumbing setup.
One warning: make sure your local plumbing code allows PEX.
Some places don’t. And you’ll have to use copper. So call the local building inspector and ask…use someone else’s voice if you’re afraid of their response, haha…just kidding.
How Easy is PEX to Use?
Easier than you think.
You’ve probably seen it in the home store. PEX comes in red, white and blue colors. Red is for hot water lines, blue is for cold water lines and white is neutral, meaning you can use it for either hot or cold.
The colors are more for forgetful folks like me who can’t remember what they were doing 3 seconds ago.
Slide a crimp ring onto the PEX.
Slide your fitting, in this case a 90 degree elbow, into the PEX.
Crimp rings should be 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch from the end of the PEX. This recommendation is per SharkBite who makes these crimp rings.
It might be different for your PEX system so follow the manufacturer directions.
Position the PEX crimping tool at 90 degrees over the crimp ring. Then slowly squeeze the crimping tool until you hear it pop and compress the ring.
Our only complaint about the PEX crimper is that it has short handles. We wish you could extend the handles to create more leverage…hmm, maybe we should develop some invention.
It’s that simple.
But how do you know if your crimp ring is tight enough?
The nice thing about the SharkBite system is that it has a gage. If the ‘GO’ slot fits over your crimp ring you know it’s on the PEX correctly. You also want to slide the ‘NO-GO’ slot over the crimp ring, if it doesn’t fit you’re totally good to go.
What if you mess up the position of the crimp ring?
Not a problem.
How to Fix PEX Crimp Rings
If your crimp ring is more than 1/4″ away from the end of the PEX it’s super easy to repair.
Cut the PEX just shy of the PEX fitting.
Slide the removal tool into the PEX.
Squeeze the handle and snap the crimp ring. Place the removal tool 180 degrees on the other side of the crimp ring and snap it again. Although, we find that this mostly opens the crimp ring just enough to allow it to slide off the PEX.
Inspect the PEX fitting and make sure it’s okay to use again.
What if you don’t want to use PEX fittings with PEX?
Use SharkBites instead!!
Using SharkBites with PEX
We love PEX but it’s even easier if you use SharkBite fittings.
The one downside is the fact that SharkBites are expensive as all heck. We’re talking movie ticket prices.
But we LOVE them and SharkBites come in handy for super tight spaces.
Place the SharkBite depth tool on the PEX and make a mark with your marker.
Slide the SharkBite over the PEX until it meets up with the mark.
Each SharkBite fitting has a plastic insert and this makes the PEX connection solid. Little side note, you can leave the plastic insert in the SharkBite fitting even if you use it with copper. We called SharkBite and asked them about this.
SharkBites will spin 360 degrees around PEX or copper pipes. This is completely normal. So don’t be freaked out.
Watch our quick video to see extra tips and a funny outtake at the end…my daughters crack me up
This was meant to be a high level overview and teach you the basics of PEX.
We truly think you’d love working with it more than copper in some instances.
That said, if you want to learn how to solder copper pipes we have a great tutorial.
If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.