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Old 19-12-2010, 17:11   #1
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Pex Plumbing - Bronze or Plastic Fittings ?

There have been some great posts on Pex plumbing here but I have one question I still am unclear on. Should I use bronze or plastic fittings? Also, compression or expanded fitting? I'm going with Pex Wirsbo for redoing my entire potable water plumbing. I think that plastic put on with an expander would be super strong. Pex to plastic fittings makes logical sense to me. Bronze to pex with an expander sounds risky. Couldn't the pex slip (when put on with an expander) on the bronze when cooled after hot water goes through? Is compression fitting good enough for all potable water plumbing or is the extra effort (and expense) of putting the fitting on with an expander worth it? Finally, wouldn't plastic be better? No corrosion worries, cheaper etc...

Really would appreciate anyone's knowledge and feedback on this. Especially the thoughts on bronze verses plastic fittings.
Thanks!
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Old 22-12-2010, 20:15   #2
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We are using PEX piping with bronze fittings that use a steel compression rings and their special crimp tools.So far its been almost 3 years and no problems with the pipe or fittings and we live aboard. The water pump....that's a whole different story....

We did use liquid electrical tape(essentially colored PVC glue and rescue tape to cover the steel compression rings and no signs of rust yet... ;-)
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Old 22-12-2010, 22:34   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KJson View Post
There have been some great posts on Pex plumbing here but I have one question I still am unclear on. Should I use bronze or plastic fittings? Also, compression or expanded fitting? I'm going with Pex Wirsbo for redoing my entire potable water plumbing. I think that plastic put on with an expander would be super strong. Pex to plastic fittings makes logical sense to me. Bronze to pex with an expander sounds risky. Couldn't the pex slip (when put on with an expander) on the bronze when cooled after hot water goes through? Is compression fitting good enough for all potable water plumbing or is the extra effort (and expense) of putting the fitting on with an expander worth it? Finally, wouldn't plastic be better? No corrosion worries, cheaper etc...
Karen
I've built 3 houses using Shark Bite fittings throughout. The reason I went that route is that they are extremely easy and quick to use and are reusable. They are a bit spendy, but the crimping tool required for other types of fittings are extremely expensive (at least for my budget) I have had Zero problems with the Shark Bites. Other builders have expressed extreme skepticism about my choice, but I've used them for all domestic water and heating connections from 1/2 to 1 inch with no leaks or failures. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to use them in a boat
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Old 23-12-2010, 01:39   #4
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I had to partially re plumb a house where someone had used Pex and crimp on metal fittings. All well and good on the workbench but when its in a hard to reach place, you cant guarantee the crimp tool is in the prefect position to do its job right

Plastic fittings are re mountable, designed for use with pex and there are many many millions of em out there all doing a good job
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Old 23-12-2010, 03:31   #5
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If you use compression fittings, you should use plastic fittings. If you use brass compression fittings, you should insert a stiffener in the PEX tube so the brass compression fitting does not crush the pipe and cause a leak. It's hard to get plastic compression fittings to torque enough to crush the pipe... the plastic fitting will usually strip before it crushes the pipe. The best method is to swag the barbed fittings on the pipe with the proprietary swagging tool and crimp ring designed to do the job. The barbed crimp ring fittings are rated @ 150 psi witch is well below the 30 or 50 psi a boat will see. Like Amy said, it can get tough to get a good crimp in tight locations, so you might have to crimp outside a cabinet, then work the crimped assembly back into the area, or use compression fittings in some areas. I've been using this type of pipe and crimped fittings for many years on everything from house's to dump truck air lines without any problems.

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Old 23-12-2010, 08:51   #6
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My boat is going to be 9 years old in February. It has plastic compression fittings throughout. So far, so good. I'm not saying they're better than bronze, just that they're OK after 9 years. Of course now that I've said that I'll go down to my boat and find all of the fresh water in the bilge.
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Old 23-12-2010, 08:57   #7
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we used pvc with plastic solvent welded joints and fittings,10 years and never a leak.
also very easy to work with
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Old 23-12-2010, 09:49   #8
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I am aware of a case involving a leak from a bronze/brass compression fitting with a steel crimp on pex. It seems there was enough moisture to 'link' the bronze and steel giving rise to a galvanic action that eventually 'ate' the bronze enough that it failed.

And I agree that crimping steel in place is very different in theory than in practice in tight restricted areas. It can be difficult to ascertain whether it is done as precisely as it needs to be.

I'd go for plastic.
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Old 23-12-2010, 13:41   #9
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This all confirms my thoughts...I think I will go with the plastic compression fittings. Most people are discussing the bronze with crimp on fittings. If I would go with the bronze, I would be putting it on with the expander tool that goes with the This youtube video makes it look great. Anybody use it in their boat?
Thanks -
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Old 24-12-2010, 07:00   #10
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Wow Wirsbo is much easier then the Pex product I have use. I did my entire house in Pex and there were times it was a PITA and that was in a house. This system is much easier. I had to use the expansion tool and then push a steel ring on top of it.
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Old 13-06-2024, 16:01   #11
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Re: Pex Plumbing - Bronze or Plastic Fittings ?

The PEX I use in houses has copper compression rings. I have never seen steel rings. I would go with bronze fittings and copper rings. I never had one fail and pressures on house water supplies in much higher than on a boat. I have used plastic fittings too but someplace in my mind I don't trust them. I would keep a few Shark bite fittings onboard for repairs.
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Old 13-06-2024, 16:52   #12
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Re: Pex Plumbing - Bronze or Plastic Fittings ?

If you use Upanor (formerly wisbro) expander system make sure both the fitting (metal or plastic is fine) and ring is specific to the expander system. Don't use any fitting except those specifically designed for the expander. Make sure the pex is pex-a.

The expander system is used by pros and if you use the correct parts it is essentially bulletproof. The problems happen when people assume well this fitting says pex so any fitting will work. Well no it might not or it might work until it doesn't.
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Old 13-06-2024, 16:57   #13
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Re: Pex Plumbing - Bronze or Plastic Fittings ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KJson View Post
This all confirms my thoughts...I think I will go with the plastic compression fittings. Most people are discussing the bronze with crimp on fittings. If I would go with the bronze, I would be putting it on with the expander tool that goes with the This youtube video makes it look great. Anybody use it in their boat?
Thanks -
Karen
I haven't used it on a boat but I have used it to replumb part of our house and it is a great system.

To avoid confusion though this is not a compression fitting. Compression fitting has a completely different meaning an using that term is likely going to lead to confusion, or even completely wrong advice because people are thinking you are talking about something else.

Wirsbo (now Uponor) is an expander system. As I said in the post above ensure all fitting are designed to work with this system (F1960) and the pex is pex-a. If you don't it might work fine or it might spring a leak in a couple months/years.
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Old 13-06-2024, 21:52   #14
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Re: Pex Plumbing - Bronze or Plastic Fittings ?

I've used both the expander system in my houses and the crimp system in my RV. I prefer the expander system. If you are going to bathe it in salt water, go with the plastic fittings.

I have one sharkbite fitting downstream of a shutoff valve, where I use its swivel capability to screw on a male garden hose. It hasn't leaked in 4 years of use
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Old 15-06-2024, 11:51   #15
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Re: Pex Plumbing - Bronze or Plastic Fittings ?

I plumbed my entire house with regular PEX, mostly plastic fittings and the Sharkbite SS crimp fittings (uses the low cost crimper). Also renovated my son's house. I never had a single one leak. I am impressed buy the pricey Sharkbite push on fittings but my son had one spring a leak right thru the casting.
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