I have heard it said that "any fool can use PEX", obviously I am not just any fool. My wife and son had gone away with my mother-in-law to vacation at the beach, being left at home alone to my devices, I decided that due to the age and condition of my copper plumbing that I would re-plumb the entire house with PEX. Now I should probably explain with the deepest humility that I am a Code Enforcement Official and I have been on many job sites where PEX was being installed and used. With all of my knowledge of the field I thought this should be a snap, well... I will leave it at that. After making my initial trip to my local big box hardware, I (first of many mistakes) took the advice of the young man working there, who indicated that he had some plumbing experience, and bought the cheaper of the PEX crimping tools along with all of the supplies I would need to complete the project. Now let me clarify if you have the proper tools and basic knowledge of plumbing PEX is a snap, I roughed in all of my lines in the course of 3 hours, heck I even rerouted a sewer line (which I broke along the way). I was flying through this project with ease on this nice fall Saturday morning. Then I thought to myself, hey you know that water heater is about 12 or 13 years old and as easy as this is I can replace it in a matter of minutes (yeah right). So after another trip to my local big box hardware (trip #4), I had purchased a new water heater which was electric, as I wanted to get rid of my old gas one, and after some help from a friend I had it in and ready to install. I ran the electric and got everything ready to go after many more trips to the hardware. At about 11:30 on Monday night I was finally ready to charge the lines (no, I don't exactly know what I was thinking charging lines at 11:30 at night) so I checked all of my connections and charged the lines, what joy, what a feeling of success, right up until I heard 90% of my connections spraying water everywhere. So I am running around trying to shut off the water and repair all of the connections with my "cheap" tool until 3:00am when through utter exhaustion I gave in and went to bed. I got up about 7:00am and went for literally the 26th time in 3 days to the hardware to get the right tool and the proper crimping clamps. Upon my return home I cut out almost every connection that I had made and replaced them with the new crimps (which actually work), only to find that my kitchen faucet is completely corroded from my hard water. So after another trip to the hardware and replacing the faucet and checking all of my connections one more time I charged the system, SUCCESS! This has been a great learning experience and I took several things away from it: 1. Always use the right tool for the job (even if it costs a few dollars more) 2. There are only two kinds of people who work on plumbing, Plumbers and Fools, and I am not a plumber 3. Don't, DO NOT, under no circumstance, listen to the minimum wage "plumber" at the big box hardware.
P.S. If anyone needs to borrow the right tool for 1/2" PEX I have it.