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Re: Bad Plumbing???
keith3267 wrote:

John, exactly what part of my advice is bad? In fact, what exactly is wrong? Do you put Tee's in PEX pipe? Do you use the stuff? I know quite a few plumbers around here are still resistant to using it, but they are still resistant to anything but copper.

Yes I use PEX along with most of the residential plumbing trade and most of us are using fittings instead of manifolds. In a perfect world copper may be the better choice.
There may be some hold outs but just like when copper drainage was replaced with (PVC or ABS)they can't compete. And if you can't compete you won't be around for long. I have been in this business for a very long time. When I started out I was using cast iron pipe with calked and poured lead joints. If I didn't change I would have lasted for less 4 years instead of 50. What you did wrong is make the statement that you can't use fittings in walls which is totally incorrect. There was for a short period of time a problem with some brass fittings that were made in China that has long sense been corrected. But unless your in the trade you wouldn't have known that.


Re: Bad Plumbing???

sbetterly, I just reviewed the pictures again and I did see a possible big no no in the last picture where it comes through the wall. It looks like it is getting sunlight on sections of the pipe through the deck. Its hard to tell but if it is getting direct sunlight on it, it will degrade rapidly. Diffused light or indirect light is OK.

If it is getting direct sunlight on it, it should be insulated with any type of tube or wrap insulation. If it has had direct sunlight on it for more than thirty days, it probably should be replaced with a new wrapped pipe.

Re: Bad Plumbing???

John, you are correct about the short time, I guess that was when I was looking into using the material. That was the yellow brass fittings which are still not allowed in some places. Red brass is OK.

Quest made some compression fittings that worked like copper compression fittings. These were the ones that I was aware of that leaked and as far as I can tell, are no longer in production. There are still some "press in" fittings (or push in?) made for PEX and they are still banned from use in inaccessible areas in many areas.

http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pex_design_guide.pdf page 23

I got interested in the PEX when I first saw it on a TOH show that still had the original host. Memory does not always serve me well, I forgot his name, but I have watched the show for a long time. It was just being introduced to the US at that time and mostly used in radiant floor heating systems.

I got some PEX for repairs on my home at that time, but the store only carried the pipe and the Quest fittings, the expansion tool used on the show was not available anywhere. I'm not sure that the crimp type used today was even invented then, at least I never saw it anywhere. I saw it later on another TOH project when Steve Thomas was hosting. I think that was when Richard started using it.

Anyway, if I had to re-plumb my house again, I would use the PEX. But I hope I don't have to.

I am not a professional plumber as you have noted, but out of necessity I have done a lot of it and I am pretty good at it. My expertise is not gardening either, but I like it and have been doing it for awhile. My expertise, if you define expertise meaning education and getting paid for it is in electronics and electrical systems and manufacturing systems. BTW, it is in working with maintenance departments in factories that I also got some plumbing experience as well as when I was in the Navy.

Re: Bad Plumbing??? Update on the saga...

Many thanks to all who replied. It was extremely helpful.

I am fine with the pex inside and along the house under the deck. That part gets no direct sunlight. There is, however, a place where the hot and cold come up the wall of the outdoor shower stall and are exposed. It is the south west side of the house; It gets grueling late afternoon direct sun, which comes in through the open top of the stall and strikes the pipes directly for about 2-3 hours. I have called the plumber for the second time asking that he either confirm that the pipe will be ok with that sun exposure and will not break down, or come and replace that section with appropriate pipes. I don't know if the plumber should have asked me about direct sun hitting the pipes or not. Probably he didn't think it would be an issue. But this will be a summer rental, and I need systems to be as reliable as possible.

The plumber came back once already and installed a shut off valve for the hot and restored my shut-off valve for the cold. Why would he remove an existing valve without asking me if I use it? He said we have to have the system blown out with pressurized air anyway, but we drain the outdoor shower lines long before we close the house. He also clamped the part under the deck that was very loopy. I felt we were more likely to get freezing if water sat in those loops.

This was actually the main plumber,s son and I got the impression that he was less than thrilled about plumbing. I think he did everything as easily (for him) as he could. He asked me to call him directly for any follow-up, not to call the main number. He also asked me if I had anything else when he left for the second time. How would I know if something else needs to be addressed? Do I look like a plumber? I imagine he will not be happy to come back again.

Lastly, there is an extra hole in the laundry room ceiling where it looks like he meant to run copper piping instead of running the pex on a curve. I wish he would have used copper since it would have been a cleaner look, but since it is an acceptable method I'll just let it go, as well as the extra hole in the ceiling.

If he had told me what he planned, everything could have been corrected. I couldn't tell him how I wanted it done, because I didn't know the facts, and depended on him. I did not pay for the first return visit and I don't think I should pay for the second, but I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

Kind of embarrasing to call again (I called the main number both times). It made me feel like the customer from hell. But I paid $790 for installation of two toilets that I provided (Toto and Kohler), installing one new faucet on a vanity (again provided by me), and running the hot water to the shower and adding the valve and shower head hardware in the stall (which he provided.) I thought that was a lot of dough. I also noticed that he used the old drain piece on the sink hardware (the thing on the bottom of the sink that goes up and down to hold or drain water. But that was the least of my worries.

Thank you. I am wondering if I am out of line calling him back on the drainage valve issue and the direct sun exposure to the pipe. I hate to pay more but will if it is the fair thing to do....

Re: Bad Plumbing???

The plumber got back to me and said that the specs for PEX say no direct sunlight but he uses it all the time at the beach and never has problems. He told me that he stands by his plumbing and if something goes wrong he will come and correct it. But this is going to be a vacation rental and I don't want the pipes to leak (or whatever). Then I'll get a call and probably have to pay for a repair from the rental agency. Or water will leak all season and my water bill will give me a heart attack.

I'm done with the plumber. What specifically should I put around the pipes to avoid degradation? Some kind of wrap? I also thought of boxing the pipes with some cedar boards or composite decking made into an open-backed box. Maybe that wouldn't look as cheesy as exposed wrapped pipes in the shower.

I will definitely wrap the pipe in the ceiling. The hot water sitting in the pipe will get cold from the AC. Might as well keep it as warm as I can.

Re: Bad Plumbing???

My bad. I just saw that Keith recommended any type of tube or wrap insulation..... I'll get it tomorrow. Still wondering about an open backed box of some sort....

Re: Bad Plumbing???

I'd insulate, but I'd want it to look nice too, so a cedar box surround sounds like a good plan. I'd use screws so that I could get access to the pipes if needed.

Re: Bad Plumbing???

Thanks to everyone. You were all immensely helpful. I hope I remember to consult the forum before the job next time I need a plumber. Collectively, you are a great resource, even when differences of opinion occur.


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