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#4657873 - 02/06/18 11:04 AM Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ?
Cressida Offline


Registered: 10/16/02
Posts: 474
Loc: Joplin
I have a house from the 1970's and have found that a long horizontal run of the copper hot water supply pipe is developing some pin hole leaks. I have had two leaks that have been repaired over the past couple of years and see the signs of more problems.

From reading forums this can be from small bit's of iron that come from the hot water tank that settle down on the copper (inside) and corrosion sets up. With enough time, you get a small greenish looking area and eventually a leak.

I can easily get to most of the horizontal run and plan to replace most of it (about 30-40 feet). I plan to have a plumber do the work but don't know if I should ask for copper pipe since all of the supply lines are copper; or let them splice in a long section of PEX, since that seems to be what many are doing now?

Also if you agree that it's OK to go with the PEX, anyone know of the best type of transition fitting to request b/t the copper and PEX? I know there are the "Sharkbits" that are commonly used because they are "cheap" and easy to install. However, I'm not sure they are the best, and most secure fitting and would like to do it right. What fittings should I request if we agree to splice in PEX ?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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#4657874 - 02/06/18 11:07 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
dishdude Offline


Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 8768
Loc: Phoenix
I don't know for sure, but that never stopped me from replying! I think I'd go with PEX so that the line can bend and flex easily and use crimped fittings.
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#4657879 - 02/06/18 11:17 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Rat407 Offline


Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 1437
Loc: North Carolina
Pex is the way to go. Less joints because it can bend and if it is in a freezing are it will hold up better and not crack if water freezes in it.
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#4657883 - 02/06/18 11:18 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Jimzz Offline


Registered: 10/03/14
Posts: 1149
Loc: NoVA
Use the Pex, will work great and is cheaper. Use the cinch install method with the stainless steel rings. 1 tool will work with the 3 most common sizes.

And don't use Snakebites in any place you can't get to easily to inspect and/or replace. Do it right the first time so there is no 2nd time. Solder on a copper to Pex fitting. Use copper stubs for your lines to the toilet and sinks.
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#4657894 - 02/06/18 11:32 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
mk378 Offline


Registered: 09/27/15
Posts: 1421
Loc: USA
PEX is the material of choice. If your water is acidic enough to attack copper pipe you should phase out using copper pipe. This happens with well water.

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#4657904 - 02/06/18 11:39 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Snagglefoot Offline


Registered: 12/31/17
Posts: 1777
Loc: Alberta
Had an old mobile home I used as a cabin. Same phenomenon. The copper pipes were so leaky, the mice were drinking from it. Ripped it all out and went to Pex. The crossovers are no big deal. Ask the plumber what he recommends and don't force him to do something he doesn't recommend. That would be my two cents.

SF

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#4657905 - 02/06/18 11:39 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7476
Loc: Toronto, Canada
PEX should be fine and it's easier to work with in tight spots. Nothing wrong with copper either.
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#4657919 - 02/06/18 11:48 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
WishIhadatruck Offline


Registered: 05/09/06
Posts: 1397
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
I've replaced a lot of my copper with PEX. Not because of an issue with my copper, but because of moving my hot water heater, moving my water softener, adding a bathroom, etc. Sharkbite fittings or similar ones from other brands are easy, but definitely not cheap. I also think there is more risk of a leak down the road due to the o-ring seals. They may outlast the copper however? Nobody really knows. It is much cheaper and would seem more reliable to do what Jimzz said, solder on PEX fittings to the ends of the copper you are leaving in place and then use the crimp rings to hold the PEX to the copper fitting. They are cheap, reliable, and easy if you can solder. If you are hiring a plumber, I would think that is what they will do. I'd ask as I got quotes how they plan to do it. As a do it yourself-er, I prefer the SS crimp rings also because one tool does all the sizes. The tool only needs to access one side of the fitting as well so they work well in tighter spots.
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#4657923 - 02/06/18 11:51 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3052
Loc: NJ
I've had several of those pin hole leaks in my copper water lines. PITA. Had to open up wall and a ceiling to repair. I just spliced in Sharkbites and copper pipe. Never had a pinhole in my basement where I can easily change out the piping.

Copper pipe was extremely expensive a few years ago. Don't know if that's still the case.

You should consider doing the job yourself. Other than about 10 trips back and forth to Home Depot or the plumbing supply shop to get the correct fittings, you should be fine.
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#4657933 - 02/06/18 11:55 AM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2973
Loc: USA
How about the ProPex expansion type fitting?

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#4657947 - 02/06/18 12:05 PM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
PimTac Online   content


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4345
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
Tell your plumber in advance what you want. He just might show up with copper and then gripe about having to go buy PEX.

I agree with going the PEX route.
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#4657955 - 02/06/18 12:23 PM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Win Offline


Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 4448
Loc: Arkansas
I have specified PEX where practical for all of the commercial work I have had done recently, with crimp ring transitions from copper to PEX. None of this has given any trouble, but none of it is very old.

I had an irritating problem with a plumbing inspector who, after the fact, required some sort of bushing around the PEX where it ran through any type of framing material.
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#4657958 - 02/06/18 12:27 PM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: PimTac]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 692
Loc: Toronna
If you want the best, get Uponor fittings. They make ones that are strong enough to be mounted underground.

If it was DIY I would say just solder a new copper pipe on but a pro will have the crimpers so terminate pex so you might as well.
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#4657963 - 02/06/18 12:30 PM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
dbias Offline


Registered: 12/24/14
Posts: 137
Loc: USA
i would go with PEX all the way. I used to have 2 Fourplex apartment buildings with the old Galvinized water pipe in them. Needless to say the day came to replace the water lines in both buildings. i made an access hole cut behind each shower in the bedroom closets, cut the galvanized loose and attached the pex to it with a chinese handcuff clamp, went to the basement and cut the galvanized loose there and began dropping the old pipe and cutting it 5 foot at a time and pulling the pex down with it and once the pex appeared in the basement i simply grabbed it and walked across the basement with it and set it into the water manifolds i set for each apartment. I never dreamed it would pull down from the second floor apartment into the basement so easy but it took about 45 minutes per apartment. After the initial outlay for the compression tool and some compression bands and fittings it was way cheaper and easier than copper. At the time the pex was 1/10th the cost of copper so i was able to do all 8 units for less than the cost of doing 1 in copper.... one note make sure you have about an 18 inch copper section coming out of the water heater on the hot side to protect the pex from the inital blast of hot water.
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#4657967 - 02/06/18 12:33 PM Re: Replace copper supply line with copper or PEX ? [Re: Cressida]
Papa Bear Offline


Registered: 08/11/05
Posts: 7054
Loc: Leamington, ON, Canada ..... r...
I'm old enough to have seen all sorts of problems with plastic plumbing pipe/fittings over the decades (We won't discuss aluminum wiring ... )
Expensive recalls and retrofits.

Type "M" copper would last you another 40 yrs and if you want longer lasting go with "L"
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