For numerous decades, galvanized steel has been the standard material used for plumbing. Yet, because of the steel’s heavy weight and tendency to disintegrate over time, copper replaced it in the long run. In the plumbing industry, copper remains widely-used today, although plastics are now similarly common. PEX or cross-linked polyethylene piping has specifically become popular in commercial facilities, residential spaces and industrial warehouses.
Many good reasons why PEX piping has become favored by many, including licensed plumbers and contractors. For today’s article, PEX piping will be showcased, including its applications, advantages, and basic installation methods..
What is PEX Piping?
The invention of PEX plumbing pipes had been a significant revolution in the entire industry. It has made the installation of the latest plumbing systems much easier and less costly in comparison to the previous installations. PEX pipes are entirely different from PVC pipes. Before the rise of PEX, PVC pipes are the leading type of plastic used for plumbing. It is the kind of material that does not require glue in its joints. It is less likely to burst out during the freezing season.
PEX tubing is identified as a plastic material utilized for water supply piping systems. This particular product offers numerous advantages over PVC, copper, and even galvanized plumbing pipes. PEX is very easy to install and has outstanding flexibility compare to rigid pipes. Also, it offers long-term durability and higher heat-resistance. The polyethylene material is processed and created so that it becomes highly resistant to:
· Creep deformation due to more prolonged and excessive exposure to stress
· Chemical attack from alkalis, acids, and the like
· Extreme temperatures, either hot or cold
Applications for PEX Plumbing Pipes
PEX plumbing pipe was first developed way back in the 1960s. It has been widely accepted by all significant building and plumbing codes in the U.S. However, some local regulations, which are the primary law in specific areas, might have been giving a set of restrictions or additional requirements for PEX installations. The standard method for installing PEX pipes is to have it joined with unique metal crimp rings and barbed fittings that are much secured.
Only the licensed plumbers are allowed to check the crimped rings using a “go/no go” tool. Using this type of tool, plumbers can easily confirm the right diameter for every crimped ring. Also, PEX piping is so easy to cut or divide using a tubing cutter. Listed below is where PEX piping best used:
· Portable distribution systems or water supply lines
· Heating applications for radiant floors
· Heat transfer applications like snow melting, floor cooling, and even permafrost protection.
· Water distribution specifically for hot water applications including a radiator
· Fire/sprinklers systems for residential settings
Furthermore, other applications for the utilization of PEX are multipurpose fire systems. Most of the service plumbers often repair cracked, splitting, or leaking copper and PVC systems with PEX. The outside diameter is similar to PVC and copper. With special fittings, it is more likely easier to make different transitions to PEX pipes.
Advantages of Using PEX Plumbing Pipes
There are several advantages that PEX plumbing has offered compare to raw plumbing pipe materials used before. The pipes are made with various resilient and flexible materials. Hence, it is stronger and has a high resistance to breakage, usually caused by freezing. While flexibility has made PEX much easier to install, PEX tubes can be bent and curve around any structural framing obstacle. Bends in the PEX tubing can further eliminate the requirement for many elbows or other unnecessary transition fittings. It saves both installation time and costs, which is very beneficial.
In other words, plumbers can only wind PEX on the entire floors and walls with an uninterrupted, continuous pipe until its final connection. Below are some of the advantages of PEX:
· It is applicable both for cold and hot water.
· Adaptable and easy-to-use in the plumbing system
· Can be utilized with PVC and metal piping
· It is proven to be burst-resistant because of its flexibility to contract and expand.
· In each supply line, PEX has a shutoff valve, making it more convenient during plumbing repairs.
· It can develop a balanced pressure system.
· It can be bent around on any corners and doesn’t need a fitting or coupling.
· Much safer whenever there are natural disasters
· High-resistance in corrosion compared to other materials.
· Better water pressure because fewer fittings are used
· Less likely to freeze because PEX has properties to expand and some insulation factors
· There will be less chance to fire once it is installed and repaired.
Construction Scheduling Solutions to Fast-Track Plumbing Projects: A Guide
If you are currently in a plumbing contracting business, you already know that the industry is moving too quickly over time. Hence, beneficial and practical construction management is becoming a vital part of any projects’ execution. Fast-tracking plumbing projects, plumbing installations, and other plumbing services are common, yet the timelines for each can be tight, and there are gaps in between lines. In order to meet the hastening timelines, all participating crews in the project have to do their respective obligations on point and with precision. As a project leader, you have to know that even minor setbacks cause the project timeline, budget, and even activity duration to run over in severe consequences.
So what precautions can you put into place in order to avoid these consequences from happening? Below are the six practical and helpful tips for effective project management.
1. Ramp up Project Management System
When timelines will be aggressive and working with various teams are pressuring, the right project management scheme is an excellent implementation. There are emerging advanced technologies today designed for better and effective project management. It is considered a lifesaver by most, including project leaders, contractors, and business owners. It enables the entire team to remain at the top of everything, starting from work orders to estimates.
2. Consider Pre-Fabricated parts
If you have the option to reuse some standard designs as a major holder of a role in the project, then proceed with it. There are various prefabricated parts available and accessible in the market today. Using these parts can reduce installation time. Plumbing contractors who lead the team can start searching for a reliable manufacturer. With prefab parts, the crew can start the plumbing projects and installations much earlier, and it can also limit prolonging activity duration.
3. Anticipate many bumps in the roads
Think further and plan meticulously for possible interruptions in the project workflow. Project management software is converted as a mobile application today. Everybody in the industry has found it very convenient because they are not bothered to bring laptops anymore. All files and data related to work can be fully accessed anywhere and anytime.
4. Go Paperless
With the benefits and continuous advancement of many technologies today, including cloud computing, businesses are at ease. Everything can be processed quickly with no papers involved, from creating estimates, listing down resources to tracking down crew and labor. That is what everyone labeled as the “paperless trend.”
5. Prioritize Communication
To fast-track plumbing projects, ongoing communication is essential between teams involved. Everyone has to stay in the loop; otherwise, any part of the project can crumble. Keep everybody informed, particularly the stakeholders, about any updates and changes made in the project. It is essential to do the job effectively. Also, mobile apps intended for project management play a huge role in every process.
It allows everyone to share activities as well as the data and information acquired from doing it. Real-time data is stored because mobile apps are designed with cloud-based features. Cloud storage is the new trend today, and a good thing that project management solutions entail with this feature.
Ways to Install PEX Plumbing Pipes
A PEX pipe can be directly installed at any given location for as long as the area is suitable. Plumbers have to start counting the number of sites and fixtures. For sites, make sure that there is both cold and hot water, including outdoor fixtures and ice makers. PEX pipes include a plate used for clasping the unit to a surface area or walls. For obtaining the best results, the following tips should be applied:
· Install the pipes close to any water heaters to reduce heat loss.
· Make sure the pipes have enough ports and determine each of them during installation.
· Install shutoff valves to ensure that there will be enough rooms to operate all of the valves.
· Never install the manifold closer than 20 inches.
· The majority of PEX manufacturers usually have their own joining methods and mechanical fitting. Hence, only use tools and materials exclusively approved by the manufacturers.
· Include extra ports on the PEX pipes for future expansion. Also, cap off any identified unused ports.
· For higher-flow purposes, use ½ -inch piping. For lower-flow ones, use 3/8-inch piping.
· Run the PEX piping directly to the desired spot/location.
All of the above-cited information has made PEX a great piping material for cold and hot water systems, mainly because of its flexibility and adaptability in ever-changing temperatures. PEX plumbing pipes are easy for plumbers in terms of installation. Above all, it provides fewer joints, which are bringing the costs down.