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Comparing Pex

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by headrc, Sep 9, 2008.

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  1. headrc

    headrc New Member

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    I am being approached with the idea that all pex is created equal as long as it meets the standards that are set ....specifically the gentleman I am working with on installing my system has recommended RHT pex from Blueridge. It is a pex that meets all the standards the other well known pex brands have met but it is made in China and costs about half as much. Blueridge also has manifolds under this brand name as well that are also made in China I am sure. Anyone have opinions on these products ......is there really a big difference .....the "old you get what you pay for syndrome" .....or is it good quality that I can rely on for a long time? If you are not familiar with Blueridge ...here is a link

    http://www.blueridgecompany.com/


    They are helpful and do have good pricing. However, I do not want to be having materials problems with my system 4-5 years from now. This stuff has a 25 year warranty ....but it would be no fun replacing it even if I did get new materials under warranty.


    Thx, RH

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  2. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    there are two major ways of making pex- one involves adding compounds such as peroxide during the blending/ extrusion, in order to get the hydrocarbon chains of the polyethelene molecules to cross-link (Engel method, also known as pex-a)

    and the other one of which involves exposing the stuff to high intensity radiation as it is being made in final form, and which is less consistent in the uniformity and density of cross-chain molecular bonds, and in any event, yields a less resilient end product

    the first is more expensive to make, but yields a much more consistent and high quality product.

    the second is less expensive to make, and, well, you can fill in the rest

    I'd never use anything other than certified pex-a/ engel method for high temp/ pressure. I lean towards overkill in such things, but as you say, who wants to even think of the possible need to pull it apart & re-do during your foreseeable lifespan

    any warranty for any future period is only as good as your confidence that the vendor/ wholesaler/ ultimate manufacturer supply chain will ALL be around, in business, and not have declared bankruptcy between now and the expiration of the warranty. otherwise, it is a matter of trying to get blood from a stone, which is even harder than usual with overseas stones... some of whom may be more scrupulous than others in the consistency between what they claim and what they sell

    I am not trying to "slam" any products or vendors or nationalities that you mention- just from what I have heard from some people who've gone to China to possibly have stuff made under subcontract, it sounds like a total Wild West of competing end-makers and even varying standards from one sub-to-sub-to-sub contractors. Unless you have a major Co with a lot to lose at the top of that food chain, and who is monitoring ( and with the resources to frequently and consistently monitor ) all the stages below so that their big name does not get besmirched, who knows what you, as the end consumer, may end up with as a final product, or if it will even be the same actual product that someone else received under the same brand name some short time earlier.

    I don't drive any sort of premium/ status vehicle- never have- but do tend to believe the old ("too poor to buy cheap") aphorism that the only way to waste more money than buying the status stuff is to buy the "too good to be true" discount stuff
  3. headrc

    headrc New Member

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    Thx for the detailed response...so do you know what is the the silane cross-linking method used on this RHT pex (similar to Zurn Pex and Watts RadiantPEX)? And it is called Pex-B .....is that designation that I should look for ...Pex-A being the method that you describe as superior? Also ...if anyone can help here what should I look out for on manifolds? Thanks again! RH
  4. headrc

    headrc New Member

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    I should have asked as well ...what about Pex-Al-Pex .....are the same concerns there and differnet methods of manufcaturing this product? Again thank you ...RH
  5. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    OK, I supplement my prior comments with this additional info-

    Engel is pex-a, Silane is pex-b, and irradiation is pex-c

    see http://www.ppfahome.org/pex/historypex.html

    those like Zurn who use the "silane" pex B method seem to claim that it is better- see

    http://www.2hsc.com/residential/manufacturers/zurn/sections/pex.html

    [the irradiation-dependent pex-c is clearly inferior)

    seems like it's one of those things that each maker claims its stuff is the best- and the owners and users probably think that whatever they own or first became familiar with is best (the ford/ chevy/ dodge/ toyota pickup truck thing...)
  6. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I don't know any real details on how the pex-al-pex is made.

    my instincts are that since it's seemingly some sort of laminate, I'd want to be extra sure that it is made under strict quality control, so that there are not variations in the thickness of , or bond between, the several layers

    there's also DIN-rated non-al oxygen barrier pex, which apparently depends on an outer chemical layer, but again, I don't know the details
  7. headrc

    headrc New Member

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    So does anyone know about LK Pex in Europe ....supposedly the the second largest manufacturer of Pex using the Engel method ...which makes it Pex-A? They make this product:

    http://www.plumbinggoods.com/Categories.asp?cID=355&brandid;=

    I would bet this is who is also making the Mr. Pex as well. This begs the question now is all Pex-A created equal?

    Thx,

    RH
  8. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    anything I've been able to find out about the ThermaPex has all been positive.

    supposedly the founder of ThermaPex's manufacturer was previously heavily involved in Wirsbo, one of the earliest and most established pex makers

    http://www.thermapextubing.com/whythermapex.asp
  9. headrc

    headrc New Member

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    I wonder if their manifolds etc. are also manufactured in Europe?
  10. stokes79

    stokes79 Member

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    To answer your original question, I am currently installing RHT pex, and have three of their stainless manifolds, my plumbing buddies were impressed with the manifolds and I have the slab one setup right now off of a hotwater heater. I did Wirsbo aquapex for my domestic water and to actually tell you the truth the RHT seems "tougher" the aquapex shaved when pulling through holes, the RHT I was nervous about for my concrete pour until I turned a hammer around and hit a piece of pex as hard as I could about seven times and couldn't crack it. Anyways the concrete pour went fine with lots of people walking on the stuff and I am currently stapling the 1/2" to the underside of my subfloor, lots more work than tying to remesh. Don't have any idea on the longterm of this product but then nobody can because it is new. In my town, everyone is going to Viega pex because of the connection method, they don't seem to care about the track record or history, before that wirsbo was the norm, but there is a lot of extra messing around with the fittings than with the new viega stuff anyways I figured for drinking water to pick the longest standing pex so I got wirsbo
  11. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I don't know... in actuality, a lot of the Wirsbo stuff that I've bought for use for a number of projects (tubing, manifolds, valves and fittings,) have, to my very pleasant surprise, been made in USA and/ or Canada.

    I am not a total "buy USA or die" type, but between the importance of keeping manufacturing jobs and infrastructure here, plus the fact that more of a $ spent on domestically-made products is likely to go into the pockets of the workforce (not on shipping or middlemens' mark-ups), and be circulated back through our own local and national economies, I am always very glad to buy domestic and Canada made items if the price is even in the ballpark. And also, USA/Canada/Euro stuff is more likely to be made under conditions that aren't horrid for workers or byproducts entering the environment. A friend of mine who was in the plumbing wholesale business took a work-related trip about 5 years ago to some city in China that is apparently the hub of brass and bronze plumbing-fitting foundries and manufacturing there, and he said (and he's a pickup-truck-driving, American-canned-beer-drinking kinda guy, not some environmental radical) that you could barely fully see the sun at noon, with all the brown smog. I'm not into buying into that kind of low price product stream, at least whenever I can help it.
  12. headrc

    headrc New Member

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    This is a reply I got from Mr. Pex himself ...kinda nice to hear back from the top guy:

    "Our Brass Manifolds are manufactured in Italy, and our Stainless Steel Manifolds are from Germany.

    Compression Fittings and similar are made in China.

    The PEX Tubing comes from Sweden.


    Best Regards,

    Mr PEX Systems - A Division of Safelink Systems, Inc.


    Tomas Lenman - Mr PEX

    President"
  13. herbert

    herbert New Member

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    the guy i bought my Taylor stove from (still trying to find someone to install it) said he would never use pex he would only use Kytec . What is the advantage of one over the other ?
  14. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    Kytec is some kind of interesting specialized PVDF plastic, and although it sounds like interesting stuff for some extreme laboratory conditions, I don't think it's commercially made or sold for use in heating systems.

    I came to be a "pex believer" (having previously thought that only copper was worth using) only after being given a scrap sample of Wirsbo PEX-a in 1999 that I then torture tested with hammers, vises, clamps, blowtorches, stretching by come-along, etc. (...call me the PEX Torquemada :) ...) and to my total surprise, I was dumbstruck at its ability to withstand ridiculous conditions without failure.

    If you buy decently made pex and install it correctly in a properly designed system, it will withstand anything short of an Act of God.

    So I think your stove vendor is ... misinformed... :) ... ?
  15. herbert

    herbert New Member

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    What is the consensus on sharkbite fittings? I know it is expensive but it sure looks conveinent and easy to use
  16. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I have not used them myself, but might soon, and, so far, have heard, from opinions of people who I respect, nothing but unanimously decent things about them, as long as you take cost out of the equation.
  17. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Pex-A is the original method and I feel it's still the most consistent quality wise.

    Kitec is used in lot's of heating systems. There's a big apartment complex, in Seattle I believe, that is experiencing significant failures of the product as we speak. I haven't heard any details lately but I will check it out. I would not use it with mechanical compression fittings as I have seen plenty of them leaking badly after a few years.

    As far as the ASTM numbers on pex tubing are concerned, all they refer to is the actual dimension of the tubing itself. They mean nothing about the quality of the tube.
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