How to Connect PEX Plumbing Pipe

Unlike copper and galvanized steel, which require soldering smaller parts to transport water to each plumbing fixture, PEX pipes are flexible, making it easy to run into tight spaces. The flexibility also reduces the number of connections, which cuts installation time and costs and reduces the risk for leaks and rust. PEX plumbing pipe is available in a variety of sizes, including one-half inch for supply lines to shutoff valves, allowing you to eliminate the extra connection point.

PEX plumbing pipes expand slightly if they freeze, which helps them resist cracking or bursts and minimizes the damage that can result from freezing and thawing. They’re also quieter than metal pipes, eliminating clanging and other disruptive sounds as the water melts.

There are five different ways to connect PEX pipes: crimp, clamp, push-to-connect, expansion and thermal expansion. Each method has pros and cons, so learn more about each to find the right fit for your next piping project.

The crimping method involves sliding a fitting onto the pipe, positioning it where the ring overlaps with the pipe (the exact location varies by manufacturer) and compressing the ring with a crimp tool until it stops. Pros: Fast and easy to learn, quick to install, maximizes the shape memory of PEX (the pipe and ring are always pressing down on the fitting), larger-ID fitting improves flow, impossible to dry-fit, approved for direct burial in soil as well as concrete, eliminates the need for go/no-go gauges and tool calibration. Cons: Sealing time takes longer in cold weather, requires the use of special tools, downsizes the diameter of the pipe at the connection (diminishes flow) and can be damaged by improper installation or using a miscalibrated crimp tool. pex plumbing pipe

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