Many plumbers believe that working with PEX tubing is simpler than using copper, PVC, or other common types of pipe. PEX connections don't require soldering or glue, and the tubing can easily be maneuvered through tight spaces. These features make PEX tubing ideal for radiant heating applications, but it also makes PEX a great option for your entire plumbing system. To install PEX plumbing in your home, follow these steps.
1. Install the plumbing manifold in a central location in your basement or utility closet. Connect both the main cold water feed and the hot water feed from the water heater to the plumbing manifold. PEX pipe can be used to make these connections, or it may be simpler to tie into any existing plumbing lines in your house.
TIP: For larger homes, using a system of several smaller plumbing manifolds may be more cost effective. However, one main manifold is the preferred option for smaller homes that have only two bathrooms.
2. Run the cold water lines. Start by attaching one end of a piece of blue PEX tubing to the end of the manifold. To attach the tubing to the manifold, install a compression manifold adapter to the end of the tube. To complete this step, slide the adapter nut onto the tube first. Then slide on the ring. Next, push the insert into the end of the pipe, and slide the adapter nut and ring over the fitting. Use a wrench to tighten the nut. Finally, attach the adapter at the end of the PEX tube to one of the manifold's cold water outlets.
3. Next, run the tubing from the manifold to the correct appliance or faucet in your home. Drill any necessary holes through joists and studs, and feed the PEX tubing through these holes. If possible, run each line as a single piece of PEX tubing with using any connections.
4. Cut off any excess PEX tubing once you've run the pipe to the correct water fixture. Allocate six extra inches of tubing before making the cut, so it's easier to connect to the nearby fixture. Use a PEX cutting tool to make a clean cut.
5. Attach the end of the tubing to the plumbing fitting you are using. To attach the tubing to the fitting, slide a compression ring over the end of tubing and place the tubing over the end of the fitting. Make sure the tubing fully covers the end of the fitting, and the compression ring is approximately ¼ inch from the end of the tubing. Use a PEX crimp tool to apply pressure to the compression ring and create the connection.
6. Run the hot water lines using the same techniques used to install the cold water lines. Consider using red tubing for hot water instead of blue tubing, so the lines are easily distinguishable from one another.