In relocating the hookup for a washer and dryer
I ran into a tricky situation. It was going to require six joints in both the hot and cold lines to maneuver around a beam, go under the joists, and then connect to the existing plumbing
. Not looking forward to trying to sweat copper pipes in a cramped crawl space or cut ten different lengths of copper pipe, I decided to look into using a flexible length of of tubing called cross-linked polyethylene or PEX
I still had to solder a few fittings to put in the coupling to attach the PEX to the copper. The high price of copper is a good reason to give plastic tubing serious consideration for your next plumbing job. After the jump I'll tell you about my first experience working with PEX and a few little tips for you to keep in mind if you ever need to do a remodel and want to work with flexible piping.
I installed a valve
on each copper line with compression fittings. This allows me to isolate the clothes washer under the house in case something I install doesn't work out. I can turn the water to the rest of the house back on while finishing the rest of the job. Then I cut a short length of copper pipe
and soldered a coupling and the barbed coupling on. On the washer end of the system I used the old valve and a length of the copper pipe and just soldered
the coupling and barb to the end.
Cut your tubing with either a special set of cutters or carefully use a utility knife to make a clean cut. Slip the crimp ring onto the PEX and then push the copper barb into the flexible piping. Use a ratcheting crimping tool to close the copper crimp ring onto the barb around the tubing. The store I bought the PEX and fittings from let me borrow the crimping tool -- they run well over $100. Unless you plan on doing a lot of plumbing
try to borrow or rent the crimpers.
It took me less than an hour to wrap up what would have probably taken me about four or five hours and undoubtedly led to at least a few instances where I would have had to re-solder joints. The price was right and I did the job with just one trip to the hardware store! I now have a coil of left over tubing sitting with the assorted copper fittings in the work shop ready for the next time a foundation beam is in the way of my plumbing project. There are pros and cons of both PEX and copper plumbing but this situation the choice was easy -- make the job easy.