PEX pipe has revolutionized the plumbing industry with its flexibility, durability, and ease of installation. However, cutting PEX pipe can be a daunting task for both homeowners and professional contractors alike. Properly cutting PEX pipes is essential to ensure a successful installation and prevent leaks. In this article, we will provide five simple steps to help you cut PEX pipe like a pro.
Before delving into the cutting process, it’s essential to understand the basics of PEX pipe. PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene, a high-density plastic material used for water supply lines, radiant floor heating, and many other plumbing applications. PEX pipe comes in three types: PEX-A, PEX-B, and PEX-C, with varying degrees of flexibility and durability.
Understanding the differences between these types of PEX pipes is crucial in selecting the right pipe for your project.
In the following sections, we will discuss the tools needed for cutting PEX pipe and provide step-by-step instructions on how to cut and install PEX pipes.
- PEX pipes are popular but must be used correctly to prevent leaks
- Cutting PEX pipe can be challenging, but specialized tools and techniques can make it easier
- PEX pipe can be installed using an expander tool and fittings or a PEX crimper
- Additional resources and tips are available for those who need more help with PEX pipe cutting and installation
PEX Pipe Basics
PEX pipes are a popular type of pipe for home use due to their flexibility, durability, and ease of installation. They are resistant to corrosion, freeze damage, and chemical degradation, making them a reliable choice for plumbing and heating systems. However, regular PEX pipes can degrade over time when exposed to hot water or gas, and it is essential to use the correct PEX pipes for their intended purpose.
For instance, red PEX pipes are designed for hot water, blue for cold water, and white for both. Despite the many advantages of PEX pipe over traditional pipes, there are common mistakes to avoid when working with PEX pipe. For instance, PEX pipes for gas lines must be rated for gas use, while PEX pipes for hot water lines must prevent leaks.
Moreover, storing PEX pipes in a cool, dry place is essential to prevent damage. It is also worth noting that color coding isn’t mentioned in the International Plumbing Code (IPC), and it is necessary to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when selecting and installing PEX pipes.
Cutting PEX Pipe
Different tools can be utilized to achieve a clean and straight cut on PEX pipes, the popular type of pipe used for home plumbing systems. When cutting PEX pipe, it is important to use the correct tool to prevent damage to the pipe.
A ratchet-style cutter tool, scissor-type PEX cutter, or utility knife/box cutter can be used to cut PEX pipes. However, a specialized PEX cutter tool is recommended to achieve a clean, straight cut.
When working in tight spaces, using a PEX cutter tool can be challenging. In such situations, it may be necessary to use a utility knife to cut the PEX pipe. To do so, first, measure and mark the pipe for cutting. Then, carefully score the pipe with the knife, being sure not to cut too deeply. Finally, snap the pipe at the scored line.
It is important to note that this method may not provide as clean of a cut as a specialized PEX cutter. Overall, choosing the best PEX cutter and following tips for cutting PEX pipe in tight spaces can make the process easier and more efficient.
Installing PEX Pipe
The installation of PEX pipe can be achieved using various tools and techniques, including the use of an expander tool and fittings or a PEX crimper to fix leaks at connections.
An expander tool is a specialized tool that can be used to expand the PEX tube and insert a fitting into the pipe. This technique is commonly used for smaller diameter pipes and can create a secure and leak-proof connection.
On the other hand, a PEX crimper can be used to crimp the PEX pipe and fitting together, creating a tight seal. This method is commonly used for larger diameter pipes and can help prevent leaks at connections.
PEX pipe insulation is also an important factor to consider during the installation process. Insulating PEX pipes can help prevent freezing and cracking during cold weather conditions. This can be especially important for pipes that are located in unheated areas such as attics or crawl spaces.
Additionally, insulation can help prevent heat loss from hot water pipes, which can improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. When installing PEX pipe, it is important to choose the appropriate insulation for the specific application and to follow manufacturer guidelines for proper installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can PEX pipes be used for outdoor applications?
PEX pipes are not recommended for outdoor use due to their sensitivity to UV rays and vulnerability to freezing temperatures. However, PEX pipe advantages include flexibility, ease of installation, and resistance to corrosion and scaling. Disadvantages of using PEX outside include potential damage from weather conditions and the need for additional insulation.
What is the maximum temperature that PEX pipes can handle?
The heat resistance of PEX pipes varies depending on the type of pipe used. Generally, PEX pipes can handle temperatures up to 200°F, while some specialized pipes can withstand up to 250°F. It is important to use the correct PEX pipe for hot water lines to prevent leaks.
Is it necessary to use a specific type of PEX cutter for cutting PEX pipes?
When cutting PEX pipes, it is recommended to use a specialized PEX cutter for a clean and straight cut. Common mistakes to avoid include using a dull blade or incorrect type of cutter. Types of PEX cutters to consider include ratchet-style, scissor-type, and PEX crimp ring cutters.
Can PEX pipes be connected to copper pipes?
Connecting PEX and copper pipes is possible using various fittings, but each option has its pros and cons. PEX fittings are easy to install and less expensive, but copper fittings have better longevity and may be required by local regulations or codes for certain applications.
How do you properly dispose of PEX pipes?
Recycling options for PEX pipes vary by location and may include curbside recycling, special recycling programs, or disposal in a landfill. PEX pipes have a low environmental impact due to their recyclability and minimal use of resources.