DIY PEX Plumbing

By Todd Fratzel on Plumbing

Do-It-Yourself PEX Plumbing

PEX Manifold DIY PEX PlumbingPEX is cross-linked polyethylene tubing used for both domestic water supply tubing and hot water heating systems. As you can see in this photo our new home was built with PEX tubing for all the hot and cold domestic water supply lines throughout the house.

PEX water lines offer many benefits compared to copper and CPVC piping systems including; better freeze protection, flexible piping allows easier installation, able to withstand high and low temperature extremes, highly resistant to plumbing system chemicals, much quieter compared to rigid piping systems and they are easier and cheaper to install.

Because PEX water supply systems use mechanical connections instead of soldering they are much easier to install for the average DIY or home improvement type of person. Many towns, cities and counties require plumbing systems to be installed by licensed plumbers, however, if your area allows the home owner to do the work you may be able to save some serious money.

How To Install PEX Tubing

Installing PEX water lines is really easy to do, however, you need to be sure you understand all local building codes and general plumbing best practices. If you’re new to plumbing then I recommend you read a good basic plumbing book first like Black & Decker Complete Guide to Plumbing: Expanded 4th Edition – Modern Materials and Current Codes. Once you understand the basic plumbing assumptions for water distribution then you’ll be prepared to install PEX water lines.

PEX water systems are typically installed using a manifold with “home runs” of PEX tubing from each fixture back to the manifold without any fittings. You end up running the PEX much like you wire a house from the breaker panel to each fixture with home runs. Once the PEX is run from each fixture back to the manifold you’ll need to make connections at each location.

Connecting PEX tubing can be done in two approved methods: crimp fittings or outside diameter compression fittings. Crimp fittings are the most widely used and the method I’ll discuss in this article. It’s also extremely important to create clean, square, smooth, bur free cuts to the PEX pipe.

DIY PEX Tools

PEX Oetiker Crimp Tool 150x150 DIY PEX PlumbingIf you’re going to do your own PEX plumbing then you’re going to have to buy some special PEX tools.

Crimping Tool – You’ll need a PEX crimping tool like the: PEX Oetiker Crimp Tool. This crimping tool will allow you to crimp PEX in sizes ranging from 3/8″ to 1″.

Ratchet Tubing Cutter – You need a good quality PEX tubing cutter in order to cut clean, smooth cuts. Ratchet style tubing cutters like the Pro-Point Rachet Tubing Cutter are perfect for making great cuts every time.

PEX Crimp Fittings & Pipe

You’ll also need to buy the PEX pipe and associated fittings. The following are some examples of PEX pipe and fittings that you can buy:

3/4″ RED PEX Piping: PEX Tubing – PART# 41283-3/4″ X 100′ COIL BEST PEX RED
1/2″ BLUE PEX Piping: PEX Tubing – PART# 41280-1/2″ X 100′ COIL BEST PEX BLUE

Stainless Steel Clamps: BEST-PEX Clamps for PEX Tubing – PART# 41118-1/2″PEX STAINLESS STEEL CLAMPS and
BEST-PEX Clamps for PEX Tubing – PART# 41119-3/4″PEX STAINLESS STEEL CLAMPS

PEX Manifold: 36 PORT 1/2″ PEX MANABLOC

DIY PEX Plumbing Summary

Just remember that not all jurisdictions will allow you to do your own plumbing. Installing PEX plumbing systems isn’t very hard but you need to do your homework and be sure you understand pipe sizing, access, and code requirements.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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4 Comments

  1. Michael Dilts says:

    Thanks for those links.Searching for the same from long time.

  2. john little says:

    i want to put entry in my basement from attacted garage. entry door to garage is in place. this my first major home project. i would appreicate any help that i can get.

    thank you
    John

  3. Jeff says:

    Is there a way to stub a “Pex” supply line through an existing wall without cutting out the drywall or, in my case, removing paneling?

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