Cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, is a bendable plastic piping toughened by a special chemical process that strengthens the polyethylene. Because of its ability to withstand a wide range of temperatures (subfreezing to 180 degrees F), it is quickly gaining popularity as a supply pipe for residential plumbing.
Connecting PEX is relatively easy because of its flexibility that allows it to follow corners. Two common ways of connecting PEX are by using crimp rings with a compression tool and push to connect technology. Compression requires tools and some understanding of how to compress the crimp ring to make a firm connection. Quick Connect Fittings require no special tools or plumbing experience.
Without some experience in using crimp rings to compress a tight connection, you may find that compression is not the solution for you. It is extremely important that the crimp ring is not under or over tightened when compressing it to the tubing. Both can cause leaks which will require reinstallation and cutting (perhaps complete replacement) of the tubing.
Steps to Connect PEX with Crimp Fittings:
After cutting, cleaning, and marking the tubing, slip a crimp ring over the smooth end.
Slot in the barbed end of the fitting into the PEX tube until it is secure against the cut edges. Then you will need to place the crimp ring so it is 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch from the end of the pipe, covering the barbed end of the fitting, and then tighten the fitting by hand for positioning.
Finally, line up the jaws of a full-circle crimping tool over the crimp ring and compress the handles together to tighten the ring. If the connection was not made properly, it will require cutting of the tube, since the tubing will be damaged by the crimp.
When installing PEX tubing with ProBite ® push connect fittings, you will need to cut the PEX tubing, clean it, and mark it just as you would with preparing for any other method of fitting connection. However instead of having to use crimp rings and special tools, you can simply push the fitting onto the PEX tubing until it reaches your mark and snaps tight. The fitting will make a tight leak free connection in seconds and you don't need to worry about under or over tightening.
PEX 's flexibility and strength at temperatures which range from below freezing up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit makes it an ideal piping material for hot and cold water plumbing systems, hydronic radiant heating systems, service lines, snow melting applications, ice rinks and refrigeration warehouses.