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Old 02-19-2019, 07:15 PM   #1
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Replacing PEX Fittings Question

This is my first time working with PEX. I have received new PEX tools and was going to add some shutoff valves to the hot water line drain (there is that screw on cap there now) and the line to the toilet. Will probably add valves to the other fixtures also.

I was thinking about replacing some of the plastic fittings with brass over time and wanted to know if there would be a good seal if I just removed the existing cinch clamp and installed a new clamp in the same location without cutting the pipe. It might be best if I just trimmed the pipe and start fresh, but I am concerned there would not be enough slack in the pipe.

Some expert advice would be appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:19 PM   #2
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normally to get the crimp ring off a fitting you need to cut the PEX as close as possible to the fitting and then use a crimp ring removal tool. Myself if there isn't enough play I just add some PEX with a straight fitting to the existing pipe.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PoppySteve View Post
This is my first time working with PEX. I have received new PEX tools and was going to add some shutoff valves to the hot water line drain (there is that screw on cap there now) and the line to the toilet. Will probably add valves to the other fixtures also.

I was thinking about replacing some of the plastic fittings with brass over time and wanted to know if there would be a good seal if I just removed the existing cinch clamp and installed a new clamp in the same location without cutting the pipe. It might be best if I just trimmed the pipe and start fresh, but I am concerned there would not be enough slack in the pipe.

Some expert advice would be appreciated.
If your pex lines are anything like the ones in my trailer you will probably find it difficult if not impossible to remove the fittings from the pipe without cutting a slit to relieve the "grip" the pipe will now have on the fitting. When I removed the clamps on mine to move the water pump the pipe was gripping the fitting so tight I couldn't even turn it in the pipe.

I'd just start with a handful of clamps, the fittings you need, and a length of pipe. Trying to save a short piece of pipe will only cause you to cuss a lot and learn some new words in the process.

FWIW, if everything is working and no leaks I wouldn't change the "Plastic" fittings. If the ones in my Trailer are any indication they're pretty strong as is. Granted I like brass better myself but if it's working sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone. If you are modifying or relocating a component that's a different story.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:28 PM   #4
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normally to get the crimp ring off a fitting you need to cut the PEX as close as possible to the fitting and then use a crimp ring removal tool. Myself if there isn't enough play I just add some PEX with a straight fitting to the existing pipe.
A pair of diagonal cutters did a great job removing the rings I needed to remove. Rather than trying to cut the crimped "nipple" off which was my first inclination I just used the "dikes" to unlatch the ring where it was joined with a barb. FWIW, that's what the directions on the bag of replacement rings showed to remove rings too. Anything that can be worked under the end of the "strap" and lift it off the barb will work.
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Old 02-19-2019, 07:46 PM   #5
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Your idea of adding shutoff valves is great. They will come in handy at some point as they have on my fiver. You have two ideas that are not so great, not trimming the PEX where the old fitting was, and replacing the plastic fittings as time goes along. On just one connection, cut the PEX off where the old fitting was secured and split that short stub so you can see the inside. The original fitting made grooves in the ID of the PEX that may cause a new connection to seep no matter how good a crimp you made. There's nothing wrong with plastic fittings as thousands of us have them in our RV's without giving them a second thought. If you do install a brass fitting and have to add PEX to make things connect right … you've just added another joint for potential issue.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:19 PM   #6
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The original fitting made grooves in the ID of the PEX that may cause a new connection to seep no matter how good a crimp you made.

dieselguy, this makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppySteve View Post
This is my first time working with PEX. I have received new PEX tools and was going to add some shutoff valves to the hot water line drain (there is that screw on cap there now) and the line to the toilet. Will probably add valves to the other fixtures also.

I was thinking about replacing some of the plastic fittings with brass over time and wanted to know if there would be a good seal if I just removed the existing cinch clamp and installed a new clamp in the same location without cutting the pipe. It might be best if I just trimmed the pipe and start fresh, but I am concerned there would not be enough slack in the pipe.

Some expert advice would be appreciated.
Since having a recent freeze issue with a PEX fitting I have added valves to the washing machine lines. This spring more to follow. From what I am seeing the PEX fitting are the weak link in the piping system. I always carry a 5ft length of both blue and red PEX as well as a spare fitting or two, and of course the clamps. As an old Navy man I subscribe to the idea that every connection is a potential source of leak so I keep new valves to a minimum.
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Old 02-19-2019, 10:35 PM   #8
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Recognize that there are two types of PEX fitting, rings and clamps. Easy way to tell the difference - rings are smooth all the way around. Clamps have an "ear". Only way to remove a ring is to cut it with something like a Dremel. You can use a side cutter to clip the ear on a clamp to enable spreading the clamp to remove.


Every professional site I looked at before doing my first work with PEX required removal the part of the PEX tube that was over the old fitting. So reuse without cutting at your own risk.


I suspect there is very little difference in reliability of plastic vs brass fittings. Any vibration or strain going on will probably be absorbed by the pipe.


Other than the actual color, there is no physical difference between red/blue/white PEX. Color only helps differentiate between hot and cold water runs.
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Old 02-20-2019, 12:12 AM   #9
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as a working plumbing and hot water heat contractor new construction only

i will say everybody uses pex pipe and plastic fittings these days

the system has to withstand a 100 psi air pressure test for inspection
i have never had a plastic fitting fail on me
the crimp fitting is the weakest link infact the pipe when frozen will expand in diameter like a hot dog
where as brass or plastic fittings will separate from the pipe
so like others have suggested i would leave the pex fittings well alone
unless you want to add shut offs
but remember for every fitting you add to the system this reduces water pressure due to more pipe restriction
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Old 02-20-2019, 01:48 PM   #10
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Get Sharkbite fittings from Home Depot or Lowes
https://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBite-3-4-in-Brass-Push-to-Connect-PVC-IPS-x-CTS-Conversion-Coupling-UIP4016A/206353615
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