PEX pipe connection, PEX fitting systems

Are You Choosing The Right PEX Pipe Connection Options For Your Plumbing Projects?

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

We’re continuing our focus on the plumbing trade in this educational how-to video series. It’s surprising how often we encounter less-than-ideal plumbing hardware in new home construction and renovation projects. In an effort to save money, many are turning to subpar products that, based on my experience, can fail early in the lifespan of a property. Trust me, water leaking in your walls, attics, and under your floors is the last thing you want. Water is indeed the number one destroyer of houses when failures occur.

Most building inspectors don’t check the quality of the plumbing hardware used; they only ensure it’s installed in the correct locations. Shockingly, I’ve seen replica piping used to imitate better brands, and good piping and hardware replaced with inferior alternatives after building inspections. Such is the willingness of some builders to cut costs.

The primary points of failure are typically the connections. However, I’ve seen pipes fail because they weren’t adequately protected from punctures. In one instance, I saw an electrician place a hot halogen bulb on a cheap piping system, which melted the pipe in seconds and caused water to spray all over the attic. It caused quite a commotion!

So, my advice is not to skimp on quality plumbing hardware and hot water systems. It may cost more upfront, but it could save you significant expenses in the long run.

Now, let’s hand it over to Matt Risinger and Eric Aune, who will be discussing PEX plumbing pipes and connection systems.

PEX Pipe Connection Options: Choosing the Best for Your Project

Video Transcript

On the Build Show today, five flavors of PEX piping with Master Plumber Eric Aune. All right guys, I got Eric on intel. Eric, I’ve been working out. I’m feeling a little stronger than normal. Settle down man!

All right, so Eric, we see a PEX fitting right here. Yep, and there’s more than one option for PEX fittings. There’s actually five flavors, right? Yeah, you know, we see a lot of them out in the industry. This one, in particular, is made. This is a brass fitting female adapter, but it’s got a stainless steel press-like collar ring on the end of it. Gotcha.

So how about this, how about we go back to the studio, Eric? We’ll actually roll out all five of the fitting options which show these guys the tools, and let’s talk about the options out there. I think this is going to be a terrific video. If you’re building a custom home, if you’re a builder, or even if you’re a young plumber, five flavors of PEX, I’ll meet you back in the studio.

Okay, y’all’re back at the studio. I’ve got Master Plumber Eric Anie with me, and on this video, we’re going to run down all five connection options on PEX. I’m really intending this as a builder advice video. If you’re building a house, here’s the different options. And I’m going to try and get Eric to give us a little, uh, kind of pros and cons on each one of these systems. So that being said, let’s start at the first of the five connection options. Where do we start, Eric?

Well, it’s just kind of the agnostic, uh, known as a major brand in the industry, but we’re going to call it push-to-connect, right? P to connect, that’s technically what it is. It’s often times called a Sharkbite. Yeah, they were the first brand that came out with this type of connection, right?

Exactly. And now all the major manufacturers offer it’s pretty cool stuff, to be completely honest with you. Ooor has it as well. They came out with this not too long ago. Yeah, brand new, couple other brands, yep. But the whole idea here is there’s no tool necessary, right? Very little tool tools, okay.

So there are a couple of things that you do need for a push-to-connect fitting. Uh, all the manufacturers are going to say you need some type of gauge to mark your tubing to show an insertion depth thing. So I know we had a marker around here. Oh, here I got a Sharpie in my, uh, go check this out. Cool Sharpie, there you go, brother. Oops, wrong side. I like, I like to say, man, you fancy. Okay, so I do need to mark the insertion depth onto the tubing, okay?

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And then, oh, c’mon, very appropriate fitting for me to have in my, that’s what I thought, my van, there. So now it hits that line. If push it all the way in, that that fitting and the seal is being made by a rubber o-ring and some, the it’s holding onto the pipe with a stainless steel kind of grip ring. So when this system came out, how long’s it been now? 15 years ago, maybe? At least, maybe even longer.

I always thought of it as a kind of transition cuz if you look at the bag, not this one, but some of these bags will say, uh, works with PEX, copper, CPVC, and per, which kind of looks like PEX pipe but it’s slightly different.

So in other words, this one fitting can work with all kinds of different pipes. And so I thought of it as like an emergency or, you know, I got a cap something. Yep. But today, we’re seeing builders, especially new construction, new construction plumbers even using PTC in the whole house, right?

They are. It’s common all over the world too, so not as much in North America. We’re starting to see more of it. Look, the fittings are a little bit more expensive than these other fittings. They are. So because it lowers the barrier of entry, right? You don’t need any real elaborate special training in order to, uh, assemble it, and you don’t need an expensive tool like you’re going to see with some of the other ones, right? Exactly.

And so it’s, it’s pretty simple, right? The other thing is, um, look, it hasn’t been really accepted by all the professionals in the industry. You know, skepticism. These fittings carry all the same rating is the rest of them on the table: pressure, temperature, working operating pressures, things like that.

They are, by all accounts, maybe you could see the hesitation. I don’t love to admit it, but they, they meet all the same standards. Yeah, right. It’s just a little bit easier. It’s a great product. DIY, I don’t know, personally, if I would use this to plumb an entire house, and here’s why: expensive. Yeah, like the fittings themselves. I do already own tools that allow me to use other, sure, fittings systems that are lower cost and just as reliable.

All right, so, uh, the bottom line in this is two things, I’d say, uh, we often call these Sharkbite fittings. That’s kind of the Kleenex brand. They were the first to market. It is interesting that they have been innovating too, though. They have the Sharkbite Max out now that I saw, uh, when I was buying fittings, and, uh, I’ll leave that for another video. But, uh, they’ve innovated a lot.

I think in general, PTC’s come a long ways. But it’s definitely not, uh, a common occurrence in new construction, at you know, you brought up, I want, I do want to backtrack a little bit. You brought up early on with this discussion here, the transition between different materials. Yeah, that’s actually how I use them, uh, without shame.

If I, we see a lot of, uh, CPVC from the late ’90s, early 2000s new construction in the Twin Cities area, and I, it’s not my favorite material to work with, and I’m not stocking that that material on, in my shop or on my van. So transitioning over to something like PEX or even copper, depending what we’re doing to CPVC, push-to-connect is fantastic for that, makes a lot of sense. Yeah, okay.

Next up, we’ve got, uh, expansion PEX, or what we a lot of professionals are going to call “PEX a”. PEX a, uh, there’s some brand names out in the industry that a lot of people are familiar with: Upor, uh, formerly Wirsbo or Yorke, okay? Okay.

So PEX a, I’ve used a PEX a a lot over the years. A little more flexible, uh, a little bit easier to bend than, let’s say, PEX b or PEX C. This is PEX B, still pretty bendable. It’s not like you can’t bend it, right? Right, yep.

It’s a, it’s a plastic product, so I mean, it’s, PEX, it’s polyethylene cross-linked. It’s, you know, flexible, more flexible. It’s just how the, it’s the, it’s the ingredients that go into the the batch of cookies, right? You know, it’s how they make the the tubing itself, okay?

So how does the fitting work on these expansions? Well, the fitting is really neat. So the, a lot of people like a PEX a system because the fitting itself, the ID, is the same size as the ID of the tubing, uh. So meaning the inside diameter, ID, correct, uh, is going to be the exact same here, whereas some of the other systems, the fittings are smaller. Can you show us a little side-by-side comparison? See if we can zoom in and show that? Yep.

So really what we’re talking about with PEX a is the the, the fitting size, physical size of the fitting, is larger. So we have to stretch the tubing to fit on the outside of the fitting. So in other words, this is a half inch and this is a half inch, but you can’t insert that dry without doing expansion, right? And so this is a, this is also called half inch, but this is an insert fitting. We’re going to talk about these in a second, but I can install that, got it, without stretching the tubing, got it. Interesting.

So what makes PEX a or expansion PEX, um, a little bit different is that whole scenario where the the, the fitting, is larger than the, it’s it’s competition, which in theory allows a better flow path. I mean, yeah, I, I think they could prove that in a laboratory, but there’s not a lot out on the job site that’s really noticeable, to be completely honest. Yeah, that makes sense.

With this system, though, we have to have, we have additional parts, okay? So with the push-to-connect, we just slam it on, we go “Mm-hmm.” With the expansion, you’ve got these rings that are made out of the same type of material as the tubing itself, or similar material. So on this package, they’re calling an expansion sleeve. Is that a common name? Yeah, I probably just called it a ring. I think that’s just kind of automatic. It’s probably what’s stuck in my head.

So you, you slide that on the outside. There’s a stop on the end of this little, okay? So it can’t go too far. In other words, it’s stopping at that end. Yeah, I can’t slide it down to my hand. It stops directly on the end of the cut tubing, okay? I can’t put any further. Now again, we have already talked about, I can’t slide this onto this. F, just simply doesn’t fit, yeah, okay?

So what we need to do is we have a special tool now, uh, we used to do this manually, that was a long time ago to be, I’m maybe dating myself, but now we’ve got power tools. These have been around for a long time too. So this is a Milwaukee, uh, PEX expander, okay? So it’s got, uh, different size heads on the end of this cone head here that, uh, are specific to the size of the tubing we’re working with, but this is half inch.

And so I’m going to insert the end of this and press this button. In a series of expansions, this is going to enlarge the ID of the tubing. So in other words, you’re sh, you’re sliding that in and, we’re, we’re expanding that ID of the tubing. So go ahead and give it a try, yeah. Real quick, I’ll do that.

It’s going to, it’s, I have a few seconds to work with it. I can insert it onto the fitting and then the tubing starts to contract automatically on its own, okay? So in other words, once you do that, you’re going to quickly drop that fitting in. You got to have the fitting ready, don’t don’t expand, go to your truck and grab it. Yeah, exactly. Or otherwise, you just have to re-expand, yeah. There, let me give you a, uh, let’s put a, uh, t-on there, uh, as our fitting, as if we were doing a transition here, half inch, okay? Let’s put that fitting on…

Okay, there’s a number of expansions you’re supposed to do. So you kind of count that in your head. And then there’s enough time to, you know, I didn’t have to hurry, right? And I do have to kind of hold this here for a second. If this were up in the air, maybe hanging vertical, I’d have to make sure that I hold this long enough. So now already it’s getting tighter. Now we’re good. It’s not fully sealed.

There’s a, a specific amount of time that you have to, uh, wait before you can pressurize this. That’s maybe one of the downfalls, uh, much though, not much. However, I live in a cold climate, right? So in the winter time when we’re doing new construction or repair 10 deg in that house, yeah? So we might actually have to go get a heat gun to heat this up.

Oh, interesting. If it is really cold, this isn’t an awesome system to work with without the, I of adding heat, maybe waiting a little longer before we pressure. I don’t have that problem in Texas. There, you don’t. Well, it’s not a huge issue. And like I said, with the heat gun, we can combat that. But it’s, you know, time is money.

So there’s two things I think are interesting on here that that, uh, the non-plumber will maybe not notice without pointing to it. Check this out, there’s these little nubs on the side. And you’ll notice when Eric put that fitting on, it’s stopped at those nubs.

The other thing I’m seeing is it kind of looks like, and maybe correct me if I’m wrong, is there like a little barb on that fitting, almost like kind of like an arrowhead on there? Yeah, so there are, yeah, you are. And actually, there’s more than one there. There there’s some smaller ones too, uh, which matter because in the engineering of the system and the testing and the verification that this process holds and performs as needed, there’s actually multiple barbs on there. So there’s multiple sealing points. That’s cool, okay.

So that’s expansion. I like that. I’ve used the expansion a lot. It’s very popular, uh. We see it in potable systems, we see it in heating systems, we see it in all types of piping. And we can get it in like, now actually, uh, Upor, uh, is making PEX a up to 3-inch diameter. So for like commercial applications, pretty, so that was half inch, but obviously they make it in different sizes.

This look like, this looks like a 1-inch, yep, uh, which is pretty common on, on feed lines on my houses, uh, and 3/4, half, uh. And if I, well, this is probably a whole another video, but I think think that a few of these manufacturers make 3/8 as well, not nearly as they do, not very common North America, but it could be used for sure, okay.

So PTC, expansion. What’s next, uh, probably a little lesser known system, but something I’ve used for about 25 years, believe it or not, it’s PEX press, press, yeah. So, uh, the brand or manufacturer that I use is Viega, okay, okay. You probably, you’re familiar with Viega’s products with their metals, the ProPress? Yeah, they invented, right, our press copper fittings, uh. So PresssPEX, uh, not at all the same as the expansion fitting system. Totally different, interesting.

So now we can use, we could use the same type of tubing. All the tubing diameters are the same, maybe they’re not the same, you know, material makeup as far as the ingredients, but now instead of having to expand the PEX, expansions, M, we could just insert the fitting right on the end. And these fittings actually come with these nice stainless steel rings already installed on them. This is Viega system, yep. And now we use a tool, uh, a couple different types of tools.

So you’ve got this manually expanding tool. Like I’ve had this thing for like 25 years, it looks old, it is still working great. It is, yeah, it is working great. And this goes on, that uh, we clamp it down, you got CL, it, okay? So this is half inch, uh, real quick.

One on thing that I kind of like is they color code the sizes. Oh, so the yellow is indicating half inch, and blue must be 3/4 then, yeah. Just make of, and then my tool, my/ in tool is yellow, and my 3/4 tool is blue. Oh, so this is actually corresponding to that. This is actually a just a quick indicator. That’s nice, it’s nice. I like that, uh.

So this is simple. So I can just push this on here like that, okay? And, uh, just so the camera can see, you’re noticing he’s putting this right up against that yellow collar, is that correct? Yeah, so it’s, it’s covering this entire stainless steel ring here, inside of the jaws of the tool. And it’s really simple. You just have to squeeze it. Doesn’t take a ton of force. And now what we’ve done, as a permanent connection, uh, with the fitting inside the tubing. We didn’t have to expand it.

So now, yeah, you couldn’t, you’re not going to pull that out, uh. I don’t think it’s even possible. I’ve seen pressure tests and, you know, different type of dynamic tests where it’s incredible, the permanence, basically, of a fitting system like this. So, uh, this fitting, from is it Viega or Viega? It’s Viega.

This is V’s fitting. There’s a lot of different manufacturers. We actually have some here. This is a more generic, well, maybe not generic. It’s a Ollo brand but this is the same thing. These are separate sleeves correct? Yeah, exactly I was just going to point that out. So you can buy the fittings right?

So same type of fitting more or less, it inserts into the tubing but then you would have to first push this like thimble ring on the end of it. Okay and it’s got a stop on there too if you can see that guys stopping at the end of the pipe. It does it’s probably even hard to see with the camera but there’s this tiny little hole in the end of it.

See that? Yeah, what’s the hole for it’s a visual indicator so I can see that the tubing through that hole and so that I know it’s made it all the way on. Got it. The reason that’s important is if you’re cutting the tubing and maybe you kind of oval the tubing, maybe put it out around it might not be easy to put this on.

There maybe you’re in a precarious position that visual indicator tells me the installer, anybody that I’ve got that on there all the way which is important. Okay and then you insert the fitting and we do the same process as we did before. We use this over here. We don’t want to use it now. Oh yeah, that’s true. No, we got more. We got more. Go ahead.

Okay, so yeah, same thing. Uh, manual press with this. I do have to kind of, this time you don’t have a ring so you got, you got to kind of line it up a little bit a little more to it. Yeah, there’s a little more to it. That’s interesting. That’s kind of a, that is kind of a manufacturer’s benefit to these VAs.

I suspect that this individual system is probably less expensive than this wasn’t it? It would be, but if you consider having to buy, uh, maybe you’re buying in larger bulk pack, 100 pack. Yeah, or even a thousand, right? Big bag of these. Now you have to store these separate from the fittings that they’re going to fit on, right? So now you’ve got these cases that have multiple bins, multi-, you more inventory. Time is money.

It is, it is. You know, I love the fact that, uh, with this system, not to really pump up V too much here, but it’s nice because I grab the fitting, the Ring’s already on it. Yeah, even your least cost plumber is going to be $1 bucks an hour, and for a master plumber you’re going to spend a couple hundred bucks an hour.

So do you really want them fumbling around and getting all kinds of fittings? This in the end could be pretty valuable timewise. Yeah, look, this fitting doesn’t do me any good without the, the ring, right? Mhm. And vice versa, so I can have all the Rings in the world. If I don’t have the fitting I need, yeah, we not doing any good.

So press inventory press, uh, real quick before we go. So you saw me do two of them with the manual tool, spin around forever. I don’t even really use this anymore. I keep it on my van with two hands. You got to have a little bit more.

You almost need a third hand with that thing, right? I mean, maybe, yeah, especially when you get to the 3/4 and the 1 in, it gets a lot harder, right? Press it, it does. So I actually brought today with me just for to show you. I don’t have the press tool with me, but you’ve seen me press copper, you know? This is a jaw that just goes in my copper press tool, got it?

So it’s it’s a tool that’s similar to this, different head on there. The Jaws go on there and it’s got that hyduh super action to clamp that down. And then you can do it one handed too, yeah, so I can do it one-handed. I’m pulling a trigger instead of manually operating, uha, kind of press to too. It is, it’s, you know what? It’s about, uh, just wear and tear on your body. Yeah, this is easier. Let the tool do the work. That’s right.

Okay, uh, and then it also makes my press tool more versatile. So that’s, we’ve got PTC expansion press now. Honestly, we’re going to talk finally in fourth. We’ve got the most popular fitting system in the country, North America. I’ve been using this, or I don’t always use this system now, but for years that’s all I used, starting in about the year 2000.

Yeah, so I’ve been almost 25 years with, uh, mostly PEX in my houses, right? So PEX hits a scene, uh, kind of new construction in North America late ’90s, early 2000s. It took a lot of, uh, companies to really jump on board, right? But like you said as a side note, though, PEX is not a new technology, no. I looked it up and I actually made some old videos about this. PEX came to America in 1972, the year of my birth.

So, uh, you know, PEX is the same age as I am. It’s 50 years plus in America. It is, it is. I, I, I guess what I meant by that, it just really wasn’t, we weren’t seeing it as a correct an installed product, new construction, replacing copper. It took that long for, for, uh, companies and there are some things that went into that that whole process. But so this is, this is what we call crimp, okay?

So this is a copper ring. It doesn’t really look like copper. It’s made out of copper. It looks black, though, yeah. It is, but it’s I think it’s an alloy, technically, but it is made out, uh, made out of copper mostly. And this is going to, in, go on the outside of the tubing, okay?

So similar to what we had on this guy with the crimp sleeve, yeah, but see, we don’t have a, but now it’s a loose ring. W, that’s interesting. It is, so I personally don’t have a ton of experience with this system, uh, when I started out in our area and we started using PCs,

I was still early on in my career at that time. But when we started seeing PEX and installing it for new construction in the Twin Cities Market, we really had like two main players and that was at the time Woro, right?

Now upor, now upor. And then at that time still coming into the market was this German company that had bought a, a, a, uh, manufacturer in the United States so they could get into our market. And they were called VGA, got it, okay? So which are two dominant players today, they are, yeah. And they’re, you know, world-class. And and so are a lot of other manufacturers, though.

So like this system is most commonly used with fittings that are made by two different companies in our industry, um, or I guess plumbers would recognize the two main companies that make what are those Brands? Watts, okay. Uh, hold Plumbing, yep, uh, nibco, mhm. And zern, yeah. All those names are a long time.

They have been, they have been. They make, you know, everything for everything Rel Plumbing related, uh. So these copper Rings, like we said, they slip onto the outside of the tubing. You then insert the fitting again. So now we’re not expanding anything, okay?

So just to, uh, for my own knowledge there is still a, there is still a nipple on there that, that prevents this from overdriving and, and that tells you physically to stop? But the ring doesn’t have that, so how do you know where the ring goes now? So the ring, you, you, there is about an eighth of an inch or so, uh, of tubing on the fitting side of the Ring, okay?

And that, that’s just a visual, okay? So you have to visualize that and understand that, uh, there is training involved with this. Like they, you know, each of the fitting manufacturers will give you a manual, show what need is needed. But then there’s a manual tool, okay, uh? There are power tools available, like I said, I don’t even have one. But you’ve got some different tools here.

Here’s a manual press or crimp tool that does half inch and 3/4, all in the same tool, all in the same tool. So you got to hold that. I’m to surprised it’s actually my tool. So this is, so this is actually why I don’t love this system personally, but it is, like I said, number one in the entire world or entire North America.

Here, be my concern, though. You’re working overhead, oh shoot, or I’m in a tight space under a cabinet or vanity or a wall? Maybe I’m making a repair and it does get cumbersome to get this positioned on there, just right, yeah. And then I have to kind of look at it, there, it does move around. See? I’m not any good at this.

I’m not going to lie to you. That’s all right, oh. I’m probably not helping as your pmer Apprentice. Well, I told you I’m kind of, I’m not very good at this. And then there’s a lot more for actually, was his Apprentice for a day, by the way, okay?

So we’ve made the joint now. See, I’m not super enthusiastic about the fact that there’s not a lot of tubing, right there? But I’m guessing that this is going to hold, it’s probably going to be watertight, but you would have liked to seen a little bit more tubing there, a little, just you know, about an eigh of yourself, yeah. Um, it ain’t coming off, though, is it? Yeah, yeah, you know?

The old ad is, you can shake it a few times and say that ain’t going nowhere. But so in your opinion, why is this the most popular system in America and I, I’m guessing I think I know the answer.

I think it’s just inexpensive, yeah, it’s cost, right? It is, uh, it’s it’s proven reliable, there’s no doubt about that, uh, and so cost drives a lot of sure. Innovation, and you know, but speed of the other ones maybe is kind of the, the, uh, the what makes it and maybe slightly more Rel, not reliable per se, but slightly less prone to human error.

Human error is a huge thing. So I’ve made some, uh, reluctantly I, I’ll admit this. I’ve made some mistakes on installs when I did new construction years ago. Everyone asked, uh, where I didn’t press one side of a fit, oh maybe, and it, and believe it or not, I’ve seen situations where you can put this stuff together and under the just the most perfect circumstances,

You can even do like a, a pressure test it wouldn’t blow off and it didn’t blow off, it didn’t, you know, until they moved in, uh, well until, yeah, and then the ceiling of the basement caved, you know, fell onto the floor, that kind of thing. It’s funny that you say that.

I have a buddy who owns a big Plumbing, uh, company in town and he moved to expansion for that reason cuz you can’t accidentally dry fit it. You have to expand it and and pop it in, yeah. So that’s why he likes this, that’s exactly why I moved to that about 15 years ago, worked with it for about 10, 12 years. And then there was supply chain stuff. I ended up moving back to this, but you know, I’m not doing new construction anymore. I’m not doing the same amount of fittings that I used to.

You still have to pay attention. You can still dry fit things, it’s not the best, uh, scenario but so this is, uh, we’re not done though with this, okay, okay? So you have to crimp it, but wait there’s more, yeah, but wait, there’s more. So there’s actually a tool, we don’t have it with us today, but it’s kind of along the same lines as marking the depth of the tubing for your push to connect. There’s a noo go gauge. So it slides over the outside of that copper ring, got okay?

So if it doesn’t slide on, you know, uh, nicely, and it fits snugly, then we have to look at the calibration of the tool, maybe the tool was bad, maybe we were, weren’t down there Square, it didn’t get all the way jammed tight, yep, uh, whereas, uh, you know, something needed calibrated. So it might not, that’s interesting.

There’s a go, nooon, that ring because that ring is moving. I don’t know, a slight half a millimeter or whatever the dimension is, yeah, so you’ve actually taken the, the ring and you’ve changed its diameter, got it, okay. But again, this is the most popular fitting system by sales volume in the industry. Fascinating.

Okay, I got, I got one quick question for you. This is kind of random, but when I was buying some parts for this video at the Home Center, I saw that there’s a pro crimp ring and a standard crimp ring. I don’t if you can see that? And the only difference is the standard crimp ring looks like a wet ring, as you called it, which I like that example.

The pro version has a little plastic nub on there. What is this, what is this plastic nub do and why, why is this a pro version? Well, it’s interesting they call it a pro version. I thought it was a little more DIY, but so, uh, just in all fairness,

I showed it once already. I’ll put the, the ring on the end of the tubing and it can just kind of drop on there, right, okay? So we already saw in my, my example that you can position the ring in kind of the wrong spot. You want that spacing, this little red sleeve, this pro version, that’s a stop, ah. And actually, like that, I like that.

That makes sense. I would use that if I was using this system, probably cost more, it probably cost more, that’s true. I didn’t even look at the price on those packages, but it’s an extra Buck or something, yeah, who knows, you know? But actually, that’s in my opinion a good feature. I’m not sure what happens to the plastic. It probably kind of spits off. Let’s put one on, see we have an extra, uh.

Well, well, we have the other here. Here it is. Here we go. Where’s our cutter? Here we had a cutter up here. Yeah, where do, what did we do with that? What I do, the two here, it is, okay? So we’ll just cut this one off right. My really basic tube cutter. I’m embarrassed by my tools, Eric. I wouldn’t be, they’re effective, they work, what, okay, what am I doing here? So I’m going to take this Pro ring and I’m going to put on the end of the red too.

I’m going to take that fitting we used for the last example and I’m going to insert it, okay? Same process, but I’m not having to hold that kind, which probably makes it easier, yeah, that’s a good thing, yeah. Let’s see here if I can just do this all by myself. Man, I am not coordinated today. I mean, it’s, it’s not easy. And honestly, it’s not, I’m, I’m really not, yeah, you’re going to have hold the way for you. Look, Eric’s good at upor and veg.

I make a pretty good plumbers assistant, be honest. I always said I wanted to be a plumber if I wasn’t going to be a builder, did it stay? Yeah, the little but the little red thing, yeah, the red thing didn’t move, just the, uh, copper did. And you’re not going to be able to see this on camera, but if you were, if you had the amazing eagle eyes that I have, there’s a pinch point, it looks like on here, uh, there is, you can kind of see there, there is a, there is an action and there’s a difference.

Then you got to really zoom in on the light. I can’t imagine the camera’s going to going to see that, yeah, there’s a little Ridge where the two, uh, sides of the tool meet, yep. So that, that Ridge is indented on there and you can see that and now it’s not going anywhere. So also interesting to note that these are two different fitting systems, but the same fitting, yeah, two different joining or joining systems, me, yeah, so the fitting is similar, uh, there are some slight manufacturing differences from one brand to the next.

But the idea is this, there’s a very small barbs, many of them on the, on the fitting itself. And then the pressing action from the, the tool, and either the stainless steel or the copper will seal against those very slight barbs let’s say, got it on the fitting? But yeah, one fit into the next, there’s not a whole lot of difference, which brings us to the last joining system, number five. What do we got, number five?

So this is, uh, also very popular, probably rivaling and numbers the, uh, crimp. But we call this pinch, okay? And so these are stainless steel clamps, and are there any brand names on these pinch that you know of? Yeah, so early on, I believe the manufacturer’s name was oder and, and that’s right here on this package, which is interesting.

And they’re calling it a clamp, but there’s that oder on there. So I wonder if, I wonder if that was maybe the, uh, inventor or the patent holder or something? It could be, you know, I didn’t do a lot of research on that. I think it’s either the manufacturer or somebody who, who engineered the system, maybe the actual engineer, y, but it’s an oder clamp or a pinch clamp, and that uses the same type of fittings, okay, same insert into the, um, and it’s interesting that there’s also a pinch clamp and a pro pinch clamp from a different manufacturer too.

Nope, I think we’re back to that, uh, maybe the pro, maybe allows it to stop on the tubing, yeah, I’m, we’re making guesses now. I’m going to try that, we’re going to look at the pro, okay, okay? So there’s the pro one, yeah. So this actually has a little arrow telling us which direction, oh, interesting, yeah, to insert it so it’ll stop and only insert so far onto the tubing.

And just like the other one, this one doesn’t have this so this you’d have to be a little bit more, careful because it will go all anywhere on the tubing and we want to have that about that eighth inch spacing or so between the fitting and the clamp itself. Now this I’ll be honest with you,

I was a little fumbly with this one. I’m probably more so with this one because well you have to so this Tool again here. Let’s do it so the camera can see you if you can if you see this small opening on the end. Yep, this tool fits onto that stainless steel clamp and it takes quite a bit of force to be honest with you.

Oh gosh yeah and then once I get to the end of it the tool will release and you see how it yeah so you went from here let me show the original diameter to that so it went from this to this. It pinched it quite a bit. It kind of feels like it’s a zip tie. Almost, doesn’t it? That’s great, yeah, like a zip. Yeah, exactly. That’s a pretty good explanation, I’d say.

Um, what’s happening is there’s some hooks and slots on that stainless steel pinch clamp, and they’re that. Those hooks are holding on, uh, and when you pinch that, it’s decreasing the diameter of the ring. Got it. Does that make sense?

Yeah, um, and again the pro model, the only difference is there’s a little connection here which, when you slide it on, stops it from going down, and it’s holding onto the pipe right there. Yeah, which is kind of cool.

And again, it’s kind of funny they call that a pro model, but that makes a lot of sense for somebody doing DIY to have that. But honestly, I would say that’s if you own a plumbing company, these would be a great one to have for your crew. It actually does make it look like, or does look like, it’s easier to install.

Mmhmm, for sure. I don’t have a lot of experience with these. I’ve actually got more, probably more experience with, um, just various failures across all of these, and it seems that these, their, um, maybe their weak point is the clamp separating and then not, now it’s no longer holding pressure against the fitting.

So, when I was a production Builder, uh, prior to starting my custom Building Company from 2000-ish to 2005, uh, we did about 150 homes a year, and they were all pinch. Okay, uh, and I have only one example, and I was the warranty department manager for a while.

I can only think of one time that we ever had a fitting failure. We had one house, one time of the several hundred we built during that time, that had one fitting failure that that seemed like it was plumber error, uh, on the fitting install.

A lot of times, that’s what it comes down to is the installation error, uh, maybe tools were out of calibration. Look, people make mistakes too, right? And maybe they just go on notice for a good while. This is mechan, this is like a mechanical clamp though, just kind of how it’s built.

Yep, you lose that whole the mechanics of it when you go to that copper ring. That’s just a solid ring, right? No hooks and Barbs and things like that. Uh, same with these stainless steel press rings. Yep, right, or sleeves, uh, same situation. And really, these are doing all the same thing. Yeah, they’re just pressing on the outside of the tubing onto the barbs of the fitting. That’s where that seal is, those little barbs on the fitting itself.

Yeah, so let’s wrap up the video, Eric, for plumber advice. Uh, it seems to me like you’ve had really good success with the Press style, and in particular VGA, which has those pre-installed. Yep, uh, you and I both have had good success with the expans, expion, absolutely style. Uh, and it’s interesting to note that a lot of Manufacturers are coming out with PTC.

I do see, I suspect in the not too distant future, uh, we’re going to see more and more new homes with PTC in them. Uh, and part of that is because it’s a toolless system. It’s very quick and easy to learn, uh, and we want more and more young people to come into our trade.

Speaking of which, I mentioned earlier in the video I got to spend a day with Eric as his apprentice, and that is a series called Talking Trades, uh, which by time this airs, we’ll have at least one or two of those episodes on YouTube.

But on thebuildshow.com, you can see all three episodes with Eric and I and our pre-episode with Mike and Sherry Holmes talking about this great need that we have in the industry and the incredible opportunity, especially in the plumbing trade, that Eric and I talked about.

But later on in the series, we’re going to visit with some other trades men and women. So go out to thebuildshow.com, check that out. In the meantime, go follow Eric’s Instagram, which is Mechanical Hub, and go check out his other videos on thebuildshow.com.

Great summary today, brother. It was a really fun video for, really enjoyed seeing these and thinking about these on my job site. In the end, all of these systems, uh, are very reliable and very good systems.

I’ve used, uh, pretty much everything on a house that I built at some time in my past, uh, really without incident. I can think of only that one issue, uh, with pinch years ago, but that honestly, I would still Plum a house with that today. It doesn’t, that doesn’t, that one issue doesn’t, uh, foil me from thinking I would use that. On the other hand, there are a couple that I think are a little bit better in the long run.

Uh, Eric and I have some other interesting stuff coming up, so stay tuned. In the meantime, follow us on TikTok or Instagram. Otherwise, we’ll see you next time on the buildshow.

Don’t make this mistake on your next PEX install

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