How to Replace Old Copper Wiring with PEX Tubing

Overview of Replacing Copper Wiring with PEX Tubing

Replacing old copper wiring with PEX tubing can modernize your home's plumbing system and provide a range of benefits. PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is a flexible plastic tubing that is increasingly used in residential plumbing systems due to its durability, leak resistance, and cost effectiveness compared to copper piping.

I will walk through the entire process of replacing copper with PEX step-by-step, covering planning considerations, materials needed, installation instructions, and tips for a successful project. Properly replacing copper with PEX requires some plumbing knowledge and experience, so beginners may want to hire a professional to avoid mistakes. However, with the right preparation, a DIYer can take on this project and enjoy the advantages of PEX.

Reasons to Switch from Copper to PEX

There are several compelling reasons I chose to replace the old copper plumbing in my home with new PEX tubing:

Clearly, PEX offers a range of benefits over traditional copper plumbing. While copper served homes well for decades, PEX improves upon it in some key ways.

Planning the PEX Replacement Project

Careful planning and preparation ensures the PEX installation project goes smoothly and the new plumbing system works effectively for years to come. Here are some key steps to plan out:

Taking time to thoroughly plan the project will ensure you have all the skills, materials, and time needed to successfully install a new PEX plumbing system.

Necessary Materials and Tools

Replacing copper wiring with PEX tubing requires gathering the right supplies. Here are the key materials and tools I needed for my plumbing system upgrade:

Gathering these necessary materials ahead of time prevents delays in the project timeline. Having the right tools for the job also makes the PEX installation process smooth.

Step-by-Step PEX Installation Guide

Once all the planning and prep work is complete, it's time to install the new PEX plumbing system. Follow these key steps:

  1. Turn off the home's water supply - Locate the main shutoff valve and turn off the water to prevent leaks as you work.

  2. Cut the copper pipes - Use a tubing cutter to cut the copper pipes where they will connect to PEX lines. Remove any old brazed fittings.

  3. Install PEX manifold - Mount a PEX manifold near the main water lines to serve as the central distribution point. Secure to framing.

  4. Run PEX lines - Run PEX tubing from the manifold using desired layout. Use hangers to properly secure to framing.

  5. Install fittings - Place elbows, tees, adapters, and other fittings using crimp method. Test crimp with go/no gauge.

  6. Connect fixtures - Cut PEX to length and connect pipes to all plumbing fixtures. Use adapter fittings as needed.

  7. Attach shutoffs - Install shutoff valves near fixtures and where PEX connects to existing copper lines.

  8. Pressure test - Cap all openings. Turn water on and test at 1.5-2 times working pressure. Fix any leaks.

  9. Insulate - Use foam insulation on PEX lines in unheated areas to prevent freezing. Insulate hot water lines.

  10. Flush system - Turn on fixtures and run water through all pipes to flush out any debris.

Following proper PEX installation procedures as provided by the manufacturer is crucial for getting leak-free performance. Take it slow and double check your work.

Tips for a Successful PEX Plumbing Upgrade

Here are some additional pointers to ensure an effective, problem-free copper to PEX plumbing transition:

Putting in the effort to learn how to properly replace copper wiring with PEX tubing is worthwhile. Follow this guide and suggestions to ensure you gain the benefits of improved water flow, reliability, and cost savings with a PEX plumbing system. Let me know if you have any other questions!