Not everyone knows about pex-al-pex fittings. Even if it’s not as well-known as the other pipe materials, pex-al-pex pipes are approved in major plumbing codes. They come in various features, which is why more and more professional plumbers prefer to use them.
Below are everything you should know about pex-al-pex compression fittings if you are planning to start your own pex-al-pex business.
Important Facts About Pex-al-pex Pipes
Pex-al-pex tubing typically comes in rolls, doesn’t need any soldering, and can be easily cut to any length, and come with very joint fittings. If you plan to do plumbing projects on your own, these pex-al-pex compressed air pipes are highly flexible making them ideal for DIY plumbing works.
What Is Pex-al-pex Pipe?
The Pex-Al-Pex material takes advantage on the chemical and corrosion resistance of plastic and the pressure ability of metal by coating the aluminum layer between the layers of plastic. The finished tubing is bendable, flexible, non-corroding, and is resistant to most oils, fats, salt solutions, acids, and alkalis.
The Pex-Al-Pex pipes, or simply called as PAP pipes, are widely used in commercial and residential plumbing systems and in pressure services on compressed gas and compressed air systems. They are usually combined with metal fittings.
They got their name for the sandwich-layered structure that consists of polyethylene plastic (PEX) for the outside layer, aluminum (AL) for the middle layer, and another layer of polyethylene plastic (PEX) for the inner layer.
What Are the Key Features of Pex-al-pex Pipes?
- Easy Joint Assembly – Pex-al-pex joints are usually made with either crimp-on-connector rings or compression fittings. These joints are easy and fast to finish and there’s no need to solder and torch them, except for the times when you need to connect new PAP lines to the current copper supply pipes.
- Flexibility – You can bend them using your hands in any direction and will stay in a fixed position. This lets you work around it and through existing frame members, walls, and floor joists. PAP pipes can tightly bend up to a 3-inch radius without any kinks, which lessens the need of elbow joints.
- Immune to Frost Cracking – Pex-al-pex tubing is better compared to rigid piping when resisting surface pressure of freezing water. Most manufacturers will examine and warrant their pipes to endure five freeze and thaw cycles before any cracking can occur.
Barrier PEX vs Non-Barrier PEX vs Pex-al-pex (Which Should You Use?)
Deciding whether to use Barrier PEX, Non-barrier PEX, or Pex-Al-Pex will base mainly on what project they will be used for and what other components they’re going to work with. All are actually polyethylene cross-linked or PEX, but some have added features to it.
The barrier here is oxygen barrier, which is an extra layer in the tubing that ensures that no oxygen will get into the heating system. It could be a problem once oxygen goes into the system as the components could start to rust.
The oxygen barrier allows cast iron elements in the system instead of bronze and brass. This means that the components, such as flanges and pumps, are significantly less expensive and can run smoothly for a longer time.
The barrier pex is the popular choice for radiant heat systems. This tubing method is affordable when purchasing parts and will prevent corrosion and rust.
Non-barrier PEX is simply PEX with no oxygen barrier. This type is usually used in potable water applications. Barrier PEX is suitable for heating applications and hasn’t been approved yet for drinking water and plumbing.
When using non-barrier pex, you should be extra careful to ensure that each component in the system doesn’t contain iron. This type of tubing is seen rarely in radiant heat applications.
This type of tubing can usually be seen in outdoor heating systems, high-temperature systems, such as fan coils and baseboard, and for warmboard systems.
The popularity of pex-al-pex pipes started in radiant heating systems. They are ideal for this application since the pipes will retain their shapes. They are also used in several applications that include:
- Hot and cold water plumbing distribution, both residential and commercial
- Radiant heating and cooling applications, such as ceilings, floors, and walls
- Outdoor ice and snow melting
- Pitch heating/ turf conditioning
- Chilled water piping
- Hydronic piping and distribution
Essential Tips to Finding a Reliable Pex-al-pex Manufacturer Online
If you won’t do your homework, deciding which manufacturer you’re going to work with can result in a long and costly process. It could take you years before you can find the right manufacturer who will create high-quality products. You can make this faster and simpler by following these tips:
What certifications do they have?
International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)
The IAPMO mark is applied to products that are certified by the organization by complying with both the Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and the performance standard of the product. This will apply to all plumbing products, pipes, fixtures, appliances, valves, and other related products.
SAI Global Certification
SAI Global, a third-party organization to ensure that the products meet the specified requirements of an approved product standard. The SAI Global mark on a product ensures reliability, safety, and quality assurance.
NSF International is an independent and accredited third-party organization that will inspect, test, and certify products to make sure they meet public health and safety standards. Having this certificate means the products are completely safe for public use.
The CE marking will indicate that the products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) conform to the health, environmental protection, and safety standards. This marking will prove that the products have been assessed, examined, and verified, and passed the EU requirements.
This is for your manufacturer to prove that they are legally registered. When they show signs of resistance or make excuses, you should consider these as red flags. When you have the certificate, review it meticulously to ensure that what you have is not fake.
Bank Account Certificate
This is necessary so you’ll have the information about the company’s official bank account. This will be the only account you’re going to make any payment to avoid any form of fraud and scam.
The certificate will prove that they are the real holder of the bank account and you don’t have to worry about your payments going to the wrong hands.
ISO 9001 Certificate
The ISO 9001 Certification is useful before you make any orders. This will ensure that they have an approved quality management system, which has a scope that covers the product you’re purchasing.
This is useful to make sure that the pex-al-pex manufacturer is really producing these tubings. Take a look a Tubomart, for example. They have a number of certificates (including the ISO) readily displayed in their website to give their customers the guarantee that they can deliver quality PEX pipes and that all of their products ensures overall quality assurance.
What other companies are they currently working with?
It’s always better to choose a pex-al-pex manufacturer that is well-known in the industry and who creates high-quality products for other companies that you know or are familiar with. If they work with reputable brands, it means that their factories have been audited and visited by big-time retailers from different parts of the world.
How big is their factory?
Factories that have many employees and have been in the industry for a long time now mean that they have a better experience in manufacturing your pex-al-pex tubings. Try to stay away from small factories as they most likely lack the experience and may not be able to meet your specifications.
If you do decide to work with a smaller manufacturer, you have to make sure that you do your thorough research.
What quality assurance process do they have?
Quality assurance is one of the most important steps in the manufacturing process. The more steps of quality assurance the manufacturer make, the better. This means that there are lower risks for defective products and parts.
Which company are they sourcing their materials?
Many manufacturers also produce materials for their products. However, some still source out from other factories. If your manufacturer will not produce all the parts of your products, make sure to ask them where they get their materials and parts so you can check if they’re getting it from reliable manufacturers.
The best way to ensure the quality of the materials and components of your products is to ask your manufacturer to provide you with a list of the factories and the materials they manufacture.
What is their production capacity?
You might think that the production capacity is not an issue yet as you may still be starting your business. It’s important to note that it’s also essential that you’re able to build a long-term relationship with your manufacturer.
This is why you must always be one step ahead.
Make it clear with your manufacturer that you want to build a partnership, and when the time comes you’ll be delivering large orders, both of you will be ready.
It’s always best that you do your own research and make sure you know the essential facts when it comes to starting your own pex-al-pex pipe business. With all the details provided in this post, hopefully, you’ll have a good start in your business and be able to find a reliable pex-al-pex manufacturer that you’ll likely work with for a long time!