:/How to Repair a PEX Pipe

How to Repair a PEX Pipe

Cross-linked polyethylene, popularly known as PEX, has been widely used for water piping, insulation, and heating systems. They are flexible and are freeze-resistant which makes them also ideal in cold climates. Plus, they are more affordable and easier to install. They can last for up to 200 years given that they are not exposed under direct sunlight.

However, like any other type of pipe, you will need to repair your PEX pipe once in a while. PEX pipes are not actually prone to leaking. Accidental holes may occur, but most plumbing leaks happen at connection spots or joints which are caused by incorrect installation.

Here, we are going to show you how to fix kinks as well as PEX holes and leaking PEX connectors on your own.

Repair a PEX Pipe

How to Repair a Kink in Your PEX Pipe

PEX pipe

There are 3 methods on how you can fix a kinked PEX pipe:

Method 1. Using Smooth Pliers

If the kink in your PEX pipe is not that bad, you can just carefully round the tubing using smooth pliers. However, if the kink occurred on a bent part of the PEX pipe, the kink might re-develop if the said method was used. To prevent the kink from re-developing, you can put a firm bend support to the pipe.

Method 2. Using a Hot Air Gun

If using smooth pliers to repair the kink is not effective, you can make the kink disappear by using a thermostat-controlled hot air gun. This is done by heating the PEX pipe at a temperature higher than the pipe’s melting point which is around 270°F. However, you need to make sure that the temperature of the air that reaches the pipe’s surface will not go over 330°F. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature.

Below are the steps you should follow when heating a PEX tube:

  1. Straighten the PEX tubing to reduce the tension on the kink.
  2. Heat the PEX pipe carefully while turning the air gun continuously to make sure that all of the kink’s sides receive equal amounts of heat. The heated tube will become transparent within 2 to 4 minutes. During this process, the kink starts to disappear.
  3. Once the kink disappears completely, stop heating. Let the pipe cool down until it turns opaque again. Do not touch it. You can also apply cool water if you want the pipe to cool faster.

Though heating the PEX pipe slightly damages its barrier layers, the PEX tubing’s core will still be fine. Slight damages to the tubing’s barrier layers will not decrease the tube’s integrity. The heated part can also expand slightly, but this is okay.

NOTE:

Do NOT heat your PEX pipe using a torch. When the torch overheats the tubing, your PEX pipe’s life expectancy might be compromised.

Method 3. Using the Conventional Repair Method

The conventional repair method involves replacing the damaged section of the PEX pipe with a new one by crimping. For this, you can follow the same steps listed in the next section.

How to Fix Holes in Your PEX Pipes

Fix Holes in Your PEX Pipes

If your PEX pipe has a hole, all you need to do is remove the damaged section of the pipe and then use the crimp connection method to fix it:

Materials

  • PEX pipe
  • Go/No-Go gauge
  • Tape measure
  • PEX crimper
  • PEX cutter
  • 4 crimp rings
  • 2 straight crimp fittings

Directions

Step 1. Cut the pipe’s damaged section using the PEX cutter. When cutting, cut at a 90-degree angle and make the cut even to ensure that the fitting will create a reliable seal.

Step 2. Measure the length of the damaged section of the PEX pipe that you removed.

Step 3. Cut the new PEX pipe to the same length as the damaged pipe you removed using the PEX cutter.

Step 3. Put one crimp ring on one end of your existing PEX pipe before inserting one straight crimp fitting into it.

Step 4. Align the crimp ring on the ribbed section of the crimp fitting.

Step 5. Secure the PEX tube over the crimp fitting by using the PEX crimper.

Step 6. Verify the accuracy of the connection by using the Go/No-Go gauge. Make sure that the Go slot fits perfectly around the rings while the No-Go slot does not.

Step 7. Put one crimp ring on one end of the replacement PEX pipe. After that, connect it to the end of the pipe that you crimped earlier by inserting it on the other end of the crimp fitting.

Step 8. Again, adjust the crimp ring on the replacement pipe and make sure that it is over the crimp fitting then use the PEX crimper to secure it.

Step 9. Complete the connection by following steps 3 to 8 to connect the other end of the replacement pipe to the other pipe section.

How to Fix Leaking PEX Connectors

As we have mentioned earlier, PEX connectors can break if you haven’t installed them correctly. These connectors are made without using chemicals or solders. This means that even if you installed them tightly, they might still come apart or leak.

Although there are various PEX connector types you can use, the most recommended ones for existing PEX pipes are insert fittings. Whether you are using a clamp or crimp connection system, the most affordable PEX repair method is by using brass fittings with stainless steel or copper crimp rings.

Why Do PEX Connections Leak?

#1 Improper Pressure Testing

Failure to pressure test your system properly can cause leakages and expensive repairs such as the removal of fixtures and your entire floor/wall.

#2 Uncalibrated Tools

For clamp/cinch or crimp connection methods, you need to calibrate your tools before you start with your installation. You should check them periodically to avoid future problems in your piping system.

#3 Improper Installation of Push Fittings

Among the most common issues of leaking pipe connections are improper installation practices, especially for push-to-connect fittings. You can find some tips for using push-to-connect fittings here.

#4  DeZincification

This occurs when the water’s chemistry causes selective zinc leaching from brass alloys which weakens the fitting and results in leakages. However, this can be prevented by using dezincification-resistant brass fittings for your PEX pipes.

Materials

  • Crimp-style insert adapter
  • Copper crimp rings
  • PEX crimper
  • PEX cutter
  • Go/no-go gauge
  • Expanding tool
  • Push-fit connector for PEX
  • PEX support sleeve
  • 3-part compression fitting

Directions

Step 1. Find and remove the damaged PEX connectors. Prepare the replacement connectors as well.

Step 2. Secure the 2 crimp-style insert adapters to both of the PEX tube’s ends using the crimping method as instructed in the previous section.

Step 3. Check the reliability of the connections by using the Go/No-Go gauge.

Step 4. Use the 3-part compression fitting to create compression connections. Thread the brass nut to the section facing the end of the tube.

Step 5. Complete the push-fit connection by putting in the PEX support sleeve to prevent the tube from collapsing.

Step 6. Finish your repair by creating expansion connections.

Additional Tips on How to Prevent Leaks From Happening During PEX Pipe Installation

Below are the tips you can follow to avoid leaks on your PEX piping system:

  • Pressure test your piping system according to your local building requirements. A leak exists somewhere in your system if you get a lower initial temperature gauge reading.
  • For crimp connection systems, always use a Go/No-Go gauge to make sure that your connections are accurate and secure.
  • Follow the installation tips in your manufacturer’s manual regarding freeze prevention and freeze protection.

FAQs About PEX Pipe Repair

#1 Which is better: PEX crimping or clamping?

The fittings used in PEX crimping and PEX clamping are the same. These fittings are called barbed or crimp PEX fittings. Each method uses different tools and different ring types but their style is similar. They both produce equally reliable seals, so your choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences. You can read more on PEX crimp vs PEX clamp here.

#2 Can you glue PEX?

No, you can’t. You need to do either the PEX clamping or crimping method to secure your connections.

#3 Can I cut PEX with a copper pipe cutter?

Yes, a copper pipe cutter allows easy cutting of the PEX pipe. You can use it to cut both small and large tubing diameters.

#4 Can you use a PVC cutter to cut PEX?

A PVC cutter is designed to cut different pipe sizes up to 2 inches in diameter. Thus, you can also use them to cut PEX and CPVC pipes.

Wrapping It Up

Leaking pipes in your plumbing system can be a big stress. However, you do not always need to call a professional plumber when you can do the repairs on your own. Fixing leaking PEX connections and holes in your PEX pipes is not as hard as you think it is. You just need the right tools to help you make your repairs easier. This is where Tubomart, a professional manufacturer of plumbing materials, can help you. Feel free to contact us if you need any help.

2020-12-29T03:06:29+00:00 December 29th, 2020|