Connecting PEX Plumbing
A close look at the ever-expanding options for joining PEX plumbing.
Anybody who has spent any amount of time sweating copper is likely to appreciate the relative ease of working with PEX. There are no fumes, no open flames, and usually less worry about whether you made a solid connection. But while working with PEX is comparatively simple, picking PEX fittings—the elbows and tees that connect the tubing—is another story. There are numerous types of fittings, and in some cases, multiple ways to connect the same ones. With few exceptions, the tools used for one type of connection can’t be used for another.
But we’re beyond the point of no return. PEX has overtaken copper supply lines in new-home construction. A decade ago, the question was, “Should I choose PEX?” Today, the question is, “Which PEX fitting system should I choose?”
The answer to that question probably hinges on three things: tubing compatibility, how much PEX work you’re going to do, and cost.
There are four major categories of fittings for joining PEX supply lines: push, press, expansion, and crimp/clamp. No matter what system you choose, you have to match your fitting to your tubing. PEX tubing typically has stamps that list its compatible fittings. Many fitting manufacturers make their own tubing, and sticking to a single brand for both can ensure compatibility and cover you if a connection fails. Beware: Some manufacturers only warrant their fittings in conjunction with their tubing, so read the fine print.
For more videos about Connecting PEX fittings, check out:
For walk-through connection instructions and photos for each step, click View PDF below.