Replumbing Braided Vinyl with PEX?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Systems (The Fresh, The Blue, The Grey, &' started by NTL1991, May 9, 2018.

  1. NTL1991

    NTL1991 Member

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    I'm pretty excited to get a new toy in the mail. It's a Milwaukee M12 ProPEX expander tool. It's used for installing PEX-A (Uponor) tubing with expansion fittings (no clamps). I bought it to do some new plumbing work in the house. It comes with expander heads for 1/2", 3/4" and 1" tubing.

    I just got through installing a new water heater in my Westlake and I do not like the cheap vinyl tubing, TONS of tee's, and hose clamps everywhere. I also do not like how the tubing is routed up through the floor from the tank, into the pump, then back down under the floor to get into the adjacent cabinet. Why not just go through from the inside?? Same for the hot water line... It looks like the drain lines under the front of the box are already piped in PEX from the factory. Weird.

    PEX would withstand higher pressures, not need any tightening of hose clamps, less prone to vibrations, better expansion if it ever did freeze up, and is more chemically stable and won't impart any plastic "taste" to the water if we use city hookups. (We don't drink from the onboard tank).

    I drew up a little diagram with the existing plumbing layout on top, and a slightly revised one on the bottom.

    Westlake Plumbing.jpg
     
  2. crackerJack

    crackerJack Well-Known Member

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    Cool, PEX is definitely a superior product.

    I repiped my camper with no low spot traps. It can all be drained and blown out with an air compressor. No pumping of antifreeze is necessary.
     
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  3. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

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    When I recently bought my camper some of the paperwork included an invoice for replumbing with PEX. At first I thought they had mistakenly included something from their house repair. When I looked in the cabinets I saw all the red and blue water lines. The invoice was for 700.00. When I was under the camper foaming voids in floor penetrations I saw a capped off hot and cold stubbed thru the floor. Wonder why the plumber did that since it already has an outdoor shower? It's near the outdoor shower under the PUP. IMG_20180527_132447936.jpg
     
  4. dak2

    dak2 Member

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    Low point drain lines
     
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  5. Dan from Troup

    Dan from Troup Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, looks like a good thing to have when winterizing.
     
  6. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Cool. Mine has PEX in it, but I don't have the luxury of blue and red lines, they are all the same color. I had to add a section to fix a leak - city water input went bad so I had to replace it and cut out a section to do it. I used a combination of PEX and sharkbite fittings, as there is no room behind my rear bulkhead to work unless I remove both cabinets and the interior wall.
     
  7. NTL1991

    NTL1991 Member

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    So after LOTS of research, I've committed to this project! I'm just so sick and tired of all those braided hoses and clamps!

    I've been doing some re-piping at home with the ProPEX tool and pipe, so I'll be able to use my left overs from that project.

    I was hesitant to commit to this project because it's been difficult sourcing a 1/2" 90* swivel elbow compatible with cold expansion PEX-A, which is what I'm using (Uponor AquaPEX, no crimping). But finally I have found brass swivel elbows for AquaPEX, and Uponor carries engineered polymer (plastic) 1/2" swivel fittings, but they're straight and not elbows.

    Without these swivel fittings, connecting to the water heater, water pump, city inlet, outside shower faucet, inside shower faucet, and inside kitchen faucet would've been difficult. I'm planning on doing what I proposed earlier on, which is to pass the piping through the cabinets rather than through the floor, and up into the adjacent cabinet, which is pretty silly. I also plan on piping in Uponor ball valves for a permanently piped water heater bypass, like on larger campers.

    I'll take some pics after I de-winterize and get started!

    -Nick
     
  8. NTL1991

    NTL1991 Member

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    I ordered my swivel fittings! PEX-A 1/2" swivel fittings for the various faucet connections, city water connection, water heater and pump.

    41tXeoCIFML._SX425_.jpg
    apollo-couplings-adaptors-epxfa12s-64_1000.jpg

    Apollo EPXFA12S & EPXFE12S

    -Nick
     
  9. NTL1991

    NTL1991 Member

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    So I tore into my project today. I'd say I'm about halfway done with the re-piping.

    Here's my trusty Milwaukee ProPEX expander tool:
    IMG-1402.JPG

    I started with the city water hookup. Here's the hose to the inlet. Think it was leaking... Inside the wall?
    IMG-1400.JPG

    Here's the city water inlet now fed with new PEX-A tubing. You can see I drilled a hole in the cabinet to feed the cold water line into the adjacent cabinet where the outside shower box and galley sink are fed. I'm trying to keep most of the water lines in the cabinets rather than under the floor. I drilled an adjacent hole for the hot water line as well.
    IMG-1411.JPG IMG-1412.JPG

    I disconnected the water heater and removed the add-on bypass kit. I used these neat Uponor ball valves that have the correct F1960-style fitting on each end, ready to be inserted into expanded PEX-A. Here's part of the bypass being built and the finished bypass:
    IMG-1413.JPG IMG-1415.JPG

    I removed a small cabinet where the water pump/water heater switches are to gain access to the outside shower box. Once the metal cover was removed, I got to replace more mildewy swivel connections. I'll have to cut some openings in the bottom of the metal cover to allow the PEX to drop down into the cabinet without any risk of chafing against the rough cutouts for the hoses.

    The galley sink was also fed with the same 3/8" braised hose as the rest of the camper. I'm going to pipe in some PEX-A 1/2" NPT threaded male adapters (one hot, one cold) in the cabinet under the sink to allow me to use stainless steel braided supply hoses for the faucet hookups. That'll give me the flexibility I need for the swing-down galley.

    Now I have to shoot some blue and red PEX through the floor, with 90* elbows, ~5' run along the bottom of the floor to tee's where the shower lines go up through the floor. New swivel fittings for the shower faucet. At the other end of those tees is a short section of tubing and the low point drains. I'll post some more pics when I get some more fittings in from SupplyHouse.

    I relocated the water pump from it's original mounting point on the side of the cabinet. It's now on the floor instead for a neater piping arrangement. I may devise a foam-sandwich type of mounting platform for the pump to sit on. This will also give me a location to put an accumulator tank in the future.

    -Nick
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019

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