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Thread: WIRSBO Aquapex

  1. #1
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    Default WIRSBO Aquapex

    Just inspected a home with this type of plumbing. The brass connections have a stamp that a ppear to have a "Q" with a "V" stamped over it. The question is, has there been any issues with this type of pex plumbing? It seams that almost all pex plumbing has been invoved in a class action. Is this one of them?

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  2. #2
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Did not find anything negative on a goggle search. One positive on Plumbers forum.
    PEX - Wirsbo Aquapex vs. Rehau Raupex [Archive] - Terry Love's Plumbing & Remodel DIY advice forum

    Found this also . Scroll down a bit and you will see Wirsbo info. Looks like this supply Cc will not sell any pex.
    Pex - Crosslink PolyEthylene questions - FAMOUS PLUMBING SUPPLY


  3. #3
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Hi,

    Uponor bought Wirsbo last year. It's a good product and has been used in this country longer than any other brand of PEX.

    PEX in general is a good product; its weak link is the installers - they tend to take shortcuts. PEX is not very forgiving of shortcuts. Where have you heard that almost all PEX plumbing has been involved in a lawsuit? I've never heard that. I remember one class action a few years ago but it centered around the install and I can only remember one lawsuit involving a defective product.

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike


  4. #4
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    DING DING DING!!

    If the fittings have a "Q" on them this could be a problem. "Q" stamped on the brass fittings is for "Quest", this is a Zurn product and is part of the problematic fittings made in China by Zurn.

    They might have used Wirsbo PEX pipe and Zurn fittings. This is a problem in itself as they have mixed a system and neither manufacturer will approve of such an installation.

    This is a link to Uponor who as Mike said now owns Wirsbo. This link shows the fitting that is to be used with the pipe. Uponor - For Professionals

    Picture of a Wirsbo brass fitting.

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    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 03-30-2008 at 09:28 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Hi Scott,

    Yeah, I'd heard about the Zurn lawsuit but the Zurn fittings are supposed to have a Q with the word PEX stamped on them - not a V. Can you point me to anything about the Q with a V?

    OT - OF!!!

    M.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael P. O'Handley View Post
    Hi Scott,

    Yeah, I'd heard about the Zurn lawsuit but the Zurn fittings are supposed to have a Q with the word PEX stamped on them - not a V. Can you point me to anything about the Q with a V?

    OT - OF!!!

    M.
    Hi Mike,

    It can have "Q" or "Q PEX". I don't know anything about "V" being on the fitting.

    Look at this site, it is the class action lawsuit on Zurn. It has a good deal of information and pictures.
    Zurn&reg Class Action Informational Website

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael P. O'Handley View Post
    Hi Scott,

    Yeah, I'd heard about the Zurn lawsuit but the Zurn fittings are supposed to have a Q with the word PEX stamped on them - not a V. Can you point me to anything about the Q with a V?

    OT - OF!!!

    M.

    That was my thinking also. Scott may be on to something?


  8. #8
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Here is a pic of the brass fitting.

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  9. #9
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Mike. Here is link to the Uponor site. Same site Scott posted. To the top right is Technical questions phone number. You could call and ask about that Q-V.
    Let us know if you find anything out.
    Uponor - Customer Service


  10. #10
    Mike Cudahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Looks like you have a Vanguard PEX fitting, with copper crimp rings. You can check with go-no go gauges.

    The logo is a V inside a semi circle, the bottom of the q bit might be a (C). Vanguard Piping Systems, Inc. - Welcome

    Viega has purchased Vanguard.

    The tubing name should be rollmarked on it, and I don't have a technical or code issue with mixing fittings and tubing from manufacturers as long as the fittings are marked with an ASTM number the tubing manfacturer indicates is OK to use with the tubing.

    The issue for the installers and owners is a manufacturer may not give a full warrantee in a mixed manufacturer system.

    Mike
    PPFA


  11. #11
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Tracy View Post
    It seams that almost all pex plumbing has been invoved in a class action. Is this one of them?
    Not true, only Zurn has a class action lawsuit and it is for the fittings.

    I agree with Mike C., that the fitting in your picture is a Vanguard fitting. The concern I would have is if the plumber mixed brands and used Wirsbo PEX pipe and Vanguard fittings.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    I inspected a home last month that had WIRSBO Aquapex. After researching the product, I called out the fact that the manufacturer notes that the Aquapex product is a non-oxygen barrier type tubing approved for hot and cold potable water up to 100 psi BUT that when used on radiant heating systems with cast iron pumps and boilers, has been known to prematurely rust the cast iron components. For that application, they recommend their alternate oxygen barrier type products, ThermoPex or hePex.

    First time post. Learn a lot from you guys.
    .
    Sal Castro
    Long Island, NY


  13. #13
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Hi Sal,

    So, the home that you inspected has hydronic heat; that's why you called it?


    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike


  14. #14
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Hi,

    To the originator of the thread; Mike, that's not Wirsbo PEX. The Wirsbo product, and the Uponor product after it, uses the shrink-fit connections. I didn't remark on it earlier in this thread because I thought when Uponor bought Wirsbo last year they might have made some changes. However, I just toured the Uponor site and, other than some of the milky PEX with colored sleeves on it for identification, they are still using the same milky PEX with the same shrink-fit connections.

    It could be a Vanguard product as Scott and Mike Cudahay said or it could be any one of a half dozen other products.

    Sal, if you look at the other thread about PEX fittings, you'll see where an attorney had a piece of PEX attached to a fitting band-sawed open. The PEX in that photo is barrier PEX and you can see the thin aluminum inner layer that prevents oxygen migration.

    The thing folks have to key in on here is the fact that the lawsuit is about a faulty brass fitting product and it is not about faulty pipe. The Chinese seem to have a problem with quality control, don't they? As they get richer and richer and competition growns between companies over there, more and more Chinese companies seem to be taking shortcuts and getting caught at it. There have been lots of problems in the plumbing industry with plumbing products produced in China; it's not exactly a secret. Not all Chinese-made castings are bad, but enough have developed issues that lots of plumbing and mechanical folks are gunshy about Chinese-made stuff and the American companies are currently running full-page adds in some of the plumbing journals trying to scare the bejezzus out of folks so that they'll buy only American-made products.

    Around here, there is a bunch of Japanese pipe that was made in the 70's that tends to develop pinholes in it. Plumbers know about it. Dealing with it is just another day at work for them and they don't go around condemning all copper pipe because of it. It was the same way with polybutylene pipe; not all polybutylene fittings were bad, but folks began spreading so much misinformation about PB pipe that to this day, even though the issue with the poorly formulated fittings is long gone, lots of inspectors are condemning PB pipe for no other reason than it is made out of PB. I've seen folks outright condemn PEX pipe simply because it's a form of plastic and declare that copper pipe is superior. Well, copper is superior in some ways and inferior in others. Copper pipe isn't immune to problems; anyone in a state with aggressive water knows that.

    Please don't start this again with PEX. PEX has been used successfully in Europe for about four decades and it was a quarter of a century after they began using it in Europe that it first began showing up here in the US. There have been faulty plumbing copper, pvc, cpvc, polyethylene, polybutylene, and PEX products. There will always be faulty products regardless of what they are made from. We shouldn't be wholesale suspicious of systems just because we are unfamiliar with them and have heard that one company has had a quality control problem; when something like that happens, we should work harder at educating ourselves about the entire product spectrum and particularly about the issue of the defective product. Once we become familiar with that issue, we should only apply it to the particular product at question.

    Sorry about the soap box but I really like these systems and always have. Years ago I contacted all of the product suppliers in the US and obtained copies of their installation manuals and took the time to study the various installation methods. Last year, a bunch of inspectors attended a two-day training seminar in Mississippi where we learned a lot about the product, saw the pipe, fittings, and manifolds being manufactured, and got to play around with every system currently in use. Just like any other plumbing product out there, its primary Achillees heel is the installers and then the few defective products that are showing up.

    Stay educated about the product and the various systems and the deficient products showing up, but be fair and think twice before telling someone that a system is no good just because you might be unfamiliar with it.

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike

    Last edited by Michael P. O'Handley; 03-31-2008 at 09:18 AM.

  15. #15
    Mike Cudahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Good post - only to correct the "barrier" PEX info:

    Plastic pipe, usually PEX, with an aluminum layer is generally considered "composite tubing" or given a name like PEX-AL-PEX. There are also "composite" tubing made of RT-PE (raised temperature polyethylene) and even CPVC now.

    PEX can be manufactured with an outside layer of a different plastic material that stops oxygen from migrating across the PEX wall. So you can have a "barrier" PEX without an aluminum layer. This is, I suspect, is actually the more common type of oxygen barrier.

    Uponor can also supply red and blue tubing, not just the white-semi-translucent as well, so trust nothing but the roll marks -

    Mike
    PPFA


  16. #16
    Michael P. O'Handley's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cudahy View Post
    Uponor can also supply red and blue tubing, not just the white-semi-translucent as well, so trust nothing but the roll marks -

    Mike
    PPFA
    Thanks Mike, that's good to know. However, one thing that I've noticed about the Wirsbo/Uponor product is that, though I've never physically measured the stuff or bothered to actual look at the spec numbers, it seems to have a thicker sidewall and overall diameter than some brands, and it all is connected with their proprietary method of putting on the PEX shrink-to-fit collar, expanding it with a special tool, shoving it onto the fitting, and then allowing it to shrink, versus the crimp fitting methods being used by other manufacturers.

    So, if it has a shrink-fit plastic ring, like the one shown in the photo on the EP fitting below, it is certainly either Wirsbo or Uponor, correct? However, it's gonig to be hard to tell, by just looking at it without looking at the roll markings, which other manufacturer's product you are looking at.

    ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

    Mike

    P.S.

    Sorry about the deleted post and the photo; I'm not too familiar with how Brian's software works.




    Last edited by Michael P. O'Handley; 03-31-2008 at 10:13 AM.

  17. #17
    Mike Cudahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    If I pushed the right buttons , there is a Uponor tubing image below.

    The ASTM numbers to the upper right; (ASTM F1960, F1807, F2023, F2080, F2098) are all fitting "types" they approve for use with the tubing.

    The "cold expansion" type fitting with the reinforcing ring that most of this is currently connected with is ASTM F1960, but it is possible to see other types used, and they would be acceptable for use technically, if in that list.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    Yes it had hydronic heat and a cast iron boiler and circulating pump.

    Sounds to me like hePex is a better product then AquaPex for that application even though it is more expensive.

    Wirsbo hePEX plus Technical Data
    Wirsbo hePEX plus is an oxygen diffusion barrier tubing and is designed for use in closed loop hydronic systems operating at temperatures up to 200F. Corrosive or ferrous components may be used in Wirsbo hePEXplus circulating loops.



  19. #19
    Richard Franklin's Avatar
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    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    PEX piping as a product does not seem to be the problem. PEX piping was developed in Europe right after WW II and has had good success. It is the fittings that present problems.

    I have been involved with lawsuits primarily using Kitec which is an aluminum pipe covered with PEX. The problem are the alloy fittings which the manufacturer recommends using the plastic fittings when soil and water conditions exist that will cause corrosion.

    I have recently had problems in certain investigations where WIRSBO has been used. I believe that there are number of conditions that contribute to this failure. Water, Soils conditions, minerals, etc. Plus the use of dissimilar metal connections in the system.

    As a builder also, I now insist that my plumber use the plastic fittings rather than the alloy fittings. Plastic does not seem to be a problem, especially with our soils, water and minerals.

    Last edited by Richard Franklin; 08-28-2008 at 11:58 PM. Reason: spelling

  20. #20

    Default Re: WIRSBO Aquapex

    I was looking for forum on PEX or more specifically Wirsbo hePEX pipe splits. Has anyone ever seen the type of split shown in the attached pic? If so, under what circumstances.

    Also, I know the original posts to this forum were in 2008 I will contribute some comments for anyone interested. The main issue with open loop systems is continued availability of oxygenated water that will slowly corrode the boiler and lead to deposits within the system, plus oxygen and chlorine will promote oxidation of the PEX tube (which it is designed to withstand over the projected 40-50 year design life). The issue with Kitec fittings in the Nevada litigation had to do with dezincification of the brass fittings. The reason was aggressive water in Nevada and is generally not a problem in most water. The issue with the PEX tubing appears to be an interaction between the fitting and the aluminum layer within the tube (Kitec is a PEX-Aluminum-PEX layered material). When this occurs it shows up as dark spots on the outside of the tubing, indicating there is a corrosion process in the aluminum layer. I have numerous pics of this phenomenon if anyone is interested.

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