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  1. #1
    Tom Rees's Avatar
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    Default Pex piping and fittings

    I have been a little confused recently with all the concern about pex piping, fittings (Zurn) etc. Would someone let me know how to indentify the problem products, fittings etc., it seems that every time i turn around there is a new concern or wrong way to install etc. I have a disclaimer in my report whenever I see these products but would like to offer my clients more specific rather than general advice. Thank you.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    I have been a little confused recently with all the concern about pex piping, fittings (Zurn) etc. Would someone let me know how to indentify the problem products, fittings etc., it seems that every time i turn around there is a new concern or wrong way to install etc. I have a disclaimer in my report whenever I see these products but would like to offer my clients more specific rather than general advice. Thank you.
    The ZURN fittings that are in question will have Made in China stamped on them. The brass alloy mixture had problems and caused the fittings to split and crack. Try doing a Google search and you should be able to get some additional information.

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

  3. #3
    Shawn Raiter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Gentlemen:

    I am the attorney that brought the first class action lawsuit against Zurn for the problems with pex fittings. The fittings at issue in the various cases against Zurn are the brass pex fittings.

    Zurn's brass pex fittings can be identified by their "Q" or "Q PEX" stamp. The Q stands for Qest, which is a trade name Zurn has used for its pex systems. There is not necessarily a "made in" stamp on these fittings.

    You can see pictures of some of the kinds of fittings at issue in these lawsuits by visiting Zurn&reg Class Action Informational Website.

    Thanks.

    Shawn M. Raiter


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Raiter View Post
    Gentlemen:

    I am the attorney that brought the first class action lawsuit against Zurn for the problems with pex fittings. The fittings at issue in the various cases against Zurn are the brass pex fittings.

    Zurn's brass pex fittings can be identified by their "Q" or "Q PEX" stamp. The Q stands for Qest, which is a trade name Zurn has used for its pex systems. There is not necessarily a "made in" stamp on these fittings.

    You can see pictures of some of the kinds of fittings at issue in these lawsuits by visiting Zurn&reg Class Action Informational Website.

    Thanks.

    Shawn M. Raiter
    Hi Shawn,

    Thanks for sharing the information. It is very timely. I learned something today about the Zurn fittings, I don't know if it is true or not but it makes a whole lot of sense! I was told that Zurn changed the thickness of their fittings in order to increase the inside diameter of the fittings to help increase the flow of water. This is another reason that the fittings started to fail.

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

  5. #5
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Raiter View Post
    I am the attorney that brought the first class action lawsuit against Zurn for the problems with pex fittings. The fittings at issue in the various cases against Zurn are the brass pex fittings.
    Shawn,

    From your web page regarding Zurn fittings: "Zurn has also stopped selling the brass fittings elsewhere and is now touting its plastic Pex fittings" ...

    I recommend you stay abreast of those plastic fittings, that was the second failure with PB pipe installations.

    The first failure was the aluminum crimp rings, then, when the aluminum crimp rings were changed to copper crimp rings, the plastic fittings began to fail, resulting in copper crimp rings and copper fittings.

    You may be able to 'just update your file' (so to speak) and file a whole new case and get another judgment for it.

    Best of luck in generating a continuous stream of income - something which would be nice if we all could do it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    Bruce King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Does anyone know when Zurn changed the wall thickness?

    Inspected a house today built in late 2001 and it has Qpex fittings.
    Note the improper crimp but it has leaked at the other crimp.
    Only one side of the fitting will indicate "QPEX"

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  7. #7
    Shawn Raiter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Bruce:

    The fittings at issue in our suit were installed as early as the late 1990's.

    We believe that the primary problem with the fittings relates to the type of brass used. The high zinc content brass Zurn chose can fail in this type of crimp system installation because of dezincification and stress corrosion cracking.

    Hope this helps.

    Shawn Raiter


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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Has anyone experience any loss of pressure or flow with these systems? I ask, because I recently inspected a large home and when the shower, sink and toilet were operated, there was virtually no pressure present at the shower head or the sink faucet.

    There was also a discrepancy between the hot and cold pressures as well. At first I thought it was just a bad valve in the washing machine because that was the first place I checked. The laundry room sink was just as bad and with the washing machine on, hardly any pressure was observed at the faucet.

    This home was built in 2006.

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  9. #9
    Shawn Raiter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    It may be a problem with dezincification. This problem causes buildup in the pipes.

    See the pictures below, which come from the lawsuit involving Kitec plumbing.




  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Van De Ven View Post
    Has anyone experience any loss of pressure or flow with these systems? I ask, because I recently inspected a large home and when the shower, sink and toilet were operated, there was virtually no pressure present at the shower head or the sink faucet.

    There was also a discrepancy between the hot and cold pressures as well. At first I thought it was just a bad valve in the washing machine because that was the first place I checked. The laundry room sink was just as bad and with the washing machine on, hardly any pressure was observed at the faucet.

    This home was built in 2006.
    Yes, you will find a loss of pressure with PEX. The reason has to do with the ID of the pipe and the fittings. The pipe must slide over the fitting so the fitting will have to have a smaller diameter to fit inside of the PEX pipe. This is one of the reasons that the PEX manufacturers recommend the use of a manifold to help in the reduction of fittings. I look at PEX like aluminum wiring, you must upsize it to compensate of the reduction of flow.

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

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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Thanks for the replies!
    I noticed on this particular house, that the lines going to the whirlpool tub were, what appeared to be 1/2 inch or smaller.
    This home didn't have the manifold system. It was run just like copper, only with PEX.

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  12. #12
    Bruce King's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    No loss of flow or pressure in my home with 3/4 pex and piped with no manifold.
    My well pump cycles from 55psi to near 70psi.

    Some homes may use too much 1/2 pipe and the cheap built homes have really crappy fixtures. The problem is not with 3/4 pex.


    You have to remember the low flow faucets and shower heads used in newer construction and you should have at least 60psi supplied to the home for good performance. 45- 50psi might be adequate but weak and 70 psi should be blasting water out of large tubs which have high flow tub faucets.

    Most issues are traceable to fine debris in the faucet screens which can be really bad after new construction or ongoing with well water even when filtered through the best filter available.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Often times the "installers" of Pex will use excessive quantities of fittings, simply because it is so easy to add them.

    If they had to sweat each of those connections, they'd look for a more direct run.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    No loss of flow or pressure in my home with 3/4 pex and piped with no manifold.
    My well pump cycles from 55psi to near 70psi.

    Some homes may use too much 1/2 pipe and the cheap built homes have really crappy fixtures. The problem is not with 3/4 pex.


    You have to remember the low flow faucets and shower heads used in newer construction and you should have at least 60psi supplied to the home for good performance. 45- 50psi might be adequate but weak and 70 psi should be blasting water out of large tubs which have high flow tub faucets.

    Most issues are traceable to fine debris in the faucet screens which can be really bad after new construction or ongoing with well water even when filtered through the best filter available.

    I would agree with you Bruce, except that there was plenty of what appears to be 1/2 inch pipe and, I removed several aerators as well as a couple of shower heads.
    There were problems everywhere. I am waiting to hear back from the Client as to whether or not they bought the home. It was a foreclosure and they were getting a real good deal.

    Personally, I wouldn't have any of this stuff in my house!

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  15. #15
    David Banks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Hardly ever see pex here in MA. Wouldn't you know it todays townhouse had Zurn pex. Does anyone know the years of the fittings problems. This is brand new construction. 2007-8. Pics are poor quality. I hate when i do that!

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  16. #16
    Tom Rees's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    David, From what I can see at all the web sites etc., all brass fittings are suspect. I would ask Shawn Reiter who is lawyer for lawsuit. His info is earler in this same discussion.

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Recent testing by the NAHB (National Assoc. of Home Builders) shows that there is no difference between Pex and copper when it comes to fixture demand, even with multiple fixtures flowing. (look at the orafices in a shower valve, they are very, very, very tiny! Why worry about fittings?)


  18. #18
    Mike Cudahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Last poster is correct, and upsizing tubing without good reason is wasteful of hot water.

    Copper has velocity limitations 4-5 ft/s other materials do not have to prevent hot water cavitation corrosion. Fixtures are also very restricted these days. However, good design and layout should be followed as in very long runs pressure drop is possible in all materials.

    The codes and the Design Guide - Residential PEX Water Supply Plumbing Systems PEX Design Guide can help with charts on flow rates and pressure drops.

    Just adding 90's elbows to any system will increase the effective length of a run. The advantage of flexible tubing is avoiding fittings and rapid changes in direction.

    Mike
    PPFA


  19. #19
    John Goad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    What are some of you putting in your reports about the Zurn fitting failures & subsequent class action suits?

    Clarksville Home Inspection
    JW Goad
    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Goad View Post
    What are some of you putting in your reports about the Zurn fitting failures & subsequent class action suits?
    I guess if I came across it and it had the fittings that are in question I would simple tell that they are involved in a suit and provide the website for them to get additional information.
    I have not seen any Zurn in a few years, I see mostly Wirsbo.

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

  21. #21
    Brad Spell's Avatar
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    Question Re: Pex piping and fittings?

    Was under a 1955 home yesterday and would like help Identifying the the pipe attached to the copper pipe. Here are a couple of photos and other than the obvious problems in the picture is this PEX pipe connected to the copper? If not what is the proper name for it. The home was said to be fully repiped with copper.
    Thanks, Brad

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  22. #22
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: PEX piping and fittings?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Spell View Post
    The home was said to be fully repiped with copper.
    The 'sure thing' which you can say is that the home was not fully re-piped with copper.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    And, since there are four different type of piping, you could probably safely say that no permit was pulled or inspections were done.

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  24. #24
    Ken Zapen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    I doubt that dezincification is the problem. The dezincification of certain yellow brass alloys was only a problem in some parts of Nevada and surrounding areas. It was actually due to the chemical makeup of that water supply and has been an isolated event. Florida has had no such problems. Indeed, most of the USA has had no such problems.

    ~Ken Zapen, master plumber, Florida plumbing contractor

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Raiter View Post
    It may be a problem with dezincification. This problem causes buildup in the pipes.

    See the pictures below, which come from the lawsuit involving Kitec plumbing.




  25. #25
    Ken Zapen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Actually, the Zurn fittings that failed were because of "stress corrosion cracking". It was a specific batch of fittings that were affected. The stress corrosion cracking was caused by poor machining practice (dull tools, cold machining of certain alloys) that cause micro fractures in the internal walls of the brass fittings. These fractures then rapidly spread when the crack interiors start to oxidize. Most of the failures occurred in the northern United States.

    As far as I know, the problem was corrected and no such failures have occurred in newer batches of Zurn fittings (Not much consolation for the people that received the older defective batch though.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    The ZURN fittings that are in question will have Made in China stamped on them. The brass alloy mixture had problems and caused the fittings to split and crack. Try doing a Google search and you should be able to get some additional information.


    Last edited by Ken Zapen; 06-04-2010 at 07:23 AM. Reason: addition

  26. #26
    Dale Ganfield's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Here are a couple photos which I believe may fit in the class which is suspect. How can this be confirmed? How would one id the batch as Ken Zapen mentions. I have a personal interest since they are located the basement of my 2003 home.

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  27. #27
    Rich Goeken's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Cudahy View Post
    Last poster is correct, and upsizing tubing without good reason is wasteful of hot water.

    Copper has velocity limitations 4-5 ft/s other materials do not have to prevent hot water cavitation corrosion. Fixtures are also very restricted these days. However, good design and layout should be followed as in very long runs pressure drop is possible in all materials.

    The codes and the Design Guide - Residential PEX Water Supply Plumbing Systems PEX Design Guide can help with charts on flow rates and pressure drops.

    Just adding 90's elbows to any system will increase the effective length of a run. The advantage of flexible tubing is avoiding fittings and rapid changes in direction.

    Mike
    PPFA

    Mike,

    A while back I had a thread dealing with PEX in a South Carolina retirement community that we are considering for relocation. I had discussed the installation with the plumber (through the sales office) concerning 1/2" PEX in the bathroom. It appeared that one 1/2" PEX was serving 3 to 4 fixtures. Manifold was not used.

    The answer I got back was by code he was permitted to put 3 fixtures on a 1/2" PEX, and that 1/2" made the water flow faster than if he brought 3/4" to the bathroom and then took 1/2" feeds from the 3/4".

    Your comments on good design and that of the PEX design guide plus are apparently trumped by the "code".

    I am in NJ, and my experience here is that plumbers subscribe to "good design" while in other states it may be questionable.

    BTW. How do you waste hot water by upsizing (assuming from 1/2")?


  28. #28
    Tom Rees's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

  29. #29
    Darrel Hood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pex piping and fittings

    One of the major marketing statements for PEX type plumbing in this region is that every run is a home run. I have seen homes built using PEX with no in line fittings from the manifold to the fixtures. When I do a phase inspection, and see more than one or two inline connections, I mention to the client that they are losing some of the value they are paying for.

    Darrel Hood
    DILIGENT PROPERTY SERVICES


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