Flex pipe can be PEX tubing or PVC flex pipe, both of which are made out of plastic polymers. Flexible pipes can develop stress cracks if the crimps on the ends of the pipe were made too tight. They can also leak due to faulty or corroded seals. Flex pipe is easy to install. Its low cost is one reason why some home builders and owners are using it for their water pipes. Repairing PEX and PVC flex pipe can be done by just about anyone.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- PEX tubing cutter
- PEX crip ring
- Measuring tape
- Pocket PEX crimping tool
- Thick rubber band
- Vice grips
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Paper towel
- Rigid PVC fittings
- PVC medium body cement
- PVC primer
- PVC cleaner
Cut off the part of the PEX tubing that is damaged by using the PEX tubing cutter, taking care to make the cut as clean as possible, without any burrs or ridges on the surface.
Place the black plastic crimp ring over the end of the tubing that you cut. Slide the crimp ring 1/8-inch down from the end of the tubing. Insert the PEX fitting attachment.
Insert the PEX tubing end with crimp ring and attachment into the pocket PEX crimping tool. Slip a thick rubber band over the crimping tool to hold it shut and keep the PEX tubing in the proper position. Squeeze the small end of the crimping tool with the vice grips until the pocket crimper is all the way closed down onto the PEX tubing. Keep squeezing and adjusting the vice grip as necessary until a full crimp is made on the PEX tubing.
Check the crimp with a "Go/No Go" gauge. A proper crimp will allow the "go" side of the gauge to slide over the crimped ring and fit perfectly. If both the "go" and "no go" sides of the gauge fit over the crimp ring, the crimp is too tight and will cause the pipe or fitting to crack under stress. Cut off the end and redo the above steps and measure it to make sure that you crimped the PEX tubing properly. If neither of the gauges slide over the crimp, it is too loose and the crimp will leak. Place the PEX with the crimp ring end back into the pocket crimper and apply more pressure to tighten up the crimp.
Cut off the damaged PVC fitting or pipe with the hacksaw. Cut the flex PVC pipe to the length of the pipe that you are replacing. Carefully remove any burs from the cut edge by scraping them off with a utility knife.
Wipe the ends of the pipe with a paper towel to remove any dust, debris, or water that may be present in the PVC flex pipe.
Make a trial fit of the PVC flex pipe. It should slip easily onto the fitting and go one-third of the way into the socket without much force.
Wipe the PVC cleaner onto the male and female ends of the pipe joint to remove any residual films. Use the dauber on the end of the cleaner cap. Wait one minute to allow it to dry. Apply purple PVC primer to the PVC fitting with the dauber on the primer cap. Cover the entire surface of the joint. Do not put the purple primer on the PVC flex pipe as it is made out of softer PVC and it will degrade the plastic.
When the primer has completely dried, apply in a circular motion an even coat of PVC cement to the fitting by using the dauber on the cement cap. Set the fitting down. Apply a liberal coat of cement on the exterior of the PVC flex pipe. Push the PVC flex pipe into the fitting while making a quarter turn to distribute the cement evenly. Hold the PVC flex pipe and the fitting together for one minute to allow the cement to bond.
Wipe off any excess cement with dry wet cloth. Let the PVC flex pipe and fitting sit for 24 hours to allow the cement to set or cure. Repeat this process to attach the joint to another piece of PVC flex pipe.
Tips and warnings
- Use PVC cement and primer in a well-ventilated area.
- Do not reinstall the flex pipe until it passes the "go/no go" test to ensure that the piping is up to building code standards to avoid receiving fines for improper plumbing.
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