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Some hotwater pipes are not copper. Is it right?

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  1. #1
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    Default Some hotwater pipes are not copper. Is it right?

    Hi, all

    Our bathroom is being renovated. The plumber just installed hotwater pipes behind the wall today. I noticed that majority of pipes are made of copper but some are not, they look like black plastic and about 50cm to 80cm long. The plumber said they are used to prevent vibration when the tap is turned on. As far as I know, in the old days, all hotwater pipes were made of copper/brass.

    Is there something wrong or I am far behind new technology?

    Thank you

    Jessie

  2. #2
    Member duckman's Avatar
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    Entire houses are now plumbed with PVC pipes, both hot and cold water in lieu of copper.

    HTH,
    I wanted to become a brickie but my old man said "No son, learn a trade."

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    I think youll find all new houses are plumbed in plastic to keep the cost down, and I read somewhere that the copper over time can can give you metal poisoning.

    Al

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    Wood Wrecker outback's Avatar
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    Rubbish Al, Thee is nothing wrong with copper pipes. They said the same thing about the lead ones the Romans used too. I used lead for all our plumbing and just look at me.
    Boring signature time again!

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    Thank you very much, guys. Now I'm convinced that PVC pipes are used for hotwater system these days. It's great I am catching up with new technologies.

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    And in years to come they will say, owwh bugger, about that plastic pipe.........

    Al

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    The typo kign Gumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by outback View Post
    They said the same thing about the lead ones the Romans used
    Maybe so, but what have the Romans ever done for us ?
    If at first you don't succeed, give something else a go. Life is far too short to waste time trying.

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    It should be ABS plastic, not PVC for pressure pipe - ABS is considerably stronger and tends to bend rather than shattering into pointy shards. Is your hotwater heater a gravity/off peak or a mains/on demand unit? PVC should be OK for a gravity system, otherwise its used for waste water/drainage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsrlee View Post
    It should be ABS plastic, not PVC for pressure pipe - ABS is considerably stronger and tends to bend rather than shattering into pointy shards. Is your hotwater heater a gravity/off peak or a mains/on demand unit? PVC should be OK for a gravity system, otherwise its used for waste water/drainage.
    Plastic is plastic as far as I'm concerned.
    I wanted to become a brickie but my old man said "No son, learn a trade."

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity echnidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
    Maybe so, but what have the Romans ever done for us ?
    They invented Salami Sausage

    and pizza

    and roman sandals

    dunno bout roman candles though

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    Mediocre Member Dr Jan Itor's Avatar
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    SWMBO's family tell me they stopped using copper in the US because people were ripping it off building sites even after it was plumbed in.

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    Parent's house was built in 1996 and is fully plumbed in plastic. All the junctions and joinres are brass with push fit fittings. Took only a day to plumb a very large house with little other equipment apart from a drill and a hacksaw - no solder, gas bottles and other OHS threats plus it was quick. The plumber thought this stuff was marvellous and after ten years and no dramas so do the olds.

    If you are interested http://www.auspex.com.au/PushFitSystem/ & http://www.reece.com.au/plumbing/products/talbot
    Joined RF in 2006...Resigned in 2020.

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    Wood Wrecker outback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by echnidna View Post
    They invented Salami Sausage

    and pizza

    and roman sandals

    dunno bout roman candles though

    Wotabout
    Roman in the gloamin'?
    Boring signature time again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsrlee View Post
    It should be ABS plastic, not PVC for pressure pipe - ABS is considerably stronger and tends to bend rather than shattering into pointy shards. Is your hotwater heater a gravity/off peak or a mains/on demand unit? PVC should be OK for a gravity system, otherwise its used for waste water/drainage.
    I was under the impression that PVC or more accurately UPVC was no longer used for water pipes because of the chlorine gas leakage?

    I was also under the impression that they were going to faze it out for stormwater and sewer because of some environmental byproducts with the manufacturing process.

    I may have this wrong so if you know... post away.
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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    The stuff they use now is called PEX which is the acronym for cross-linked high-density polyethylene. Not a big fan of it myself but I suppose sooner or later it will replace copper altogether, unless something new comes out in the meantime.

    The main thing I have against it is that the fittings reduce the internal diameter of the pipe (because they push inside it) and can cause pressure problems if you don't design the installation to suit it. I believe it is similar price to copper but costs heaps less to install because it is quick. However, you really have to use more of it than you would in a copper system because of the limitations - instead of a single line carrying hotwater around your house, you're supposed to install a separate line to each tap from a manifold near the HWS. That's not to say that many plumbers do it that way, if any...

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    Also, UPVC (unplastisised PVC) is the stuff they make sewer and storm water pipes from. They do use CPVC (chlorinated PVC) for hot and cold water supply but I think PEX is all but eliminating it.

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    1K Club Member journeyman Mick's Avatar
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    Rats have been known to chew holes in pex, polybutylene and PVC pipes, but as far as I know they don't chew copper pipes.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    Actually, I know someone who claims that has happened to them. They'll chew through electrical cables, so I don't see why they wouldn't chew through plastic pipes.

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    1K Club Member journeyman Mick's Avatar
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    A plumber mate down near Brissie refuses to use anything but copper because he's had to replace rat damaged pipes.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

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    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
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    I've just spent the last 2 hrs trawling through information about the dangers of PVC.

    I will never buy a tray of meat from woolies with glad wrap on again.

    What about tupperware containers.....Jeez I feel sick.

    If half this information is correct (some of it is obvious scare mongering by greenpeace etc and some is propaganda by the industrial lobby) some is informative and unbiased.......

    What is up with this world where corporations put profits above their customers health ?
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    What is up with this world where corporations put profits above their customers health ?
    Can you believe you just asked that?

    PVC has nothing on tobacco and asbestos

  22. #22
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silentC View Post
    Can you believe you just asked that?

    Yes, sorry about that a momentary lapse of cynicism
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    1K Club Member Master Splinter's Avatar
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    The first 15 pages of results on Google for PVC dangers seemed to be mostly greenpeace/blogs/consumer concerns and paranoia sites.

    I hate to say it, but the members of these sorts of organisations would happily sign the petition to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide*. Well meaning, but not a clue (and that's discounting the automatic anti big business slant that often goes with them).

    This site likes to actually check what they are claiming by actually looking at the research findings, rather than just running the latest scare story verbatim.



    * A major component of acid rain, found in tumors, indicated as a causal factor in many fatal car accidents, causes rapid corrosion of steel, and overdosing on it is fatal.

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    Oink! Oink! pawnhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessie View Post
    Hi, all

    Our bathroom is being renovated. The plumber just installed hotwater pipes behind the wall today. I noticed that majority of pipes are made of copper but some are not, they look like black plastic and about 50cm to 80cm long. The plumber said they are used to prevent vibration when the tap is turned on. As far as I know, in the old days, all hotwater pipes were made of copper/brass.

    Is there something wrong or I am far behind new technology?

    Thank you

    Jessie
    It sounds like some kind of hammer arrester.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by journeyman Mick View Post
    A plumber mate down near Brissie refuses to use anything but copper because he's had to replace rat damaged pipes.

    Mick
    They ate out a trap on a sink that I had just sitting in the garage. Chewed out a big hole in it for god knows what reason and they've chewed through a few of my cables as well. I hope they don't start on my drainage.
    I've heard that they're putting some kind of poison to repel them from cable nowadays. I don't know about PVC but it's a real problem if these ratbags can get sustenance from sparks and sewer services.
    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post
    * A major component of acid rain, found in tumors, indicated as a causal factor in many fatal car accidents, causes rapid corrosion of steel, and overdosing on it is fatal.
    That's nasty stuff alright. Watch out for it, it's all over the place.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post
    The first 15 pages of results on Google for PVC dangers seemed to be mostly greenpeace/blogs/consumer concerns and paranoia sites.




    I hate to say it, but the members of these sorts of organisations would happily sign the petition to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide*. Well meaning, but not a clue (and that's discounting the automatic anti big business slant that often goes with them).

    This site likes to actually check what they are claiming by actually looking at the research findings, rather than just running the latest scare story verbatim.

    Yes MS as I said in my post I am aware that there is a lot of hippy dippy scare mongering.
    But you have to be aware that even when you have a site claiming "We do not earn any income from the chemical Industry" that it doesn't mean that thet are not set up by the industry and get there incomes stream through a third party.

    I must admit I didnt read the site blurb that you linked to because as soon as I opened it , it looked like the other "We want to debunk those damn greenies that are spreading these lies" type sites. My oppologies if I'm wrong.
    Try this link which I found very unbiased and they manufacture childrens toys!http://www.turnertoys.com/PVC_framepage1.htm
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  27. #27
    PLU.MBR.BL.DR. bricks's Avatar
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    The water pipe they use is poltybutelyne, it is a smoother bore than copper and is also a larger size slightly, eg the copper 1/2 inch is now 18 mm and the 3/4 is now 22mm so the pipe is actually bigger and flows better. There is nothing wrong with it in my job i have tested it under pressure, they ussually blow at (8-9000 kpa) and even then the pipe splits and the joint stay put,.

    Pex pipe is used for high pressure gas and has the added benefit of being hard wearing, Its also used for hospital type applications because hospital pipes are often super heated overnight to kill bacteria and the regular pipe cant handle it.
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    The water pipe they use is poltybutelyne ... Pex pipe is used for high pressure gas
    Better tell these guys that, they sell PEX as water pipe:

    http://www.iplex.com.au/iplex/products/futurek2.shtm

  29. #29
    Alien in a Strange Land Honorary Bloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bricks View Post
    Pex pipe is used for high pressure gas and has the added benefit of being hard wearing.
    Pex water supply lines are now becoming standard over here in many cities, especially as the price of copper escalates. While it is expensive, the time saved in labour to install it makes it worthwhile. And you can control the various lines much more easily as it uses a manifold system, not unlike the electrical mains breakers in the house.

    But if the house is built on a slab, the pex usuallly runs through the attic. It can be buried in the slab but must be sleeved wherever it penetrates in or out. It would probably be even more widely used except for a lack of trained installers.
    Last edited by Honorary Bloke; 7th Feb 2007 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Corrected information
    Cheers,

    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honorary Bloke View Post
    Pex water supply lines are now becoming standard over here in many cities, especially as the price of copper escalates.
    I believe that you're allowed to do your own plumbing in the states. Is this the case Bob?
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


  31. #31
    PLU.MBR.BL.DR. bricks's Avatar
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    Silent C,
    If you click on your own link, go to the top of the page and click water supply you will come to a page that has the products they use for water supply i dont see pex pipe here, i do see iplex pro fit which is polybutelyne.

    If you go to plumbing you will see Iplex future 1 pipe which is a pex gas pipe.

    Future 2 is a new product and i have never ever ever seen it in a domestic situation, only comercial.

    Pex pipe in australia is really only used for gas or comercial installations such as hospitals which you so kindly neglected to quote.

    Jessies pipes are black, Iplex pro fit is grey,Iplex future 2 is grey, what he has is Rehau pipe, which once again is polybutelyne.

    Pex wont eliminate Poly because it costs more, plumbing ( like everything) is a profit driven industry if it costs more it aint being used.
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

  32. #32
    Alien in a Strange Land Honorary Bloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pawnhead View Post
    I believe that you're allowed to do your own plumbing in the states. Is this the case Bob?
    To some extent, yes. You can do your own plumbing for:

    Repairs to existing fittings and fixtures (for example, replace a hot water heater, fix a leak, etc.)

    New fittings and fixtures that do not require a building permit to install (for example, replace a tap, tap an existing water line to run a new water line to a different room, etc.)

    In fact, you can do your own plumbing even if it does require a permit, but you will have to have it inspected by the local building commission. About the only plumbing requiring a permit would be connecting directly to the city water line or changing the footprint of your home (adding a room).
    Cheers,

    Bob

    "The population of Sydney was divided into two classes, those who sold rum and those who drank it."
    --Dr George Macakness (1806)

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    Alien in a Strange Land Honorary Bloke's Avatar
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    Here is a link to more than you ever wanted to know about PEX plumbing,

    http://www.ppfahome.org/pex/faqpex.html
    Cheers,

    Bob

    "The population of Sydney was divided into two classes, those who sold rum and those who drank it."
    --Dr George Macakness (1806)

  34. #34
    1K Club Member journeyman Mick's Avatar
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    Bricks,
    maybe Pex isn't used for plumbing in SA, but it sure is in Qld. And it's definitely Pex, not polybutylene.

    Mick
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    If you click on your own link, go to the top of the page and click water supply you will come to a page that has the products they use for water supply i dont see pex pipe here, i do see iplex pro fit which is polybutelyne.
    PLEX FUTURE K2 Pipe is manufactured from Cross-linked Polyethylene and is joined together with either a high performance plastic - polyphenylene sulphone (PPSU) or dezincification resistant (DR) brass fitting with a fixed stainless steel crimp sleeve.

    Electron beam cross-linked Polyethylene (PE-Xc) is an advanced thermo-plastic material designed for hot & cold water systems in both domestic and commercial applications. PE-Xc heating pipes are produced with a diffusion oxygen barrier.
    Sometimes it helps to actually read what's on the page instead of just looking at the headings.

  36. #36
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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  37. #37
    Tradie Cabbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Master Splinter View Post

    I hate to say it, but the members of these sorts of organisations would happily sign the petition to ban the use of dihydrogen monoxide*. Well


    Haha lets all sign a petition banning water :P good one na most of these hippy ppl work on peoples lack of knowledge and love to brainwash them into believing anything. Geez just imagine what would happen if we belived everything we read on the net or in the papers. There was a case though of someone making a petition or something about "dihydrogen monoxide" saying how dangerous it was and loads of ppl fell for it. I aint sure where I saw or read that I just thought it funny because if they stopped and thought they would realise what it was hehe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabbie View Post
    There was a case though of someone making a petition or something about "dihydrogen monoxide" saying how dangerous it was and loads of ppl fell for it. I aint sure where I saw or read that I just thought it funny because if they stopped and thought they would realise what it was hehe.
    There have been lots of cases, but probably the most famous case of the gullible would have been the Viejo City Council: -
    In March 2004, Aliso Viejo, California almost considered banning the use of foam containers at city-sponsored events because dihydrogen monoxide is part of their production. The issue was put on the agenda of the City Council after a paralegal found mention of DHMO online and did not realize it was a joke. The item was pulled from the agenda before it could come to a vote, but not before the city received a raft of bad publicity
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    PLU.MBR.BL.DR. bricks's Avatar
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    ?
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bricks View Post
    Pex pipe in australia is really only used for gas or comercial installations such as hospitals which you so kindly neglected to quote.
    Have some respect for your elders sonny Jim. Someone needs to tan your hide with a switch by golly by gumbo by crikey! In my day, my old pappy woulda had me lickin his bootstraps for being so cheeky.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentC View Post
    Sometimes it helps to actually read what's on the page instead of just looking at the headings.
    Quote Originally Posted by silentC View Post
    A 26 year old who knows it all! Who would have thought
    These young whipersnappers need to be bent over your knee and given a good paddlin'!

    And all the "young Einstein" all can come up with is : -
    Quote Originally Posted by bricks View Post
    ?


    PS I'd still like to know how many plumbers it takes to change a light bulb.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


  41. #41
    PLU.MBR.BL.DR. bricks's Avatar
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    I am a construction manager for a nation wide plumbing company, we employ over 250 liscenced plumbers.

    It is my job to know these things,
    But im only 26,
    Perhaps i should go back to trade school?

    When new products become available, my company works closely with mainly S.A. water and the office of the technical regulator to feild test the products. When products are approved for use, my company is usually the at the forefront of their introduction into the industry.

    I asked my Iplex rep today why pex pipes are labeled as for Domestic Cold Water, he told me it is a technical term to distinguish clean water possibly for drinking from other water. Some pipe systems introduce contamination to the water.

    Seriously im over it.
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

  42. #42
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    it is a technical term to distinguish clean water possibly for drinking from other water
    Sounds like the sort of gobbledegook reps say when they haven't got a clue... If they're only for gas, why would they label them for domestic cold water? Sorry, but I wouldn't have accepted that from a rep because it doesn't make any sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bricks View Post
    Seriously im over it.
    I'm just havin a lend of ya Bricksy. I'm sure there's lots of good stuff in that brain of yours, ripe for pickin, so I'd better not paddle your bum just yet.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


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    Quote Originally Posted by bricks View Post

    Seriously im over it.
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

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    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    You give up too easy.

    Check these guys out: http://www.auspex.com.au/AuspexPipe/

    No one has told them it's only for gas either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silentC View Post
    You give up too easy.
    Try some Sorbolene on that hide of yours Bricksy.
    Cheers, John

    Short Stack (my son's band)


  47. #47
    PLU.MBR.BL.DR. bricks's Avatar
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    I was only trying to help poor jessie out, how do you think he feels causing this big rift between two woodies?

    Silent C seriously i believe you, im not on the eastern side of the country, they may well use pex as standard, It will work, it is legal.

    This i do know, In adelaide where i work, pex is not common, it is normally either pro fit brand or rehau brand, I have used it once, that was only in a hospital, because regular pipe wouldnt cope with the sterilization processes. Beleive it or not it was very interesting.
    If you dont play it, it's not an instrument!

  48. #48
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    Default Polybutylene pipes and solar HWS

    Hi everyone

    I've been searching the web for a couple of days looking for info on PB pipes and any recorded problems (class action stuff in US very worrying) and stumbled across your site. Our new house is almost finished and it has a solar HWS installed with a gas booster. The house is locked up, so we can't get inside yet to have a good look around, but we know that they've used PB pipes throughout the house, with maybe a little bit of copper immediately off the solar tank and coming out of the wall where gas booster is. We don't know if this copper is a continuous line, or if they've hidden PB in the cavity inbetween.

    It is possible that they've put a copper pipe to carry hot water from solar tank to the gas booster, then used PB pipes to carry the mixed water back into the wet areas. There is a tempering valve on the gas booster, but we don't know if there is another one in the roof immediately off the solar tank. They appear to be using the tempering valve not only to keep the water at less than 50 degrees in the bathrooms, but to the whole house, as well as stopping the uncontrolled solar hot water from damaging the PB piping (Iplex). They haven't asked us about this, they've just done it. Instead of a solar system with gas booster, we feel like we're getting a gas system with a solar booster, if they've put the entire water supply of the house through the gas HWS. We're also wondering about the water pressure, as water comes to the house off the mains, up to the solar tank on the second storey for heating, then down to the gas booster, where some of it gets sent upstairs again to the bathroom on the second floor (where the bath is).

    We can see us getting stuck with an ongoing plumbing bill for a new tempering valve, or if disaster strikes, walls ripped out and the entire plumbing system replaced. There are several parties involved: the company that sold the solar HWS to the builder, the plumber hired by the builder to install it, Iplex who made the PB pipes, the water authority (pressure and chlorine in water supply) and the company who made the gas booster system. Making a warranty or insurance claim could be impossible, as everyone would blame everyone else.

    So, my questions are: how long has PB been used in Australia or elsewhere and have there been any problems in Australia? Have any of you any experience of solar HWS used with PB pipes? Has our builder and his plumber done the right thing here, or just the cheapest options, which leaves us with a huge mess.

    Hope you can help

  49. #49
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    I'm not a plumber either but here's what I know having looked into them myself. The gas booster should only come on when the temp from the solar falls below the threshold temp. The water from the solar tank comes through trhe booster. If the temp is higher than the threshold, the water just passes through. If it is lower, the gas booster will switch on.

    It is also standard practice (probably compulsory) to fit a tempering valve to the outlet side of the HWS so that the hot water supply to the entire house is protected. We have one one ours. There is also a pressure restricting valve and a non return valve on the inlet side.

  50. #50
    1K Club Member journeyman Mick's Avatar
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    Tempering valves are mandatory in all new work. I've fitted PB piping to a large boat (accomodation for 48) with 8 bathrooms, plus an extra 2 toilets plus a commercial kitchen (and yes I know they're called heads and galleys). PB was used because it was an aluminium boat and copper tends to eat holes through aluminium via electrolysis. The boat has been in constant service for about ten years now, and no problems with the plumbing besides some initial failed fittings due to poor placement/angles and movement with extreme weather situations, everything has been fine.

    Up till a few years ago, PB was being used very extensively on quite a few communities up on Cape York as their water supplies were attacking copper piping. I believe that it's now mostly been superseded by PEX.
    PB specs call for (from memory) the first metre of line out of a hws to be
    copper.

    I don't believe they've done a dodgy on you.

    Mick
    Last edited by journeyman Mick; 14th Feb 2007 at 11:41 AM. Reason: fixed typos
    "If you need a machine today and don't buy it,

    tomorrow you will have paid for it and not have it."

    - Henry Ford 1938

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