Making the Best PEX Connections

first_imgCharacteristics vary by typeThere are actually three types of PEX, as a reference article supplied by GBA senior editor Martin Holladay explains (see the “Related articles” sidebar below). Types A, B, and C are manufactured differently, which affects characteristics such as flexibility, resistance to chlorine and oxidation, coil memory, and cost. The lettered designations aren’t grades, just references to the manufacturing process.For Richard McGrath, PEX-A is at the top of the heap. “PEX-A is produced with a better manufacturing process than PEX-B as the crosslinking takes place during the extrusion process,” McGrath writes. “PEX-A products usually achieve an 85% crosslinking while PEX-B products average a 65-70%.” Our expert’s opinionHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost sees it:I think you can collect just about as many opinions and recommendations on PEX tubing and fittings as there are types of tubing and fittings. When I asked around, I could not come up with a clear “winner” for either.So, let me add these two options to consider:Aquatherm polypropylene pipe. It’s inert, doesn’t react with chemicals, and withstands high pressure and temperatures, and the pipes are heat-fused — so the fitting is thicker and stronger than the base pipe. If you are looking for “forever” pipe — and are willing to pay for it — this is the way to go. I have seen this in many commercial buildings of late. When I ask, “Why polypropylene?”, the response is: it’s forever pipe, and can handle the widest range of temperatures and stuff dissolved in the water. (See Image #4, below.)Legend HyperPure pipe. A newer and therefore less proven candidate for those interested in a 100% recyclable alternative to PEX, this is a bi-modal polyethylene raised temperature (PE-RT) tubing. The resin for this tubing comes from Dow, and it’s called bi-modal because there are both high-molecular weight elements for strength and low-molecular weight elements for flexibility. Neither Legend nor Dow are exactly newcomers to piping and chemical formulations respectively, so while this piping solution may be less proven, it’s not the type of “high-risk” product we might associate with lesser-known start-up companies. PEX-A is more resistant to the chemicals commonly found in plumbing and heating systems than what it has replaced, he adds, and long-term testing by Uponor, one of the manufacturers of PEX-A, is very encouraging. The company holds an unofficial record for resisting high temperature and pressure, McGrath says, holding up to 175 pounds per square inch and 203°F between 1973 and 2009 — a stretch of 36 years.“There is not another manufacturer that can make that claim,” he says. From PexUniverse: Choosing the right type and brand for your projectHow Safe is PEX Tubing?Q&A: Can PEX pipe be reused after a fitting is removed? Q&A: Is it reasonable to use 3/8-inch PEX supply lines to all fixtures?Green Basics: Efficient Plumbing Supply Layouts Comparing methods for connecting tubing and fittingsPEX is often connected to a fitting with a metal band that is tightened with a dedicated crimping tool. The pressure of the ring is designed to permanently and reliably seal the connection against leaks. The crimping rings are made from stainless steel, copper, or brass.Uponor, however, uses a different type of connection. As demonstrated in this video, a plastic ring is fitted over the end of the tubing, and then an expansion tool is used to enlarge the tubing so it can fit over the end of the fitting. Very shortly after the two parts are brought together, the PEX tries to return to its original shape and as it does it tightens itself around the end of the fitting (see Images #2 and #3, below).The tubing, says McGrath, is always tightening around the fitting, unlike with a crimped connection in which the tubing is pushing back against the crimping ring and trying to loosen.“You cannot crimp Uponor PEX,” McGrath says. “A few years ago I was called to a group of modular homes to determine why the Uponor piping was leaking. Long story short, it was not the tubing leaking; the manufacturer of the home thought it would be OK to save on some fittings and used crimp rings and fittings made for other pipe, which are much smaller in diameter.“PEX always wants to get back to its original size and form (due to its ‘memory’),” he continues. “If you use other than Uponor fittings and crimp it, it will leak, and there will be no warranty for you.”Uponor frequently gets calls from plumbers who grow “argumentative” when told they can’t use crimping rings the plumbers already have on their trucks, McGrath says.“Those folks are always told that you can use them but there will be no warranty coverage,” he says. “What does that tell you? It clearly tells me that you cannot do it and expect any sort of system integrity. Uponor does not make a crimp ring fitting nor will a crimp ring fit over Uponor tubing when a Uponor fitting is used.” Mixing and matching doesn’t workMcGrath also warns against trying to use Uponor fittings with PEX-B tubing, or using incompatible fittings with PEX-A tubing made by Uponor or someone else.“Uponor’s fittings with PEX-B is quite entertaining,” he says. “One would have to expand the PEX-B and you can, but the tubing will probably eventually leak because the molecular linking is of such a low percentage and, again, why would one do it?”Results are equally disappointing when improperly sized fittings are used on Uponor’s or another brand of PEX-A, he continues.“The fact that PEX-B and C use a crimp shows their inferiority since they are warranted to not leak all the while the product should be attempting to reach its original dimension,” he says. “Remember, this tubing has memory. Turns out that PEX-B and C have less memory, apparently, since they are willing to stay in the constrained size, whereas the PEX-A products will push out against the crimp ring, whether stainless steel or copper, and a leak path will form every time.”center_img Actually, there are alternativesRick Van Handel doesn’t argue the quality of the Uponor fitting system. But, he says, that has more to do with its unrestricted flow rate than anything.“Whereas barbed fittings are placed inside the tubing, the already smaller inside diameter of PEX (compared to copper) becomes even smaller with these fittings,” he says. “As you know, the Uponor expansion fittings are full flow. However, by your logic, wouldn’t the PEX-A, which was expanded over the barb fitting, want to return to its original size and therefore tighten itself onto the barbed fitting in the same manner it would on an expanded fitting?“I’ve used a lot of PEX-A with stainless cinch clamps on barbed fittings and I’ve never had one leak,” Van Handel continues. “I’ve hydro-tested these to 200 psi with no issues. Also, many people use the same combination for compressed air, which is even harder to seal, with no issues.”Despite McGrath’s protestations, Van Handel says he’s had excellent luck with Uponor tubing and brass fittings.“Personally, I’ve used mostly Nibco brass fittings and I use only Uponor tubing,” Van Handel says. “I haven’t had any leaks. That being said, I haven’t seen a rough-in my area with anything other than PEX-A and barbed fittings and stainless cinch clamps in a few years. It’s what almost all plumbers have gravitated towards in residential installs. In some commercial applications I still see expansion style fittings used or ProPress.“I still agree with you that expansion fittings are likely superior, but to say that cinch clamps will certainly leak is a gross exaggeration,” he adds. “There are millions of these connections in place that are not leaking.”Malcolm Taylor agrees. “For at least a decade, almost every building in British Columbia has been plumbed with PEX and crimp rings,” he says. “I’ve plumbed a half-dozen that way myself and have never had a leak.” Dealing with chlorine and chemical odorSandbo’s water source is a well, and well water is not typically chlorinated. That, says Nate G, removes one potential source of worry with PEX tubing.“PEX in a ‘forever house’ … should be downstream of a water filtration system that removes chlorine,” Nate writes. “The reason is that chlorine eventually oxidizes and embrittles the pipe over time as the sacrificial anti-oxidizing agents are, well, sacrificed. With no chlorine in the water, this risk disappears. You also want high-quality low-zinc fittings. Don’t cheap out.”Charlie Sullivan raises another issue: the unwelcome chemical taste that PEX tubing added to the water in his house.“I’ll put in a vote for PEX-B,” Sullivan says. “I got my kitchen sink changed over from lead-soldered copper to Uponor PEX-A about a year and a half ago, and I found the taste terrible in the first few months — a strong plastic taste. I still flush the pipe before drawing a gallon of drinking water to save in a pitcher, even though I probably don’t need to. I haven’t done a controlled comparison to PEX-B, but given the comparison Martin linked to, I’d expect it to be significantly better in that regard.” Building his “forever house,” Dean Sandbo is mulling what type of tubing to use for his plumbing supply lines. He has narrowed the choice to one of two types of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX): PEX-A or PEX-B.Key issues, Sandbo notes in his Q&A post at GBA, are how long the tubing will last, and whether there are safety concerns — that is, will the PEX tubing leach chemicals into his drinking water?“I am on a well,” he writes. “Any input as to the longevity and safety of these two different types of pipes?”Although that’s where the discussion starts, GBA readers quickly turn to another potential issue: What’s the best way of achieving a leak-free connection between tubing and fittings?That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight. RELATED ARTICLES last_img read more

Known, Liked, and Trusted: A Revision

first_imgFor three decades my friend was a successful salesperson. He was gregarious, charismatic, and charming. His method was to develop a personal relationship with his clients that was very much a friendship. He would invest his time and his money in that friendship. If his clients wanted tickets to the game, he’d buy them tickets. If his clients needed some present for their children, he’d acquire it for them. He spent money on lunches, dinners, golf outings, and other things that deepened his friendship.When we had lunch, he said to me, “My sales are terrible. I don’t understand. I am doing what I have always done, but it isn’t working.”The reason that my friend’s approach quit working is because he did nothing to create economic value. His friendship and his willingness to spend money buying things to please his clients is no longer enough to win their business or their loyalty. The world changed, but my friend did not recognize those changes and, worse still, he did not change with it. He did not shift his focus to the areas where he can create value for his clients.Your client relationships are still built on your being known, liked, and trusted. But the fundamental questions have changed.Known: It isn’t enough to be known. It’s what you are known for. What are you known for? Are you known for your ability to deliver some result? Are you known for solving some problem? Are you known for your business acumen and your situational knowledge? Are you known for creating value?Liked: It isn’t easy to buy your client’s business anymore. You still need to be liked. But being liked means something different. It doesn’t hurt to be gregarious, charismatic, and charming. But your client is trying to make a decision as to what it’s going to be like to work with you long-term. The decision they are making is what it’s going to be like to have you on their team. Are you like having a great new team member? Are you going to be easy to work with? Is the rest of their team going to want to work with you?Trusted: Great relationships, business or personal, are built on the foundation of trust. My friend’s willingness to spend money now subtracts from trust. It looks and feels unethical. It isn’t unethical for my friend to spend his own money, but it often can be for the person who accepts his gifts. The trust that you need is built on your ability to keep your word and your ability to delivering the outcome your client needs. How do you enable your clients to trust you? What do they need to trust you to do?It is still known, liked, and trusted. But what these words mean has changed. You have to change, too.last_img read more

Hair colour becomes unexpected bestseller, brands vie with each other to cash in

first_imgRapunzel had it easy. Just the length of her flaxen hair was enough to get Prince Charming hooked for good. Things are not as simple anymore. If the hunt for the prince has got tougher so has the decision on the “right look”.But thanks to a range of hair-care products,,Rapunzel had it easy. Just the length of her flaxen hair was enough to get Prince Charming hooked for good. Things are not as simple anymore. If the hunt for the prince has got tougher so has the decision on the “right look”.But thanks to a range of hair-care products, agonising over the colour and style of one’s coiffure has become an experience people are not complaining about if packed beauty salons are any indicators.The hair-colour market in India is estimated at Rs 7,000 crore and has grown 200 per cent in volume in the past year. That makes it the vanguard of the personal-care market that is expected to grow at 20 per cent every year.The fact that three-fourths of the population is below 30 years of age, has high disposable incomes, is willing to experiment, is impressionable and is dying to fit in, all bolster the growth statistics.So when designer Rohit Bal adopted the Adonis blond look, not only nightclubs but college campuses also suddenly teemed with Bal clones. Not since the Sadhana cut, popularised by the winsome actress of the 1960s, has there been such a rage in the hair-styling scene.Trendy shades: A model sports streaked locksA distinct hair style has become a part of the individual’s fashion statement. Like model Diya Abraham who wore startling pink and purple streaks at the Lakme India Fashion Week in Mumbai last year.”I was out to make a statement,” she confesses. The glam look-at-me attitude is not restricted to the Page Three People. “Getting streaks or highlights is like wearing lipstick,” says design executive Arti Agarwal, who plans to get streaks of blue.advertisementAgarwal echoes the sentiments of many housewives and professionals who otherwise tend to lean on the conservative side. Hair colour has spilled much beyond the metro limits.Hairstylist Jawed Habib gives specific instances of two little explored markets-Punjab and the Northeast. Since the Sikhs can’t style their hair, “colour allows them freedom to change their looks”. “And in the Northeast,” says Habib, “people have been experimenting with colour for 10 years. They were using violets and pinks even before any multinational entered India.”Besides the Prada folk (read Tina Ambani, actor Bobby Deol, entrepreneurs Avantika and Yash Birla) who frequent Parisian salons and London stylists, most Indians till recently were dependent on the neighbourhood parlourwali.Click here to EnlargeNo longer. Funky salons like Juice, Ambika Pillai’s, Dilshad’s and Habib’s not only offer a Rs 300 haircut but they are also ambassadors of change. Though treatments can cost up to Rs 2,000, the queues have only become longer.The Lakme Beauty Salon (LBS) that opened in Mumbai in Febr uar y has a daily average of 30 customers lining up for colour wash that costs Rs 1,175. It plans to expand from the present 38 to 200 salons nationwide in the next three years.Queries on cosmetics and brands too have increased dramatically in the past five years. Says Dr Rekha Sheth, president of the Cosmetology Society of India: “My patients have doubled in the past 10 years and 40 per cent of my clientele is men.”And the astute Indian is not just chasing labels. Hair specialist Rita Khatwani points out that an increasing number of clients know exactly what they want and will pay for it. But they expect international quality.” It is the desire for the international look that the multinationals hope to cash in on. While over 46 per cent of the people use hair colour in the US, in India only about 4 per cent opt for it.When global leader L’Oreal set its sight on India in 1996, people were struggling with black dyes or home remedies like henna that leaves an unnatural red tone while camouflaging gray hair. L’Oreal campaigned against colour prejudices by training hairdressers and even having stylists forecasting colours for the season.Trendy shades: Rohit Bal’s hair hue set a new trendJawed Habib, HairstylistThe brand is now available at over 2,500 salons in 36 cities with 51 colours. Lakme has resorted to more conventional promotion drives: During the Valentine week in February, it slashed prices by 20 per cent on products and treatments at select Lakme Beauty Salons.Indian companies like Godrej and Sunsilk have also risen to the challenge. Godrej’s ColourSoft has concentrated on four basic shades and commands, together with the Godrej dye, 45 per cent of the Rs 7,000-crore market.It is the hair-dye powder sachet that is Godrej’s bestseller, even in rural India, with more than 11 lakh outlets stocking it. In contrast, Sunsilk with its range of seven colours has positioned itself as a fashion brand. Association with international stylists and the Sunsilk Salon Awards has catapulted the brand into the big league in less than a year.advertisementDomestic competition has not deterred international companies. Keune, a Dutch brand launched in May last year, is determined to make a splash in a market dominated by L’Oreal and Sunsilk. Olive green and deep blue are among the 72 shades Keune offer to the adventurous.Another newcomer Schwaskopf Professional too is eager for its share. The German company plans to invest Rs 20 crore to build brand equity and awareness. It also initiated the Academy Schwaskopf, a training institute for hair perming, colouring and straightening at Delhi’s Grand-Hyatt in January.All this to persuade customers to wear the right tint and a bright smile. No one can say, however, how long the hair colour fad will last. It might well be a case of hair today gone tomorrow.last_img read more

Abducted owner of BDM sporting goods, Sudhir Mahajan, rescued in UP

first_imgThe leading sports goods manufacturer and exporter from this town in Uttar Pradesh, who was abducted late Tuesday while he was headed home, has been rescued, police said on Wednesday.Sudhir Mahajan (55), the managing director of M/S BDM & Sons (Pvt) Ltd, was found tied to a tree in Khatauli town of Muzaffarnagar district late Wednesday, a police official said.Earlier, the abductors had demanded Rs.2 crore from the businessman’s family, Deputy Inspector General of Police Zaki Ahmad said. He added that teams were formed to nab the kidnappers. Mahajan was abducted late on Tuesday when he was headed to his Defence Colony residence at the Mawana road here. He left his factory at the Sports Goods Complex on Delhi road in his car around 8.30 p.m. According to police, the manufacturer of BDM cricket kit had stopped briefly to buy some paint boxes from the market. Around 10.30 p.m., the driver stopped the car around 300 metres before Defence Colony to check some noise in the boot space where the paint boxes were kept. However, when he was heading back to his seat, three kidnappers pounced on him from a nearby bush and forced themselves into the car and held the driver and the businessman at gunpoint, police said.Around 11.30 p.m., Mahajan’s son Siddharth received a text message and a phone call in which the kidnappers demanded Rs.2 crore for releasing his father, according to a police official.last_img read more