From risers to mains to in-suite piping, PEX is gaining popularity in multifamily construction as contractors are seeing the benefits to their crews’ productivity and their businesses’ bottom line. With sizes up to 3″, PEX is the flexible, durable, cost-effective solution for both domestic water and hydronic heating and cooling systems. It does not pit Read more
From risers to mains to in-suite piping, PEX is gaining popularity in multifamily construction as contractors are seeing the benefits to their crews’ productivity and their businesses’ bottom line.
With sizes up to 3″, PEX is the flexible, durable, cost-effective solution for both domestic water and hydronic heating and cooling systems. It does not pit, scale, or corrode, it offers more stable pricing for greater confidence when bidding a project, and it has no scrap value like copper, so there’s no concern about theft on the job site.
PEX is lighter in weight, which makes it easier for installers to move and adds to job-site safety. It also eliminates the need for heavy-lifting machinery or equipment, which can be costly and cumbersome.
The product is available in long, continuous coils, so installers can complete jobs faster and easier by just bending the pipe instead of stopping to make a connection with each change in direction. And for tight bends, there are bend supports available that simply snap onto the pipe to hold it firmly in place.
The flexible nature of PEX also makes it ideal for renovation, remodel, or re-pipe applications because it’s much easier to squeeze into tight areas and minimizes the need to alter the existing structure.
For connections, there are several options available. However, most professionals use the ASTM F1960 expansion method. This is because it provides a larger-ID fitting that does not restrict flow, and it can never be dry fit, adding peace of mind to installs.
PEX is a great alternative to traditional metallic systems for horizontal main piping. Using a steel support channel along with clamps and fixed points can help reduce linear expansion and contraction and can extend support hangers to be similar to that of metal piping.
PEX is also ideal for running below grade or in a slab. (Always follow local code as some jurisdictions require additional sleeving and protection.) For those types of applications, pre-sleeved PEX is available with color-coded red or blue HDPE sleeving for domestic-water systems.
Learn more about how PEX can benefit your multifamily installs with greater productivity and profitability potential.
Speed and accuracy are the name of the game when it comes to a successful piping installation and a thriving business. Whether you’re installing potable plumbing or hydronic piping, the faster and more precise the job, the more time and money you potentially have to work on other projects. While there are hundreds of tips Read more
Speed and accuracy are the name of the game when it comes to a successful piping installation and a thriving business. Whether you’re installing potable plumbing or hydronic piping, the faster and more precise the job, the more time and money you potentially have to work on other projects.
While there are hundreds of tips and tricks out there to make your installs faster, easier, and more effective, I’m going to concentrate on the following three methods almost any plumbing or mechanical contractor can use to bring greater productivity to projects.
Flexible PEX pipe with bend supports
If you’ve never heard of PEX, it’s an acronym for crosslinked polyethylene. It’s a flexible, durable plastic piping product that provides numerous benefits over rigid CPVC or metallic systems, including faster installs, zero corrosion, and freeze-damage resistance.
Many residential contractors are already using PEX (considering it’s the most installed piping system for new-home construction over copper and CPVC combined). However, PEX is still a relative newcomer in the commercial industry.
The biggest benefit of PEX is its flexibility, which allows you to simply bend the pipe with each change in direction. With a tight bend radius of six times the pipe’s diameter, you can practically make 90-degree bends without the need for a fitting.
For times when you do have a tight bend that needs to stay in a particular place, PEX manufacturers offer bend supports. For those of you that prefer to watch rather than read, here’s a video that explains bend supports in detail.
These helpful products are available for ⅜”, ½”, ⅝”, ¾”, or 1″ PEX pipe. They hold the bend in place at the proper angle and take a fraction of the time compared to making a 90-degree elbow.
Most contractors agree that using flexible PEX with bend supports can eliminate most fittings in smaller-diameter pipe sizes 1″ and down, saving up to half the install time of a rigid piping system.
When it comes time to make a connection with PEX pipe, the professionals’ choice is PEX expansion. Note that expansion connections are only designed for PEX-a pipe. If you’re using PEX-b or PEX-c pipe, you’ll need to use a different fitting type as PEX-b and PEX-c pipes aren’t made to expand like PEX-a pipe, and they will experience microcracking during expansion.
Expansion connections require one simple tool that expands the pipe and an expansion ring before inserting a fitting. As the pipe and ring shrink back down around the fitting, it creates a solid, strong seal that can withstand up to 1,000 pounds of radial force. It’s quick and easy to do and simple to learn, so it’s highly beneficial with the skilled-labor shortage that’s challenging the trades. Here’s a quick, 20-second video on how to make a connection.
Now, to make installs even faster, expansion tools have advanced to make connections even quicker. For up to 1″ connections, the Milwaukee® M12 FUEL™ ProPEX® Expander with RAPID SEAL™ Heads is the fastest tool yet — with up to 65% faster sealing times compared to previous models.
For larger-diameter pipe connections, the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL™ ProPEX Expander with ONE-KEY™ is taking commercial installs to a new level by offering 3X faster 2″ connections. To watch how much faster, check out this video from Milwaukee Tool.
Finally, let’s talk about prefabrication. This is becoming a big trend for national residential builders or large commercial projects that have a lot of repeatability on the project. By prefabbing certain sections of a project, it can shave days, weeks, or even months off a timeline, depending on how big the project.
Prefabricating piping assemblies in a controlled factory environment not only adds more efficiencies, it also provides an additional benefit of greater accuracy. By doing a job repeatedly, it hones the skill and gives installers greater confidence in their work.
Plus, having rows and rows of prefabbed piping assemblies in a shop environment makes it a lot easier to perform quality checks. Instead of walking for miles on a job site, a supervisor can save significant time simply walking a shop floor.
And here’s another area where flexible, durable PEX provides additional benefits. Transporting prefabbed PEX piping assemblies is much easier than transporting rigid assemblies that can crack or break. Because PEX is super flexible, it can withstand the rigors of being transported to a job site without worry.
So, there you have it…just a few ideas to keep in mind the next time you have a project with a tight deadline, and you’re squeezed on time and skilled labor. Every little bit helps when it comes to adding productivity to projects. If you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Kim Bliss is the technical and marketing content manager at Uponor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rehau, Germany—REHAU says it has seen the development of the crisis and the suffering of the people in Ukraine with shock and great concern. Here is a statement from the company: As a company that operates in Ukraine, as well as in Russia and Belarus, we emphasize our position: We strongly condemn the attack on Read more
Rehau, Germany—REHAU says it has seen the development of the crisis and the suffering of the people in Ukraine with shock and great concern. Here is a statement from the company:
As a company that operates in Ukraine, as well as in Russia and Belarus, we emphasize our position:
- We strongly condemn the attack on Ukraine and its people.
- It is a war against humanity, the freedom of all of us and peace in Europe.
- And thus against the values for which we as a REHAU Group stand with all our subgroups.
We have decided to suspend our operations in Russia and Belarus until further notice.
Russia in particular, where we have been present for many years, is an important market for us. We hope that the situation will soon change in such a way that we can resume our activities in both countries.
Our priority now is the safety of our colleagues and their families in Ukraine and those that are leaving the country. We began preparing possible contingency plans some time ago. Concrete help is underway at various levels:
- Via the emergency aid fund “Family for Families,” which has been endowed by the company with a significant sum to provide immediate assistance, but also to support reconstruction later on.
- Via the crisis taskforce, which coordinates support for our team in Ukraine, but also for the people fleeing. We are in constant contact with the local management for this.
- And via an account we have set up for donations from our 20,000 employees worldwide.
We hope for a peaceful outcome and our thoughts remain with everyone affected by the conflict.
NIBCO Launches Wrot Racer® “Start Me Up” Distributor Promotion to Promote its Next Generation of Push Fittings
NIBCO’s Wrot Racer® C8 Corvette kicks off its tour at AHR Expo 2022 before visiting qualified distributors throughout the United States to celebrate the introduction of Wrot Racer push fittings. NIBCO INC. announces its Wrot Racer® “Start Me Up” promotion to celebrate its next generation of push fittings that it recently launched. The multi-faceted promotion centers on Read more
NIBCO’s Wrot Racer® C8 Corvette kicks off its tour at AHR Expo 2022 before visiting qualified distributors throughout the United States to celebrate the introduction of Wrot Racer push fittings.
NIBCO INC. announces its Wrot Racer® “Start Me Up” promotion to celebrate its next generation of push fittings that it recently launched. The multi-faceted promotion centers on the Wrot Racer C8 Corvette that will tour the U.S., making stops at distributor locations that have qualified.
The “Start Me Up” promotion provides a quick and easy way for distributors to take on immediate inventory of the new Wrot Racer copper push fittings. Distributors who meet the minimum stocking order requirement will receive a free marketing kit that includes POP merchandising.
NIBCO’s Wrot Racer Corvette began its tour at AHR Expo in Las Vegas on January 31, before moving to the West Coast, making various stops along the way, including Phoenix and Los Angeles. The “Start Me Up” promotion runs through 2022.
“We’re excited for our Wrot Racer Corvette to head out on the road to visit qualifying distributors across the U.S.,” said Ashley Martin, executive vice president, NIBCO INC. “This is a great opportunity for distributors to create additional coverage for their businesses and for everyone attending to have fun!”
Introduced in 2021, Wrot Racer push fittings are a line of premium copper push fittings that are engineered to join copper, CPVC-CTS, PEX and PE-RT (with stiffeners) for easy transition between piping systems. With a patented fitting design, installations are easily made within seconds.
Wrot Racer push fittings are made with 99.9 percent pure wrot copper. Naturally lead free, the fittings feature antimicrobial properties and are dezincification resistant, providing for safe, clean drinking water connections for both residential and commercial applications.
Available in 1/2″ to 1″ sizes, the lightweight and compact Wrot Racer fittings are able to be installed wet or dry and can handle applications up to 200 psi and 200 degrees. The new fittings feature stainless steel gripper rings to ensure a secure connection. Wrot Racer fittings are ideal for tight-space installations and can also be removed and reused, avoiding wasted materials.
To learn more about how NIBCO’s Wrot Racer Corvette can make an appearance, contact your local NIBCO sales representative, visit nibco.com/wrotracer/ or email Customerservice@nibco.com. Contractors should contact their local distributor to see if it is on the Wrot Racer tour list.
As companies continue to explore how to safely return office staff in a post-pandemic environment, Uponor North America is giving its office employees the flexibility to work their own way. The Apple Valley, Minn.-based PEX pipe manufacturer is introducing Flexible First, an employee-centric model that empowers staff to choose the working pattern that works best Read more
As companies continue to explore how to safely return office staff in a post-pandemic environment, Uponor North America is giving its office employees the flexibility to work their own way. The Apple Valley, Minn.-based PEX pipe manufacturer is introducing Flexible First, an employee-centric model that empowers staff to choose the working pattern that works best for them.
Flexible First offers three ways for office staff to work, called “personas”:
- Resident – employees working in an Uponor office at least four days a week.
- Hybrid – employees who may come into the office up to three days per week.
- Remote – employees that work from locations that aren’t near an Uponor office.
The company built its Flexible First model after more than 100 hours of employee-led focus groups, panel discussions, and the development of a culture team. Using this data, the company established a multi-phased plan for introducing the future of office work at the company.
“As we plan for our post-pandemic world, it is essential to evolve with the changing times that are defining what the future of work looks like,” said Jen Hauschildt, vice president, Human Resources, Uponor North America.
“For most people, going back to a traditional work environment doesn’t make sense. Employees want more flexibility. By working with our employees to define a new way of working that fits for them and for our business, we are showing our strong commitment to both the employee and customer experience.”
Since March of 2020, the majority of Uponor office-based employees have been working remote and have demonstrated a high level of productivity. The company has determined that Flexible First will be its “new” normal for work indefinitely.
“No matter what our working environment looks like, Uponor employees embrace our core values of Connect, Build and Inspire. These values define and motivate how we work with each other, our customers, and our communities,” added Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America.
Flexible First goes into effect in early 2022. Uponor is planning to introduce a redesigned office space in late 2022/early 2023 that will feature “neighborhoods,” or shared spaces for functional teams to collaborate while in the office. Hybrid employees, including leaders, will reserve a hoteling workspace through a scheduling system for the days they plan to work onsite, rather than having a dedicated workspace. The company has also developed an intranet site that provides resources to help guide employees with this new way of working.
“Implementing a Flexible First work approach is the right thing for us to do to deliver a great employee experience, retain and recruit key talent, and keep Uponor moving forward into the future,” added Hauschildt.