Due to its many good properties, pex tubing is used in many aspects of life. However, during installation, you cannot avoid leading pex tubes through areas with winding terrain. Therefore, the pex plumbing pipe is often not seamless, it is necessary to bend this kind of tube to make the connections reasonable. “How to bend pex tubing?” is probably a frequently asked question by system plumbers and also many people.
Don’t worry anymore, we will assume the duty of finding the right method to solve the above problem in order to help the work progress quickly. As people who always want to create solutions to make your life easier, we have researched, experienced, and summarize the methods with “most details in”. Read this article and you will find the best way to bend pipes.
However, to be able to bend pipes successfully, knowing how to bend is not enough. Also, you have to know more experience, consider many notes, and apply them to your bending purposes to choose the most effective bending method. Therefore, here is a summary of the content of the article: A brief overview of the pex pipe and its properties; the required materials and how to choose them; pre-bending notes; detailed instructions on pipe bending process; and frequently asked questions in the bending process.
Insights About Pex Tubing
Brief Information About Pex Tubing And Its Application
The pex pipe is made from high-density cross-linked polyethylene plastic material. This cross-linking process helps separate polyethylene molecules to stick together in a three-dimensional network, creating a solid and durable pipe with outstanding advantages.
Pex tubes are used in a wide variety of fields such as plumbing systems, air conditioning systems, refrigeration, geo-power systems, mining, etc.
Outstanding Flexibility And Durability
Even in the tightest of spaces, the high flexibility of the pex pipe will allow you to freely bend around corners and around existing electrical systems to complete the installation. In addition, the simple mechanical coupling can be easily implemented in very limited spaces making it the ideal system for the renovation or expansion of plumbing systems.
Because of its exceptional toughness, the tube can be stretched 300% (i.e., 3 times of its original length) without damage. It can withstand direct impacts such as seismic vibrations, mild earthquakes, etc. Hence, it has a longer lifespan.
Using For Both Hot And Cold Water Equipment
Usually, the installation of cold-water pipes (usually with a pressure nominal rating of PN10) for hot water equipment can rupture the pipes and result in significant damage. However, pex tubing systems usually have a pressure nominal rating of PN20 or higher, so they are used for both hot and cold plumbing systems, completely eliminating the risk of pipe breakage due to using the wrong kind of tube. Because of its high nominal pressure, pex pipes also have the most secure protection against pressure surges and temperature variations.
Safer (Guaranteed No Leaks)
For most buildings, the majority of plumbing connections are located in locations such as corners, tight areas, or recessed walls where the most damage is done if the system leaks. Specifically, for metal pipes, the heat-welding connection requires high technical skills because the allowable tube heating time is very small and must be thoroughly heat-sealed to avoid the risk of leakage. On the other hand, for ordinary plastic pipes, connecting the pipes together requires glue and when gluing, you have to make sure that the glue has covered all around the pipe’s mouth to avoid the risk of leakage. In addition, the glue is said to have low durability, so in the long run, it is easy to cause some problems.
However, pex tube mechanical connection method is the solution that can overcome all of the above problems. The fittings of pex pipes are very special, you do not need to weld or use glue, but you can ensure that the pipe is firmly connected, so it is considered the most optimal pipe connection solution. Besides, because there is no need to connect pipes with glue or heat, it limits the existence of harmful bacteria and does not cause oxidation of equipment on the pipeline system.
The installation of pex pipes is much faster than traditional heat-sealing, metal-welding, or glue connection methods. The simple mechanical connection method allows construction workers to transport, install and move the pex tubing easily and quickly in any terrain, with the absolute peace of mind that the system will be secure and secure with no leakage.
Providing Better Flow
Heat-welded joints, especially in areas with small pipe sizes, are prone to overheat, which narrows the pipeline, obstructs, and disturbs the flow. For joints using glue, because the durability is not guaranteed, it is easy to cause leakage and be disconnected. In contrast, for the mechanical connection method of pex pipes, it is always allowed to maintain the integrity of the pipe as if the pipe has not been connected to the fittings. In addition, because of its high ductility, pex pipes also allow you to significantly reduce the number of fitting connections.
Materials Needed When Bending Pex Tubing
- Pex tubing
- Heat gun
- Gas stove
- Nails, hammer
- Screws, electric screwdriver
- Bend support
- Internal pipe bending spring
- Pex support clamps
Notes When Choosing Alternative Materials
Selecting Bend Support
Currently, on the market, there are two popular types of bend support: plastic bend support and metal bend support. Both of these bend supports help the pex tubing to bend for the same angle (about 90 degrees or more). However, plastic bend supports are often easier to attach to pipes due to their certain softness and are often used to fix pex pipes on surfaces such as wooden walls. On the contrary, metal bend support is usually made from galvanized steel, so it is more durable, used to fix pex pipes in cement walls. An important thing here is that when choosing bend support you need to carefully consider what kind of bend support can be used for the diameter of your pex tube to avoid not being able to fit the bend support into the tube.
Bend spring is made from stainless steel or other metal that can withstand heat. It usually has a good bending force and high elasticity, so the tube after being bent is not distorted, deformed, kinked and you can pull out the spring very easily. Bending springs are coated with anti-oxidation, so they have a long life, and can be reused many times. Normally, springs for bending pex pipes have a smart design with 1 hook loop or 2 hook loops to make pulling the pipe out more convenient and simpler.
And when choosing a spring you should also remember to choose the spring corresponding to the size of the tube. For example, with a pex pipe with a diameter of 25mm, you should choose a spring with a diameter of 22mm so that you can easily insert the spring into the tube and prevent the tube from denting when you bend it.
Selecting Pex Support Clamps
There are also two common types of pex support clamps: stainless steel clamp and plastic clamp. But it seems plastic clamps are more popular than stainless steel clamps. Regardless of the type of clamps, you should choose the right size for the diameter of the pex tubing for convenient installation.
Notes Before Bending Pipes
You Shouldn’t Bend Pex Tubing Too Tight
The pex pipe cannot be bent at a too-small angle, specifically with ordinary pex pipes, you should not bend it with a bend angle less than 90 degrees. Each pex tube has a certain thickness, when you bend it, there will be places where it stretches and where it shrinks. Thus, the dilated position if it is stretched too much, it will make the tube thin and there is also the risk of perforation or rupture of this tube.
Which Way Is The Most Suitable?
We will introduce 3 ways of bending below: using bend support, using bend spring, and using pex support clamps. With these 3 ways, you can easily do it at home, save money and still ensure the effect. We appreciate bending using bend support most because this way will save you time, cost and is easier to do than the other way. However, this is only suitable for bends with an angle of 90 degrees or slightly larger. On the other hand, spring bending is a bit more laborious than support bend, heating and bending can cause the pex tube to become thinner. But springs have the advantage that they can be used over and over again and are more convenient for a simple large-angle bend. Last but not least, using pex support clamps is the easiest way, but you need to find some kinds of rafters or surfaces on which to attach the clamps. Also, attaching too many clamps does not look very aesthetically pleasing.
How To Bend Pex Tubing: Step-by-step Instructions
Way 1: Use Bend Support To Bend Pex Tubing
Step 1: Locate The Bend
Place the pipe along the path where you intend to install the pipe, identify and mark the point where you intend to make the bend with the marker. Or you can use a tape measure to measure your wall and use a marker to mark the tube. You should remember to leave a little excess of the tube to avoid it being short of length during the bending process.
Step 2: Implement Pipe Bending
Place the bend support in the position you marked so that its center position coincides with the point you marked. Attach the tube to one side of the bend support. Then you slowly bend the tube until it has a curve that matches with the bend support. Finally, you just need to attach it to the other side of the bend support, so now you have the pex tube with the desired bend.
Step 3: Carry Out Tubing Installation As Usual
You proceed to install the pipes in the planned locations but need to avoid places with high temperatures to ensure the long life of the pipes.
Way 2: Use Springs To Bend Pex Tubing
Step 1: Thread The Spring Into The Pex Tube
Determine the point to be bent with a marker as in the first step at the above way. Insert the spring inside the tube until the center point of the spring coincides with the point where you want to bend. You have to let part of the spring stick out so you can pull it out when you’re done.
If the bend point is too deep inside the tube, you should use a string to tie the end of the spring and use a kind of rod to push the spring until it reaches that point. This string will make it easier for you to pull the spring out of the tube after bending.
Step 2: Heat The Tube
After inserting the spring into the tube, you need to heat the tube to make it easier to bend. You can heat the tube on a gas stove or use a heat gun to heat the tube.
However, you should not heat the tube too hot, it will be melted and burn you if you touch it to bend.
Step 3: Bend The Tube
Now that the tube is more flexible, you can slowly bend the pipe to the desired angle with your hand or you can place the pipe next to the edge of the table and bend the pipe along without being too close to the edge of the table to form a 90-degree angle. Note that you should also bend the tube slowly even though the tube is more flexible than before. Additionally, the tube must have a certain degree of roundness, not too square because it will make the tube thinner and affect its lifespan. Also, the bending angle must also have a magnitude of 90 degrees or more, don’t bend too much because of the flexible pipe, then the tube will be easy to puncture or torn.
Step 4: Immerse The Tube In Cold Water And Take The Spring Out Of The Pex Tubing
After the tube has achieved the desired shape, you should immerse the tube in cold water to return the tube to its original hardness. Then you pull out the spring and continue to install the tube as your planner.
Way 3: Use Pex Support Clamps To Bend Pex Tubing
Step 1: Proceed To Install The Pex Tubing As Usual And Pre-shape The Bend You Will Make
You continue your pex tubing work through where the bend is needed to help shape in your head how you will make the bend. This step will make nailing the clamps in the next step more secure. You can then use a pencil to re-mark the path of the tube if you are not confident with your workmanship, or do not mark it as it is not necessary. Because the pex tube has good elasticity, after a test bend, you will see it return to its original shape. However, do not rely on its toughness and bend it too much, it will cause it to be kinked.
Step 2: Attach The First Pex Support Clamp
Hold on to one side of the bend and attach the first clamp to the pipe. After that, proceed to nail or screw to fix it to the wall. You should take care to close or screw into the hole that the manufacturer specifically designed for it on the clamp to avoid crushing your clamp.
Step 3: Implement Pex Tube Bending
Now you can bend the tube to the angle you want. Note that I do not recommend using the heat gun in this way because the pex pipe has special flexibility and don’t fear it straightening again because we will also then use another clamp to fix it.
Step 4: Use Another Clamp To Fix The Other Side
After bending the pipe, you use another clamp to fix the other tubing side on the wall to avoid the pex tube, due to its good elasticity, returning to its original shape. Finally, release your hand to see if it is sure or not, if it is sure then you have succeeded.
Faqs About Information Related To How To Bend Pex Tubing
Q: Will such pex tube bending affect its thickness?
The answer is yes but not significantly, such bending of the pipe can make the pipe wall thinner, but the level of influence is very small so you can rest assured. We recommend that you carefully check the specifications on the tube packaging to ensure the quality of the product formed after bending the pipe. In addition, it is extremely important to choose the right pex tubing for bending, the bending spring, bend support, or pex support clamps. You should choose these things from reputable and qualified brands if you want the tube when bent out gives the desired shape without distortion. Selection accounts for 80% of high-performance work.
Q: Why shouldn’t you bend pipes with hot salt or sand?
Although by adding sand or salt to the pex tube, you can ensure that the tube does not distort during the bending process and is easier to bend when the sand or salt can hold its heat. However, you will not be able to ensure if you have removed all the sand or salt from the tube. Since you will probably use pex pipes in your plumbing system, leaving sand or salt in the pipes will make the water system contaminated and unsanitary.
Q: Why do you have to preheat the tube before bending it?
Because the high temperature will make the pipe more ductile and malleable. When bending without heating, you need to work slowly so that the tube can expand slowly without tearing. However, because the tube becomes more flexible when heated, it often leads to the problem of you bending it too much, making the tube thin and not durable. Moreover, there is a note that should not heat the tube too hot because it will cause the tube to melt.
Q: In case of the pex tubing being kinked, what should you do?
If you bend that pex tube so tight that it’s kinked but not torn, you can use a heat gun to restore it. Pex tubing has a special property that it can restore its original shape with heat, so, when you heat it with the heat gun you will see it slowly straighten without kinking anymore. If you don’t believe it, you can check out the video below:
However, in case it is torn or broken, you need to have fittings. Cut the pex tube out along the way it has already been torn, attach the two cut ends to the two ends of the fitting and you can install it as usual.
Bending pipes can help you ensure the flow of pipes, save costs and ensure your pipe system is more aesthetically pleasing. The above is a summary of the three simplest and most effective ways to bend pex pipes without having to cut the pipes due to using fittings. Now, in addition to knowing more about how to bend pex tubing, you also earn for yourself more experiences and some notes in the bending process so that the product you make is not damaged.
Up to this point, all you need to do is apply the above pex tubing bending ways to your plumbing system. However, in addition to plumbing, pex pipes can also be used for refrigerators, air conditioners, heating systems, and many other machines that need hot and cold water pipes for your home. Hopefully, through our article, you will be able to bend pex tubing to the shape you want. Good luck!
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