Uponor is the leading manufacturer of PEX. This brand stands out for making durable and highly-flexible PEX piping that can be used for water distribution in both commercial and residential properties.
Whether you are a plumber or a DIY enthusiast who is considering transitioning from traditional plumbing to PEX, one of the questions you may have is – can you crimp Uponor PEX?
In today’s article, I will be answering this question and diving more into the procedure of crimping Uponor PEX and the risks associated.
Can You Crimp Uponor PEX?
Yes, you can crimp Uponor PEX. A lot of people do it. But I strongly advise you not to do it. Crimping is a crucial part of the PEX installation process because it guarantees a watertight seal.
However, you need to understand that Uponor PEX is manufactured using a different process that doesn’t entertain the use of crimping tools when joining pipe ends.
When it comes to joining Uponor PEX pipes, the manufacturer recommends the use of an expansion system. One of the key traits of Uponor PEX is that it can be expanded to accommodate the insertion of a connection. It then cools down back to its original shape.
However, the main reason most people result to crimping Uponor PEX is that the ProPEX expansion tools are expensive. Moreover, this is a new technology in the plumbing industry, and not many people are familiar with it.
We have always advocated the importance of following the manufacturer’s instructions. Even though crimping Uponor PEX tubes is easier than using the expansion system, you may damage the pipe and lead to other serious issues.
If you want your Uponor PEX pipes to serve you for the longest time, join them according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
What are the Risks of Crimping Uponor PEX?
To show you how wrong crimping Uponor PEX pipes is, here are some of the risks you may face in the future.
• Leaks – The act of crimping a Uponor PEX tube can damage it which in turn affects the connection leading to leaks. In any plumbing project, leaks can be a menace because they can significantly damage surrounding materials like drywall and sheathing.
Therefore, you need to ask yourself – is using a shortcut worth spending hundreds of dollars repairing leaks and water damage?
• It Can Affect Waterflow – Through crimping, the Uponor PEX pipes can become deformed thus interfering with water flow.
You may notice a reduction in water pressure and if that pipe is supplying water to your kitchen or bathroom, it’s going to be quite impractical.
• Weak Joints – Because Uponor PEX pipes weren’t designed to be crimped, using this technique can create weaker joints that won’t last very long.
A weaker joint is more likely to fail after a few weeks or months forcing you to redo the project which is a waste of both time and money.
• It Voids Uponor’s Warranty – One of the main reasons why you should not crimp Uponor PEX is because it will void the warranty. Uponor is very clear on how you can connect PEX tubes by using the expansion system.
If you use an unapproved method and something goes wrong, they will not be liable for any damages incurred and you can forget about repairs or compensation. So, if you crimp these tubes, know that you are on your own.
What Alternative to Crimping Does Uponor Recommend?
If you want to join PEX tubes, Uponor recommends the ProPEX expansion system. This is a method where PEX pipes are connected using heating and fitting systems. An expansion tool is used to heat the tubing so that it expands.
As that happens, enough room is created within the pipe to install the fitting. The Uponor PEX pipe then contracts as it fits the ends firmly against the fitting, thus creating a strong connection.
This alternative method to crimping comes with numerous advantages which include;
• It guarantees strong and leak-free connections.
• The joint is quite durable and can serve you for years.
• Even though other people might have a different opinion, the ProPEX expansion system is much faster and easier than crimping Uponor PEX.
• Another advantage is that the expansion system is more accommodating of repairs and re-installation.
Comparing crimping and using the ProPEX expansion method, the latter is more effective and the best part is that it does not void the warranty.
Therefore, there is no reason why you should prioritize crimping Uponor PEX over using a heating tool.
How to Crimp a Uponor PEX Pipe?
I do not recommend this method. However, for personal reasons, should you be interested in crimping a Uponor PEX pipe, here is a quick overview of the procedure.
Step 1: Start by gathering essential tools and materials. This includes a pipe crimping tool, a crimp ring, and a PEX tube cutter.
Step 2: With the help of a PEX tubing cutter, cut the tube to your preferred length.
Step 3: Slide the crimp ring to the end of your Uponor PEX pipe.
Step 4: Proceed to insert the fitting so that it’s in the same position as the crimp ring.
Step 5: Grab your crimping tool and press it over the crimp ring. Keep on pressing until the jaws of the ring are well centered around the end of the PEX tube and the fitting inside.
Step 6: Evaluate the crimp and check if it’s firmly attached to both the pipe and the fitting. If it seems okay, proceed to other aspects.
Are There PEX Tubes that Can Be Crimped?
Even though Uponor PEX tubes should not be crimped, there are other PEX tubes out there that are more accommodating of crimp connections.
You, however, have to be very careful when shopping for such PEX tubes. It should be clearly indicated in the package that they can be used with crimping tools. If not, you may end up experiencing a similar fate as that of crimping Uponor PEX.
Is Crimping Uponor PEX a Common Practice?
Surprisingly, a lot of people do crimp their Uponor PEX pipes. And I’m not just talking about the DIY folk. A good number of expert plumbers also crimp Uponor PEX, even though they are more aware of the risks involved.
It’s safe to say that crimping Uponor PEX is a common practice. But does that make it acceptable? Absolutely not!
I believe that the main deciding factor before crimping Uponor PEX is to evaluate the risks involved. If you can live with these risks, then nothing should stop you.
If you are lucky, the pipes may retain their durability and functionality. However, if you are worried about the repercussions, please stick to the ProPEX expansion method.
Is Crimping Uponor PEX Cheaper than Using Expansion Fittings?
Yes, it’s cheaper. This is even one of the key reasons why people prefer to crimp Uponor PEX instead of using the heating method.
It’s cheaper because crimping tools and equipment have a lower price tag than expansion tools and fittings. However, the cost-effectiveness of crimping Uponor PEX is counter-intuitive.
During installation, you may save a few bucks. But later on, when the joint weakens and starts to leak. How much money do you think you will spend on repairs and replacements?
Not forgetting that the warranty will be voided and you will have no financial help from the manufacturer?
Crimping Uponor PEX may seem like an affordable method. But it’s more expensive in the long run which makes the ProPEX expansion method better.