It is a common thing to find PEX pipes packaged in huge rolls that have been coiled in your local store. Actually more than 80% of the manufacturers present the pipes in 50 feet rolls or 100 feet rolls. This means that you will have to unroll the pipes during installation. After unrolling there is another task that awaits you, straightening the PEX pipe. It is crucial to do the straightening up in the right way to avoid weak points or kinking on the new pipe.
Our experts recommend the following tested and proven ways of straightening the PEX Pipes. You can straighten the pipe manually, dip it in hot water, warming the pipe naturally or running cold and hot water in the pipe not to mention the common method of using a PEX pipe straightener.
Now let’s dive into each of the ways to see how it’s actually done. It is actually a straight forward process that you can do by yourself at home and get perfect results.
Straightening PEX Pipes Using Pipe Straightener Tools
This is a relatively easy process when you have the right tools for the job. The beauty with this process is that you eventually get straight and consistently even results. A key reminder is to always check and follow all the manufacturers’ instruction when doing the straightening. Do not forget to wear your protective gear before starting the process.
Straightening a PEX Pipe Using a Heat Gun.
Here are the tools you will use:A heat gun, Pipe Straightening Pliers, Pipe straightening springs, clamps and pipe straightening guides.
- Wear your protective gear including the gloves and clear glasses that will keep off the heat and any debris that may come from the pipe.
- Connect your heat gun to a power source and set the heat at low to medium setting. Avoid excessive heat as it may spoil your PEX pipe.
- Direct the gun to the area of the pipe that you want to straighten and sweep back an forth for about 10 seconds.
- Heat the area till the pipe is pliable
- Bend the pipe gently to your desired shape with your hands or a bending tool.
- Hold the pipe in place for a few seconds to allow it to cool down and harden.
- Repeat the procedure for every area that needs straightening.
Straightening a PEX Pipe using Hot water
This is the most common way of straightening PEX pipes. Most plumbers use this method when they have huge projects with numerous rolls of PEX to unroll and straighten. Follow the procedure below for an easy way to achieve straight pipes with precision.
- Get a large container or bucket and fill it with hot water.
- Deep the curved section of the PEX pipe in the hot water.
- Leave the pipe in water for several minutes to allow it to soften and become pliable.
- Remover the pipe from the water and using your hands, gently straighten the pipe by applying gentle pressure.
- Hold the pipe in the new position for some time to allow it to cool down and maintain its new shape.
Straightening a PEX Pipe Using Clamps and Weights
You can straighten your PEX Pipes with weights and clamps and achieve your desired straight pipes. Here is a proven way of how you can do this effectively.
- Get a flat surface where you can lay the pipe and identify areas with curves and bends that you want to straighten out.
- For slight bends, you can straighten by laying heavy objects like books or bricks on the curved sections of the pipe. Leave the weights in position for a few hours preferably overnight to get the best results.
- For areas that are severely bent, you will need to use clamps too. First identify the area that needs straightening and position the clamps on either sides of the bend. Tighten the clamps until the pipe is held in a straight and level posture. Leave it for several hours and if possible let it stay overnight.
- After the procedure, inspect the pipe to ensure you straightened the pipe properly.
Safety Precautions When Straightening PEX Pipes
Your safety comes first in all aspects of your plumbing journey. You need to keep a few points in mind when straightening your PEX pipes. This way you will ensure you have a clean job without compromising the integrity of the pipe or damaging other property.
- Always wear a protective gear.
- Be cautious when using heat or hot water as you risk getting burns.
- Use the right tools for the job.
- Beware of your environment and check on the surrounding materials.
- Divide your work into small sections and work in small portions.
- Don’t shy away from asking for help when not sure of what to do.
Mistakes To Avoid When Straightening PEX
There are common mistakes that can lead an improper installation or a PEX pipe damage during straightening and installation and you need to be aware of them and keep watch. The straightening process should be done properly and keenly to ensure that the final product is fit for installation and use for a long time. Here are the mistakes to avoid;
- Do not overheat the pipe- When submerging the pipe in hot water or using a heat gun, ensure you do not over heat the pipe as this will lead to a weak pipe or even deform the pipe. Be keen on the manufacturer’s recommendations when using heat on the pipes.
- Do not Use Excessive Force – Always be gentle on the PEX pipe when straightening it and apply even pressure on the area that requires straightening. Excessive force can lead to kinking or pipe damages.
- Don’t be in a Hurry – when straightening the PEX pipe manually or using clamps and weights it is recommended that you remain patient with the process. Rushing through will not give you the desired results and you may end up very frustrated.
- Don’t Expose the PEX Pipe to UV rays – Some plumbers leave the PEX pipe under the sun to heat it up in readiness for straightening. This works but it is not recommended as it exposes the PEX pipe to UV rays which causes disintegration and shortens the lifespan of the pipes.
Why Buy Coiled PEX? Advantages and Disadvantages
When you go shopping for your PEX pipes, you will get both straight lengths and coiled PEX pipes. the final decision on whether to buy the coiled PEX will be determined by your project requirements and your preferences. We listed the advantages and disadvantages of the coiled pipes to help you make the decision.
Advantages of Coiled PEX
- Fewer Fittings – The coiled PEX is more flexible and you can easily bend and shape it around obstacles hence reducing the need for extra fittings and additional connections.
- Flexibility – When installing PEX in tight spaces, the coiled PEX is more flexible compared to the straight pipe PEX making it the best pick to help you maneuver.
- Savings on Cost – When compared with straight lengths, the coiled PEX is way cheaper and it can give you a significant saving if you are having a huge project.
Disadvantages of Coiled PEX
- Storage challenges – The coiled PEX takes up a larger storage space when compared with straight lengths. This can be a consideration if you will require to store the pipes before installation.
- Limited Length Options – The manufacturer gives specific lengths with the coiled pipes. This means you might have to buy a longer pipe than you need for your project.
- Kinking Risks – Generally the coiled PEX is highly flexible making it very prone to kinks when handled roughly. The kinks might lead to reduced efficiency or totally restrict the flow of water.
Everyone likes a neat installation and having straight PEX is one step towards achieving this. You have a wide range of choice on the method you want to use to straighten your PEX pipes. Ours is to remind you to avoid damaging or kinking the pipe as you try to achieve a straight pipe. Happy plumbing.