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We have already covered the topic of what is PEX pipe, can you connect directly PEX to the electric water heater? you may check it out here.
However, during transportation or storage, Pex pipes can sometimes develop a slight bend or curve, which may hinder their optimal performance. In this article, we will explore effective methods of how to straighten Pex pipes, ensuring smooth water flow and efficient plumbing systems.
What Possible Sizes Of PEX Pipe Come In?
Possible sizes of PEX pipes come in a range of diameters to accommodate different plumbing needs. The most common PEX pipe sizes include
- 3/8 inch (9.5 mm): This smaller diameter is often used for applications with low water flow requirements, such as small fixtures or point-of-use systems.
- 1/2 inch (12.7 mm): This is one of the most popular sizes for residential plumbing, suitable for most standard fixtures, faucets, and appliances.
- 5/8 inch (15.9 mm): This size is commonly used for larger fixtures or applications that require increased water flow, such as outdoor irrigation systems.
- 3/4 inch (19.1 mm): This size is typically used for high-demand applications, including main water supply lines, water heaters, and commercial plumbing systems.
- 1 inch (25.4 mm): This larger size is often employed for industrial or commercial applications that necessitate significant water flow rates.
Precautions Before How To Straighten Pex Pipes
Before straightening Pex pipes, it is essential to take some precautions to avoid any damage. Here are a few precautions to keep in mind:
Turn off the water supply: Ensure that the water supply to the pipes is turned off before attempting to straighten them. This will prevent any water flow during the process.
Inspect for damage: Check the pipes for any signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks. If you notice any significant damage, it is best to replace the pipe instead of straightening it.
Consider pipe expansion: Pex pipes can expand when exposed to heat. Take this into account when planning the straightening process to avoid any issues caused by expansion.
How To Straighten Pex Pipes? In 7 Steps
Here we will guide you through 7 easy steps to straighten PEX pipes step by step.
Straighten Pex Pipes with Boiling Water
One of the simplest methods to straighten Pex pipes is by using boiling water. Here’s how you can do it:
- Boil water: Fill a pot or kettle with water and bring it to a boil.
- Prepare the pipes: Hold the curved section of the Pex pipe and submerge it in the boiling water for about 10-15 seconds. Ensure that the entire curved portion is submerged.
- Remove from water: Using tongs or gloves, carefully remove the pipe from the boiling water.
- Straighten the pipe: While the pipe is still hot and pliable, gently straighten it to the desired shape. Hold it in the straight position until it cools down and retains its shape.
Straighten Pex Pipes With A Heat Gun
Another effective method for straightening Pex pipes is by using a heat gun. Here’s how you can do it:
- Prepare the heat gun: Set the heat gun to a low or medium temperature.
- Heat the curved section: Gradually heat the curved section of the Pex pipe using the heat gun. Keep the heat gun moving back and forth to distribute the heat evenly.
- Straighten the pipe: Once the pipe becomes pliable, gently straighten it to the desired shape. Be careful not to overheat the pipe or hold the heat gun in one spot for too long, as it may damage the pipe.
- Cool down the pipe: Allow the pipe to cool down and set it in a straight position before installing it.
Straighten Pex Pipes With Spring Inserts
Spring inserts are flexible plastic coils that can be inserted into Pex pipes to help straighten them. Here’s how you can use spring inserts:
- Select the appropriate spring insert: Choose a spring insert that matches the diameter of your Pex pipe.
- Insert the spring: Gently push the spring insert into the curved section of the Pex pipe until it reaches the end.
- Straighten the pipe: The spring insert will exert pressure on the pipe, gradually straightening it. Leave the spring insert in the pipe for a few hours or as the manufacturer recommends.
- Remove the spring insert: Once the pipe has straightened, carefully remove the spring insert from the pipe.
Straighten Pex Pipes With A Bending Spring
A bending spring is a specialized tool used to reshape Pex pipes. Here’s how you can straighten Pex pipes with a bending spring:
- Select the appropriate bending spring: Choose a bending spring that matches the diameter of your Pex pipe.
- Insert the bending spring: Insert one end of the bending spring into the curved section of the Pex pipe.
- Bend the pipe: Apply gentle force while bending the pipe in the opposite direction of the existing curve. The bending spring will help reshape the pipe.
- Gradually release the tension: Slowly release the tension on the bending spring while maintaining the desired shape of the pipe.
Straighten Pex Pipes With Weights
Using weights is a straightforward method to straighten Pex pipes. Here’s how you can do it:
- Prepare the weights: Place heavy objects, such as books or tools, on the curved section of the Pex pipe.
- Apply pressure: The weight of the objects will gradually straighten the pipe over time. Leave the weights on the pipe for a few hours or overnight.
- Remove the weights: After the pipe has straightened, carefully remove the weights from the pipe.
Straighten Pex Pipes With Clamps
Clamps can be used to straighten Pex pipes by exerting pressure on the curved section. Here’s how you can do it:
- Select appropriate clamps: Choose clamps that fit the diameter of your Pex pipe.
- Position the clamps: Place the clamps on either side of the curved section of the pipe.
- Tighten the clamps: Gradually tighten the clamps to apply pressure on the curved section. Be cautious not to overtighten and damage the pipe.
- Leave the clamps in place: Allow the clamps to remain on the pipe for a few hours or as the manufacturer recommends.
- Remove the clamps: After the pipe has straightened, carefully remove the clamps from the pipe.
Straighten Pex Pipes With A Ratchet Strap
A ratchet strap can be an effective tool for straightening Pex pipes. Here’s how you can do it:
- Position the ratchet strap: Place the ratchet strap around the curved section of the Pex pipe.
- Tighten the strap: Use the ratchet mechanism to tighten the strap and apply pressure on the curved section. Be cautious not to overtighten and damage the pipe.
- Leave the strap in place: Allow the strap to remain on the pipe for a few hours or as the manufacturer recommends.
- Release the tension: Gradually release the tension on the ratchet strap and remove it from the pipe.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Straighten Pex Pipes
When straightening Pex pipes, it is important to avoid certain mistakes that can lead to damage or ineffective results. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
Applying excessive heat: Overheating the Pex pipe can weaken its structure or cause it to melt. Use heat guns or boiling water cautiously and avoid prolonged exposure to heat.
Using excessive force: Applying too much force when straightening the pipe can lead to cracks, leaks, or deformation. Apply gentle pressure and allow the pipe to gradually straighten.
What Happens If You Kink PEX?
If you kink a PEX pipe, it can cause several issues and hinder its efficiency. When a PEX pipe gets kinked, it restricts the flow of water and affects the overall water pressure in your plumbing system.
This can lead to reduced water flow at fixtures, such as faucets and showers. Additionally, kinking can weaken the structural integrity of the pipe, making it more susceptible to leaks or bursts. It’s important to avoid kinking PEX pipes during installation or any subsequent modifications.
If you accidentally kink a PEX pipe, it’s recommended to cut out the damaged section and install a new piece to ensure proper water flow and prevent potential plumbing problems in the future.
What Is The Best Way To Straighten Coiled Plastic Pipes?
The best way to straighten coiled plastic pipes, such as PEX pipes, is to use a combination of heat and gentle pressure. Here are a few methods that you can follow:
Apply heat: Use a hair dryer or heat gun, or immerse the coiled section of the pipe in hot water. Warm the pipe evenly, moving the heat source back and forth.
Straighten the pipe: Once the plastic pipe becomes pliable, gently straighten it by applying gradual pressure. You can use your hands or a flat object, like a board or ruler, to guide the pipe into a square shape.
Cool down: Hold the pipe in a straight position until it cools down and retains its shape. Remember to avoid using excessive heat or force, as it can damage the plastic pipe. Take your time and be patient during the straightening process.
Straightening Pex pipes is essential to ensure optimal performance and smooth water flow in plumbing systems. By following the techniques mentioned in this article, such as using boiling water, heat guns, spring inserts, bending springs, weights, clamps, or ratchet straps, you can effectively straighten Pex pipes and maintain the integrity of your plumbing system.
Frequently Asking Questions:
Is it necessary to remove the weights or clamps from the pipe once it has straightened?
Yes, it is important to remove the weights or clamps from the pipe once it has straightened to avoid any long-term pressure on the pipe, which could potentially lead to deformation or damage.
How long does it take for a Pex pipe to straighten using weights?
The time required for straightening a Pex pipe using weights can vary depending on the pipe’s material, diameter, and the extent of the curve. It is recommended to leave the weights on the pipe for a few hours or overnight for effective results.
Can I reuse the spring inserts or bending springs for multiple pipes?
Yes, spring inserts and bending springs can be reused for straightening multiple Pex pipes, as long as they are in good condition and match the diameter of the pipes.