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Old 10-23-2009, 12:21 AM   #1
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Default Using PEX tubing for Mash Tun manifold?

After spending some time looking at CPVC in Home Depot, I noticed PEX tubing. I searched the forums, but haven't found any threads regarding using this material as a manifold for my 10 gal round cooler mash tun. With a temp rating of 200 degrees F, this should handle mash and sparging temps, no? What do you all think?

As I see it:
Pros

  • Cheap!
  • for potable water- no leaking chemicals
  • can handle mash and sparge temps
  • will fit into CPVC fittings (also cheap)
  • flexible so I can design a manifold like figure 163 on Palmer's website. http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixD-1.html Plus, it would use a lot less fittings than rigid copper pipe or CPVC

Possible Cons
  • Slits (w/ a hacksaw) might "bend" open to a larger slit. Drill holes instead?

Finally, with batch sparging, should I use 1/2" or 3/4" tubing?
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:42 AM   #2
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Pex will work great. Its inert like plastic used in the brew buckets. The only downside is the fittings are a bit expensive. You can use brass sharkbite fittings with them.

CON: you cannot glue pex to CPVC fittings. You could attach them to cpvc with a screw or some other mechanical fastener.

Per http://www.ppfahome.org/pex/faqpex.html

Can PEX be joined with solvent cement?

No. PEX cannot be joined with solvent cement, glues or heat fusion. PEX is installed using only mechanical fittings or compression fittings.


Last edited by BargainFittings; 10-23-2009 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BargainFittings View Post
The only downside is the fittings are a bit expensive. You can use brass sharkbite fittings with them.

CON: you cannot glue pex to CPVC fittings. You could attach them to cpvc with a screw or some other mechanical fastener.
Thanks. After playing around with CPVC fittings in Home Depot, I'm not too concerned with having to buy manufacture recommended fittings for the PEX. The CPVC fittings are cheap and fit snug, with the added advantage of being able to disassemble easily for cleaning.
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:00 PM   #4
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I also us a round cooler for my mash tun. I attached some PEX tubing to the lid for use as my sparge arm. I attached the tubing with zip ties and drilled 1/8 holes every 2 inches at varying angles for my sparge arm. So far, it has worked well

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Old 12-22-2009, 05:02 AM   #5
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The sparge arm sounds like it would work well, but I gave up on making a manifold with it. Pex on a rectaugular (or any other (90 degree based manifold)) would work great and be economical, but it wan't very easy to work with when making a wound manifold for my "drink" cooler.

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Old 12-22-2009, 06:26 AM   #6
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pex is bad ass

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Old 12-22-2009, 01:51 PM   #7
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The only thing I don't like about PEX is that it grows in length as it gets hot. It is not a big issue if using short pieces. If using longer sections putting a loop or a "hump" in the line allows it to grow & shrink without putting strain on your fittings. I also like PEX because it insulates somewhat. There is less heat loss through the tubing and you can touch the tubing without getting burned.

PEX fitting can be much more inexpensive if you buy them from a plumbing supply wholesaler that usually deals with contractors. I've found Lowes & Home Depot to be at least double the price. Shark Bite fittings are simple to use, can connect to CPVC, Copper and of course PEX but they are expensive. The simple PEX fittings & copper rings are much cheaper but you need a special tool (expensive) to crimp the rings. If you just need to make a couple connections use the Shark Bite fittings. If you are doing a complex system and maybe want to add a bathroom to your house then buy the PEX crimper tool and use the cheaper fittings.

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Old 12-22-2009, 02:26 PM   #8
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I've got about 150' of PEX from a radiant floor project that I did. I was hoping to be able to use it when I create my brew house in our barn someday. Which reminds me I need to go get a lottery ticket.

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Old 12-22-2009, 03:28 PM   #9
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You could make a round manifold with a Tee fitting and loop it.

Take a heat gun to it if it doesn't want to conform to that tight a circle.

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Old 12-23-2009, 03:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BargainFittings View Post
You could make a round manifold with a Tee fitting and loop it.

Take a heat gun to it if it doesn't want to conform to that tight a circle.
I did that exact thing for a sparge manifold
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