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Whether you’re just learning about PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) pipe for plumbing, hydronic piping and radiant heating and cooling systems, or you’re an industry veteran, the reality is that innovation is continuing to forge ahead when it comes to solutions that make it faster and easier to design and install a flexible plastic piping system.
For hydronic heating and cooling systems, a new product that just hit the market is turning heads as a smart solution for PEX riser applications: the opposing-port tee. It’s made of engineered polymer (EP), a durable material that has a proven history not only in the plumbing and HVAC industries, but also in medical devices and aerospace.
The ingenuity of one tee can reduce the number of fittings in a back-to-back application by 75 percent and the number of connections by 60 percent.
Gone are the days of using two tees and two elbows to pipe a system for a back-to-back fan coil unit. Now it can be done with one simple tee and less piping material. The tee is manufactured with ASTM F1960 expansion connections for PEX-a piping systems and is currently available in 1-inch, 1¼-inch, 1½-inch and 2-inch flow-through sizes with ¾-inch outlets.
Another great option is the new groove fitting adapters for metal-to-PEX hybrid systems. With the surge of PEX piping making its way into more and more commercial structures, the need for connections that work for both PEX and metal piping systems is increasing.
The fitting adapters feature an ASTM F1960 PEX connection on one end and a copper tube size (CTS) or iron pipe size (IPS) groove connection on the other end. The current offering, which is available in various 2-inch, 2½-inch and 3-inch configurations, is made from lead-free (LF) brass for potable-plumbing systems, but can also be used in hydronic heating and cooling applications as well.
Other metal-to-PEX hybrid system options include fittings that convert PEX to male thread, female thread, copper tubing sweat, copper fitting sweat and copper fitting press. These products, which are manufactured in ½-inch to 2-inch sizes, feature ASTM F1960 PEX connections on one end, with either a copper or NPT connection on the other. They are machined from C36000 brass, so they are not for potable applications but are ideal for hydronic heating and cooling systems.
So, the next time you’re designing or planning to install a PEX system, check out these fitting solutions that can add efficiencies and greater performance to your project.