PEX pipes have become a popular choice for plumbing systems due to their flexibility, durability, and resistance to corrosion. PEX fittings, on the other hand, allow a seamless connection between PEX pipes and other parts of the plumbing system.
But can you reuse PEX fittings? Yes, you can reuse the PEX fittings depending on their connection type. PEX fitting that uses compression, crimp, or push-fit styles allow them to be removed and reused. However, if one side of the PEX fitting is soldered to a metal pipe, you’ll need to unsolder the fitting.
Read on for more information on how to reuse PEX fittings and the best ways to remove them, depending on their type.
Can You Reuse PEX Fittings?
The answer is yes, but depending on the type of fitting and the application and with some caveats.
Typically, there are three ways you can connect PEX fittings – using crimps, push-fit, and expansion fitting. You can also solder one end to a metal pipe and crimp or expansion-fit it to a PEX pipe.
You can also use a push-fit fitting that is made to connect to a metal pipe on one end and PEX pipe on the other.
How you remove these various fittings will determine if you can reuse them. If you’re dealing with fittings connecting PEX pipe to a metal pipe or joint, unfortunately, you won’t be able to reuse them.
However, if you’re dealing with PEX fittings connecting PEX pipe to PEX, you can reuse them.
Here are various types of PEX fittings that you can reuse:
Crimp-And-Clamp-Style PEX Fittings
Crimp-style and Cinch Clamps PEX fittings require a copper ring or a stainless cinch clamp. You need to compress the ring and the clamp to create a seal and prevent leakage.
Typically, they are designed to be used once and should not be reused. However, there are some workarounds for reuse.
The style of crimping and clamping will determine how difficult it is to remove the fitting to reuse it. If you’re able to remove the crimp or the clamp, it will be easier to remove and reuse the PEX fitting.
But remember, the crimps and cinch clamps aren’t salvageable. During removal, you may need to damage them, which means you will have to get replacements when reusing the respective PEX fittings.
Push-Fit-Style PEX Fittings
Push-fit PEX fittings are simple joinings that connect two pipes together with just a push and fit connection. All you need to do is insert the pipe into the fitting and give it a gentle push until it clicks into place.
This simple process makes it easy to connect multiple pieces of pipe quickly and securely. Push-fit PEX fittings are designed to be used multiple times and can easily be removed and reused.
Push-fit-style PEX fitting use a simple mechanical compression system to securely connect PEX tubing for a strong and leak-free seal. Because of this, you need a unique disconnect tool to disconnect the PEX pipes and reuse the fittings.
A small O-ring inside the fitting may need to be replaced upon removal if it is damaged or worn. Also, the plastic fitting may get stuck inside the PEX pipe, but you can easily remove it.
Expansion-Style PEX fittings
Expansion-style PEX fittings, such as those that use a ring made out of PEX, can usually be removed, allowing you to reuse the PEX fitting. However, you will need a way to remove the expansion ring without damaging the fitting.
How Do You Remove and Reuse PEX Fittings?
That will depend on the type of PEX fitting that you have. Here are some tips for removing the various types of PEX fittings:
Copper Crimp-Style Fittings
Copper crimps are the easiest to remove when you have the right tools.
Method 1: Using a Specialized Copper Crimp Ring Removal Tool
You can use a specialized crimp ring removal tool or a Dremel with a grinding disk. The tool cuts through the copper ring, allowing you to remove it from the assembly.
Method 2: Cutting Through (Using A Dremel With A Grinding Disk)
When it comes to Dremel with a grinding disk, you have to be precise not to cut through the PEX pipe and damage the fitting. You want to just cut through the copper ring until you get to the pipe.
You can cut once and use a screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the ring. Once it’s out, remove the fitting from the PEX pipe.
Be sure to wear safety glasses when cutting with the Dremel to avoid debris getting in your eyes. Carefully cut into the ring until it pops off.
Stainless Steel Cinch-Clamp-Style Fittings
Stainless steel clamps are the toughest to remove. However, there are a few ways to remove them and reuse the PEX fittings.
Method 1: Using A Proprietary Tool
You can buy a proprietary tool at a hardware store to make the removal easier. This tool resembles an Allen wrench with a fitting on the end that slides over the crimped piece. All you need is to rotate the tool to break apart the fitting and allow you to remove the crimp ring.
You can also use pliers to remove the ring, but be careful as they can be sharp. To remove the stainless steel crimp ring, grip it with the pliers and pull it off.
Method 2: Using Household Items
You can also remove stainless steel crimp-style fittings using household items such as a screwdriver, a chisel, or a pair of linemen or heavy pliers.
Grip the tab on the end of the ring with the pliers and pop it past the locking mechanism to remove the crimp ring. This method is faster and more convenient than using a proprietary tool.
Expansion rings can be challenging to remove, but they can be done with the right tools and technique.
Method 1: Using A Utility Knife And A Heat Gun
To remove the expansion rings, make a straight cut away from the fitting using a razor blade. Then, use a heat gun to heat the fitting until it splits open.
Once the fitting is hot enough, carefully remove the ring with a pair of pliers or your fingers. Be careful when removing the ring, as it needs a tight seal to avoid leaks.
Method 2: Using A Saw
A saw can also remove the expansion rings. Choose a saw with teeth that have enough spacing. Having too fine of teeth can cause the plastic to bind and not cut effectively.
When using a saw, make angled cuts, rather than square cuts, to give the plastic a place to cut into. Once the cut is made, a screwdriver can be inserted and twisted to help split open the fitting.
Here is a video showing how you can remove and reuse these PEX fittings:
How To Remove The PEX Fitting From The PEX Pipe?
Using a tubing cutter, make a clean cut around the circumference of the pipe, cutting just past the fitting. Once the cut is made, use a pair of pliers to pull the fitting off the pipe.
However, if the crimp rings have been in place for a long time, it can be challenging to remove them without damaging the fitting. In this case, the only way to remove the fitting is to cut the PEX pipe.
You can use a hacksaw to cut a spiral into the pipe to help loosen it up. Once the fitting is loose, you can pull it off the pipe.
You can also use a soldering iron with a flat blade to cut into the pipe and loosen it from the fitting. Remember to cut with precision when dealing with plastic fittings to avoid damaging the rings or thread, making them unuseful.
Once all the pegs are removed, you should be left with a clean fit ready to be reused. Inspect the fitting to ensure there are no issues and that it can be reused in future plumbing projects.
Safety precaution: Wear safety glasses and gloves while removing PEX fittings to protect yourself from the sharp edges of the rings and any tools you may be using. Always turn off the water before starting any plumbing project.
Is Reusing PEX Fittings Worth It?
The answer is, it depends. Reusing PEX fittings may be a good option if you’re doing some basic repairs or upgrades.
However, if it’s a huge project, you might waste a lot of time removing the fittings to reuse them.
Because they aren’t too expensive to buy new, it may be worth investing in fresh parts instead of reusing old ones.
Here are some frequently asked questions about removing and reusing PEX fittings.
PEX fittings have an average life expectancy of 40-50 years.
It will depend on whether it’s crimped, compressed, or welded. If it’s crimped or compressed, then it can be reused. However, if it’s welded, the valve must be replaced.
It is possible to reuse PEX fittings, depending on the type and the application. Some fittings require a specialized tool or knowledge of the fitting to remove and reuse them.
By the way, think before reusing them. If you wish to use them for basic usages, that’s good to go. For big projects, it won’t worth it.
You should always wear safety glasses and gloves when working with PEX fittings to protect yourself from the sharp edges of the rings and any tools you may be using.
Where And Why Is PEX Banned? Details Information
Can You Reuse Copper Fittings?- (Explained!)
Can You Use Crimp Fittings On PEX-A?
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