Q. "I purchased some 1/2" and 3/4" pipe, but I'm not sure how loose or tight they should be. How should I tighten the nuts on the couplings?"
A. Tighten until they squeak, and turn a 1/4 turn more. Don't over tighten, and you'll have a connection that will last trouble free for many years and can easily be taken apart and reused.
Q. "Can I use the above fittings to mix copper, PEX and Polybutylene pipe?"
A. The above Qest acetal fittings fit over copper, cpvc, PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) and Polybutylene pipe. They have a stainless crimp fitting and an acetal compression sleeve that fit over any of those pipes. You can have copper on one side and cpvc on the other side of the fitting, etc. They are very easy to use. They are more bulky than the old insert fittings and for tight places they might not fit or work.
Q. "When did Polybutylene become unavailable?"
A. Shell Chemical Co. no longer supplies Polybutylene resin for pipe applications in the United States that was effective April 16, 1996.
Q. "I get confused about CPVC sizes. What type of CPVC pipe do these fittings fit?"
A. There are two "standard" sizes in CPVC, and this can be confusing. There is the size that matches the outside diameter of copper, which is called "CTS-sized". This is the type of CPVC that we offer, and that's the size that these QEST fittings will fit. With these fittings, you simply add 1/8" to the fitting size to determine the outside diameter of the pipe that will fit. (For instance, a 1/2" QEST fitting will fit CPVC pipe that has a 5/8" outside diameter.) PLEASE NOTE: The other type of CPVC pipe is the same size as steel pipe, which is known as "IPS-sized"; these QEST fittings will NOT compress onto IPS-sized pipe.
Q. "What is your opinion of Polybutylene?"
A. Due to us potentially getting dragged into a lawsuit we cannot really give you our opinion. Here is our founder's personal view (this is his opinion only, and not to be taken as advice or viewed as in any way him/us promoting or encouraging the use of P.B.). He is talking to myself here, and is not giving advice about P.B.:
"If I have up to 1 ppm of chlorine in my water, and if I only have copper or brass insert style fittings, and if I only had copper rings then I'd love P.B. piping for my own house. Of course it would have to be installed correctly and with as few fittings as possible. I have seen lots of defective copper, CPVC, PVC, ABS, galvanized piping, etc. but that was not the fault of those particular products either."
From what I have seen in my many years in the plumbing trade (has taught 10 College Plumbing Courses, been a Plumbing Contractor till 1977 and for over years a plumbing distributor), I believe P.B. has had problems. Some insert style acetal fittings have failed. With high concentrations of chlorine in the water there might be a potential problem. With aluminum rings there also might be a problem.
Polybutylene has some major good points as well:
Less water hammer, resistance against freeze damage, insulating qualities, it's quieter than metal piping.
Q. "Are the above repair fittings to code?"
A. These fittings work great but are not code in many areas. In some areas they are code but in most they may not be used in walls (as with most compression like fittings).
Q. "What is your opinion regarding the future supply of Polybutylene?"
A. Until the end of 1998 we thought that unless Shell changes their mind, there was absolutely no chance of anyone selling Polybutylene in the United States for potable water. In early 1999 we received an email from someone who wrote (but we do not know if this has any truth to it): "Shell has passed the resin to Montell in Belgium. Shell owns 50% of Montell but are selling the share back to Montell." If this has merit then possibly there is a chance that P.B. will someday become available in the U.S. We do know that there are many people who love this piping product.
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