REHAU announced the results of an installation time study designed to compare different pipe and fitting systems used in commercial plumbing projects. The study, conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs, was commissioned by REHAU to quantify the installation time savings plumbers can achieve by using its PEXa plumbing system versus rigid piping systems and other cold-expansion PEX systems in a typical commercial new construction setting.
The study compared the installation of four systems: copper pipe with press fittings; copper pipe with solder fittings; PEXa pipe with ASTM F1960 cold-expansion fittings; and REHAU PEXa pipe with EVERLOC+ fittings.
The timed installations were performed by an experienced commercial plumbing crew in two identical sections of a mockup hotel guest floor. Each of the four systems were installed on a section of the mockup by two different plumbers. The installations included 1/2-in., 3/4-in., 1-in., 1 1/4-in., and 2-in. piping, representing the size ranges in a typical hotel plumbing system.
“It is pretty obvious that installation of flexible systems such as PEXa will be faster than copper because of the simpler joining technique and the reduced requirement for directional fittings,” said Jonathan Bittenbender, director of engineering in the building solutions division at REHAU. “But how much faster? That’s what we set out to determine.”
Key findings of the study were:
- The REHAU PEXa pipe with EVERLOC+ fitting system installed 66 percent faster than copper with solder fittings, 52 percent faster than copper with press fittings and 21 percent faster than PEXa with ASTM F1960 cold-expansion fittings.
- PEXa systems and the copper solder system passed the 60-psi (413 kPA) pressure test on the first attempt, while two un-pressed fittings were discovered in the copper press installation during the pressure test.
- Installation time for PEXa with ASTM F1960 cold-expansion fittings increased by 33 percent versus REHAU PEXa with EVERLOC+ during a cold-room installation, with temperature slightly above freezing at 33° F (0.6°C).
After the installers had worked with all four fitting systems, they were asked to comment on aspects they liked and disliked about each of the systems.
“The plumbers indicated that copper with solder fittings was their least favorite material, because it is messy and finished work doesn’t look as professional,” Bittenbender said. “They preferred PEX over copper installations because of fewer fittings needed and less time measuring, cutting and attaching fittings to pipe. They also were the least concerned with the long-term health effects of PEX compared with other piping systems.”
The REHAU PEXa plumbing system comprises RAUPEX crosslinked polyethylene (PEXa) pipe and EVERLOC+ compression-sleeve fittings in diameters up to 2 inches for commercial and multifamily projects. The system is designed for reliability, safety and cost savings in plumbing and hydronic piping applications. Connections are made quickly using battery-powered EVERLOC+ compression-sleeve tools and a consistent, two-step expansion/compression process in any temperature and all types of weather. Completed joints are immediately secure and ready for pressure-testing.
“Employing one consistent connection technique across all sizes and weather conditions eliminates many of the complications that can occur during plumbing installations,” Bittenbender said.
Complete details on the commercial plumbing time study can be found at www.everlocplus.com/timestudy.