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Can I Use PEX Crimp on Copper Pipe?

Copper pipes have been used in plumbing projects for a long time. However, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing is one of the significant advancements the plumbing industry has seen in recent years. It has gained popularity due to its flexibility, ease of installation, and corrosion resistance. Each of these tubings requires different fittings and tools when making connections. With that, the question of whether PEX crimps are compatible with copper pipes often arises. This is precisely what this article addresses. It also elaborates on how to connect PEX to copper pipe.

Can I use PEX crimp on copper pipe? No, PEX crimps are designed explicitly for PEX tubing, not copper pipes. Copper tubing requires different fittings, like the copper press fittings. The two types of pipes are made of different materials: copper is a metal and rigid, while PEX is a plastic and flexible.

Understanding PEX Crimps and Copper Crimps

As outlined above, PEX and copper pipes don’t use the same type of fittings.
PEX crimp fittings are mainly used with PEX pipes to make pex-al-pex pipe connections. They are also the most common fittings used to make PEX connections in plumbing systems due to their compatibility with all types of PEX tubing (A, B, C). Most PEX crimps fittings in the market conform to ASTMF1807 and ASTMF2159 standards. Above all, installing PEX crimps requires using a PEX crimping tool or PEX crimper such as iCrimp PEX Pipe Crimping Tool to crimp the rings.

Copper crimps are also commonly known as copper press fittings and are meant to be used with copper pipes only to create water-tight connections. These fittings are the ideal alternative to soldering when dealing with copper pipes. Copper press fittings feature a ridge (where pressing is one) with a sealant rubber ring on the inside that helps create an air-tight and water-tight pipe connection. These types of fitting require a unique tool, such as the IWS-1632AF Copper Tubing Press Tool, to make copper pipe connections.

It’s worth noting that there are copper press fittings specifically designed for making PEX tubing connections. These press fittings are made of brass or poly materials and feature press sleeves.

Read more: Are Copper Press Fittings Reliable?

How to Connect PEX to Copper Pipe

It’s common to find that some sections of a plumbing system require PEX to copper transition. In such a situation, one has to consider installing a fitting that works effectively with both types of tubing. The best option is to use PEX to (x) copper pipe adapters and threaded male/female adapters. These types of fittings are designed to be compatible with PEX pipes on one end and copper pipes on the other end.
The type of fitting or adapter you choose also determines the methods of connection you’ll use. For instance, if you choose a threaded male/female adapter, you’ll thread the copper pipe on one end (usually the larger one). To connect the PEX A tubing on the other end of the adapter, you’ll need to use an expansion ring and PEX expansion tool for installation. For PEX B tubing, you can use a crimp ring and PEX crimping tool for installation.

Another way of connecting PEX to a copper pipe is by using a Push Fit Coupling or Push-To-Connect coupler. This method doesn’t require any special tools. However, you need to ensure the type of PEX tubing and copper pipe you’re using match the size of the coupling.

Read more: How to Install PEX B Fittings

Final Thought

Using PEX crimps on copper pipes is not recommended because it doesn’t create reliable and water-tight pipe connections. The best approach is to use crimps strictly designed for copper tubing if making copper pipe connections. In the case of PEX to copper pipe connections, there is a wide range of fittings for this type of pipe connection.
Depending on the chosen fitting, you'll need proper tools to make most PEX or copper pipe connections in a plumbing system. iCrimp is the leading online platform that offers quality, advanced, and affordable plumbing tools to professionals and DIY enthusiasts.


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