How to Use a PEX Crimp Tool
Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes are common in most residential projects for plumbing applications. Thanks to their fantastic flexible nature: they’re easy to fit, and you can cut them in almost any size needed. Installing these pipes is easy, but you can’t do it using just any tool, especially when making connections/joints. You need a PEX crimp tool. What exactly is it?
A PEX crimp tool is explicitly designed to connect or join two pieces of PEX piping. It’s used for compressing copper crimp rings or stainless steel PEX press sleeves to secure PEX pipes to brass crimp fittings. Example of such a tool is the iCrimp F877 Stainless Steel PEX Press Sleeve (1/2-inch) Crimping Tool or the iCrimp PEX F1807 Combo (1/2 &3/4)-inch) Crimping Tool. Let’s explore how you can correctly use a PEX crimp tool to make a secure connection on PEX piping.
How to Use a PEX Crimp Tool: Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Prepare the PEX pipe
The first step before you start crimping your PEX pipes is to turn off the water if the PEX pipes you’re working on are already connected to the water system.
You should also cut the PEX pipes to the desired length and ensure the edges are cut precisely. Consider using a PEX pipe cutter suitable for your pipe’s size for the best results. For instance, the iCrimp PEX Pipe Cutter is perfect for cutting PEX pipes of 1/8 to 1 inch.
Step 2: Get the right Crimp Rings and connectors
How do you determine the right crimp ring size for your PEX tubing sizes? Your crimp ring size should always match the size of the PEX pipe. For instance, a 1/2” pipe matches a 1/2 ‘ring, a 1” pipe matches 1” etc.
For PEX fitting, the most prominent choice is the PEX-B crimp connectors with copper crimp rings.
Step 3: Install a crimp ring to the PEX pipe
Slide the crimp ring to the end of the PEX pipe to the exact position you want to crimp it.
Note: avoid positioning the crimp ring close to the edge of the pipe since it won’t give you the best connection if crimped at that position. It should be at least 3/4 inches from the edge.
Step 4: Insert a connector into the PEX pipe and crimp
Now you can insert the connector joint to the end of the PEX pipe where your crimp ring sits. Then open the jaws of your crimping tool, place it around the crimp rings, and squeeze the handles of the crimping tool to exert pressure on the joint until you hear a clicking sound.
Step 5: Install a crimp ring to the other PEX pipe
Repeat what you did in Step 3 above to install a crimp ring to the second pipe.
Step 6: Insert the connector into the other pipe and crimp
To make a joint, you’ll insert the connector fixed on the first pipe to the second pipe. Then, place your crimping tool’s jaws over the crimp ring and apply pressure until you hear a clicking sound.
Step 7: Check the connection using a crimp gauge
Using a crimp gauge will help you determine if the connection is secure. It has two sides, i.e., the “go” and “no go” sides. Here is how you do it: you slide the “go” side over the PEX crimp ring. If that particular side slides over the crimp ring and the “no go” side cannot, that signifies a good connection. Any result other than this indicates a poor crimp connection, and you should redo the crimping.
Using a PEX crimp tool is straightforward when working with PEX piping. What matters is ensuring your crimp ring is well aligned on the end of the pipe, and the connector is well inserted before crimping the joint. With the availability of such tools, plumbing tasks shouldn’t be that stressful even for an average person. For this reason, you can always get a wide range of Pex crimping tools for various pipe sizes and fittings from iCrimp.