The "heart" of the system
The bathtubs were set during rough-in
The washing machine hookups

Rough Plumbing Part 2

Although the framing was not completely done, the plumbers decided that they could get most of their rough-in completed with the house as it was. When they started, the only major area that was still unframed was the outside garage walls, and naturally there is not going to be any plumbing them.

Instead of copper, we are using Pex tubing for our plumbing system, which has some nice advantages. For example, each water line connects directly to a manifold in the mechanical room. This means that you can turn each water run on and off at the main manifold like an electrical circuit.

More importantly, however, is that the hot water gets to the tap quicker. In a copper system, usually a 3/4 inch hot water pipe spans the full length of the house to provide service to each plumbing fixture. Without some type of pump, the hot water sits in this pipe and gets cold when no hot water is running, which means you have to push out the entire volume of water in the pipe when you turn on the hot water before you will get hot water. Since each fixture ties directly to the manifold in a Pex system, the size of the pipes can be much smaller, which means less time for hot water to arrive at the fixture.

At the time we did our installation, PEX was quite a bit cheaper than copper pipe, however, the saving in materials are offset somewhat by the cost of the installation. Since each fixture has a "home run" back to the supply, there can be a bit more work tying everything together. Another upside with PEX, however, is that you typically don't have any fittings within the walls, which means less chance for failure or leakage.

Again, since each fixture in our system has a direct connection back to the manifold, it allows us to be flexible with a soft water system. The water in our area is quite hard, so a soft water system is a must. Regardless, there are certain places where you don't want soft water such as the ice maker, kitchen sink, and other places from which you will drink the water. The individual circuits allow you to determine exactly what has soft water and what does not.

Pex has been around for decades and has an expected life span as long or longer than copper.

Besides roughing in the drain and supply lines, the plumbers also set the bathtubs into place. It makes it look somewhat like a living space now!

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