Reworking the Existing Plumbing and Replacing Brass Water Pipes with PEX Tubing

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 2, Part 2



Bob and Larry Janesky of Basement Systems review the work being done to cut a drainage trench in the concrete around the perimeter of the basement floor. Water will be channeled through the trench to a sump – dug at the lowest spot in the basement – where it can be pumped out of the home.  A triple safe power pump protects the home even if there is a loss of power.  Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing once all the waterproofing and flood-prevention measures are put in place in the basement. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing Corp. first cut the pipes into sections for easy removal and demonstrates some of the specialized work he does to install the pipe, including using oakum, a joint runner, and poured hot lead to form a joint seal. Old brass water pipes are replaced with PEX tubing, creating more headroom in the basement and the sink and laundry lines can be easily relocated.  Bob talks with Dan Driscoll of Rinnai about the new on-demand water heater being installed. The heater is a whole-house system sized for a three-bathroom household, laundry, and cleaning. An on-demand, tankless water heater saves basement space  and is energy efficient because it does not store hot water. Driscoll opens up the water heater to show how the system works. Once the water is turned on, sensors detect the amount of water being used and the temperature of the incoming cold water. The on-demand system is about 40% more efficient than gas-fueled tank water heaters and 70% more efficient than electric tank water heaters.

 

Part 1: Keep Water Out of the Basement
Part 2: Reworking the Existing Plumbing and Replacing Brass Water Pipes with PEX Tubing
Bob reviews the work done on the existing plumbing once all the waterproofing and flood-prevention measures are put in place in the basement. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing Corp. first cut the pipes into sections for easy removal. The cast iron pipe was cut and removed using a special pipe cutter. Bob explains that Leone is a union contractor who decided to go into business for himself. His helper, Matthew Orlando, is going through the apprentice training program through the Plumber and Gas Fitters Local Union Number 12 in Boston. The chapter spends $4,500 a year to put each apprentice through a thorough five-year training program where they spend two nights per week learning about everything from bathrooms to hospital gas work. Leone demonstrates some of the specialized work he does to install the pipe, including using oakum, a joint runner, and poured hot lead to form a joint seal. Leone then shows how some of the other seals are put in place in the pipe. Al Leone of Leone Plumbing replaces the old brass water pipes with PEX tubing in the Melrose basement project. Leone explains that the water hammer will be removed as it is so old it is obsolete. Leone cuts the pipes into sections for easy removal. The brass pipe dates back to when the house was built and is corroded and thin from years of use. The proper length of tubing is pulled and held in place by a bend support. Bob explains that by using PEX tubing, more headroom is created in the basement and the sink and laundry lines can be easily relocated. Kyle Tasse of Viega North America shows Bob the three different types of PEX: Pexcel for plumbing, Pextron for heating, and Fostapex for both plumbing and heating. According to Tasse, the advantage to Pexcel is the connection system that features a sleeve with an eyehole for double checking that the sleeve is securely on the tubing. The fitting holds the sleeve in place so that the lines can be dry fitted and attached later. Bob points out that innovative technology is exciting for do-it-yourselfers, but it is often best to hire a master plumber.
Part 3: Installing an On-Demand Hot Water System

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