Uponor products mentioned in this case study
RESIDENTIAL: Plumbing Systems
The tubing in Uponor plumbing systems resists aggressive water and soil conditions, making it the solid choice for areas like the Southwest.
Plumbers and homeowners alike have a common concern when it comes to the plumbing systems in Tucson, Ariz. — reliability. They want a plumbing system that will withstand the aggressive water found in the Arizona desert, and metal pipe, because it is susceptible to corrosion damage, is not the answer.
This is what originally led Chris McGinnis, owner of Tucson Plumbing and Heating, to look at alternative plumbing materials. With the withdrawal of polybutylene from the plumbing market, McGinnis needed a quality plumbing product that was reliable for his customers and easy to install for his plumbers.
He achieved all of that and more when he discovered Uponor’s plumbing system with Wirsbo AQUAPEX® tubing. The flexibility of crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubing eliminates many of the joints necessary in rigid plumbing systems, saving plumbers both time and money.
Unlike other flexible plumbing systems, Uponor PEX tubing has been used in radiant floor heating and plumbing systems around the world for over 30 years. It also holds up very well against the aggressive water and soil conditions in the Southwest.
One of the most attractive benefits of the Uponor plumbing system is its revolutionary ProPEX® fitting system. ProPEX fittings use the shape memory of Uponor PEX tubing to form a connection that is fast, permanent and reliable. The connections are easily made with a tool that expands the tubing enough for the fitting to be inserted. The tubing then shrinks around the fitting as it returns to its original shape. ProPEX fittings allow for visual inspection and eliminate the need for torches, glues and gauges.
“We have been using Wirsbo AQUAPEX since January 1996 for water distribution within the house and for the yard service,” McGinnis says. “The ProPEX connection is the most positive connection available. My plumbers can tell just by looking at the fitting if they’ve made a good connection. When we were using polybutylene, there was always the concern that somewhere in the system a connection had not been crimped.”
Wirsbo AQUAPEX tubing also comes with a 25-year warranty when installed by an Uponor-trained installer, and according to McGinnis, warranties for other flexible plumbing systems do not compare.
“We have been very successful convincing all 30 of our builders that Wirsbo AQUAPEX is a better system,” McGinnis says. “They now understand all its benefits — how it’s clean and healthy, offers a 25•year warranty and is proven reliable in over three decades of use.”
McGinnis employs over 60 plumbers that install plumbing systems in over 1500 homes in the Tucson area each year. All his plumbers are trained to install Wirsbo AQUAPEX and have found it to be an impressive solution to the problems presented by copper, CPVC and other plastic alternatives.
“My plumbers like how easy the ProPEX fitting is to install and they also appreciate the time savings that results,” McGinnis says. “Rigid systems like copper and CPVC require more connections and more time without the assurance of a positive connection. Also, using Wirsbo AQUAPEX has eliminated many of our call backs, which is also a nice benefit.”
Summary of Benefits
Reliable ProPEX Fittings — Uponor’s ProPEX fittings eliminate the need for torches, glues or gauges so McGinnis’ plumbers can make fast, easy connections that will last. And since ProPEX fittings allow for visual inspection, there is no concern with unmade connections. ProPEX fittings come with a 10-year warranty when installed by an Uponor-trained plumber.
Installation Options — The flexibility of Wirsbo AQUAPEX allows Tucson Plumbing and Heating various installation methods. Some of McGinnis’ homes use a traditional branch method of installation while others use a manifold that runs direct lines to each fixture. McGinnis enjoys the ability to choose the way the system is installed.
Proven Reliability — McGinnis wanted assurance that any system his company installed had a proven track record. He was able to have that with Uponor PEX. The tubing has been used in radiant floor heating and plumbing systems for over 30 years — longer than any other PEX product on the market.
Corrosion Resistance — Tucson is no stranger to flexible plumbing systems. The aggressive water and soil conditions in the desert can corrode metal pipe within a few years. McGinnis chose Wirsbo AQUAPEX because it offered corrosion resistance, a 25-year warranty and the most reliable fitting system on the market.
Comprehensive Training — Uponor representatives successfully trained each of McGinnis’ 60 plumbers, assuring each one was familiar with proper installation techniques. Now McGinnis’ customers are satisfied not only with the high-quality PEX product but also with the reliable installation.
The design information in this case study is provided for illustrative purposes only. The actual requirements of similar projects will depend on regional climatic conditions, project-specific heat loss, owner expectations, applicable building codes, etc. Please contact your Uponor representative for assistance in designing your specific projects.
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For more information about the benefits of cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) tubing, contact a reputable manufacturer, such as Uponor North America (www.uponor-usa.com).
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