How To Remove A PEX Crimp Ring (Do This!)
Plumbing connections inside the home can be secured in a variety of ways. If the connections inside your home are relatively new, you may find that various kinds of PEX fittings have been used. That’s due to PEX emerging as a popular alternative in recent years.
If you do have PEX connections inside your home, there’s a good chance that PEX crimp rings have been used too. Occasionally, those crimp rings or the pipes they’re connected to present problems of their own. They must be removed so that the connections can be repaired.
Start removing the PEX crimp ring by first cutting through it with a sharp tool. Once you’ve cut through the crimp ring, you now have to heat it with either a blowtorch or hairdryer. Finish the process by sliding a screwdriver under the crimp ring and jostling it free.
PEX crimp rings are components of your home you may not have a ton of experience dealing with. Don’t worry because removing them is a relatively simple task. Find out more about handling PEX crimp rings and other important topics related to them by reading on.
What Is a PEX Crimp Ring?
Crimp rings are components added to pipes to help secure connections better. As their name suggests, crimp rings are locked into place with the help of a crimping tool.
You can find crimp rings made from different materials. Copper and stainless are among the more common options. Obviously, crimp rings can also be made from PEX and they are becoming more prevalent.
So, what is PEX anyway? PEX is another name used for the material known as cross-linked polyethylene. It’s a type of plastic that offers remarkable durability, flexibility, and heat resistance.
Because of the aforementioned material’s positive qualities, it’s also been used to create pipes. You’ll often see the PEX pipes used to connect water supply and distribution lines. PEX pipes also often used in heat transfer applications.
Given the qualities and the versatility of PEX, it should come as no surprise that it’s being used for securing plumbing. Homeowners know all too well just how expensive plumbing-related repairs can be. The increased use of PEX crimp rings should help cut down on the number of those repairs.
Generally speaking, PEX crimp rings are positive additions to a home’s plumbing system. They are going to be used even more frequently moving forward. That’s why knowing how to handle them has also become more important.
Why Is Removing the PEX Crimp Ring Necessary?
Why do you need to remove the PEX crimp ring at all? Well, that may become necessary for a variety of reasons. For starters, the crimp ring itself may be damaged. Improper installation could lead to the PEX crimp ring being rendered incapable of doing its job. You’ll have to remove and replace it as soon as possible if you want to get your plumbing in order.
Though PEX is indeed a very durable material, it’s still not immune to wear and tear. After some time, some of those crimp rings may need to be replaced. It’s also not just the PEX crimp rings themselves that you have to worry about. If you used those crimp rings on PEX pipes, you may also encounter some unexpected issues in the future.
The PEX pipes can be damaged by unwanted pests inside your home. Homeowners who are dealing with some form of rat infestation should check on their PEX pipes regularly. Rats are capable of gnawing through PEX pipes, thus leading to your plumbing being significantly damaged.
Any type of damage affecting your PEX pipes will necessitate the removal of the attached crimp rings. The same goes for any other type of pipe that a PEX crimp ring is helping secure.
Precautions to Take before Removing PEX Crimp Rings
You’ll be using some sharp tools and heat to remove the PEX crimp rings. Because of that, you cannot just proceed with removal right away. You must first consider where the crimp rings are located.
PEX crimp rings attached to gas line pipes cannot be removed immediately. You will first have to remove the pipe from its current position before working on the crimp ring. Pipes located close to appliances should also be removed first before the crimp rings can be detached.
It’s also not a bad idea to wear some protective gear. Thick gloves can help protect against the heat and potential cuts.
How to Remove the PEX Crimp Rings
Let’s now get to the process of removing the PEX crimp rings. It’s a short process, but one that must be carried out with plenty of caution.
Step 1: Prepare the Tools for PEX Crimp Ring Removal
The tools you’ll need for this job include a flathead screwdriver, some kind of cutting tool, and an item for heating. You have a few choices to make here.
When it comes to the cutting tool, a PEX cutter would be the ideal option. It works splendidly on PEX, leaving a clean cut in its wake. If you don’t have a PEX cutter, a hacksaw or razor blade can work as alternatives.
Using a rotary tool is also an idea worth considering. Rotary tools are easier to use on smaller items such as PEX crimp rings. Don’t shy away from using a rotary tool if you have one.
As for the heating item, you can use either a handheld blowtorch or a hairdryer. Just make sure that you can control the temperature output of whichever item you decide to use.
Step 2: Cut into the PEX Crimp Ring
It’s now time for you to cut the PEX crimp ring. How you cut it will depend on the tool you’re using. Using a PEX cutter is easy, but you have to be wary of dealing with damage unnecessarily. Be as precise as you can when you make the cut.
When using either a hacksaw or the razor blade, you have to be more delicate with your strokes. Doing so will prevent damage to the crimp ring. You should also try to cut at an angle to make a later step easier to complete.
With the rotary tool, try to make the cut going from north to south at an angle. Don’t let the rotary tool stay in one spot too long to prevent damage to the pipe.
Regardless of which tool you use to cut, you need to keep going until you reach the pipe underneath. As soon as you catch a glimpse of the pipe, slow down to prevent cutting into it.
Step 3: Heat Up the PEX Crimp Ring
Cutting into the PEX crimp ring is not enough to remove it. You’ll also have to heat it up to loosen its grip on the pipe. The reason why the heat is needed is because PEX crimp rings often use barbs. The barbs help the crimp rings cling stronger to the pipe. You have to melt the barbs partially first before the crimp ring can come free.
Whether you’re using the hairdryer or handheld blowtorch, make sure that you set it to low. You don’t need a lot of heat to loosen up the PEX crimp ring’s grip.
You must also keep the heat moving around. Focusing it on one area could cause something important to melt. The crimp ring or the pipe could be rendered useless if that happens.
Step 4: Pry the PEX Crimp Ring Loose
After cutting the PEX crimp ring and weakening its grip using heat, you should now be able to pry it loose. Pick up your flathead screwdriver and slide it under the PEX crimp ring.
With the screwdriver in position, start slowly jostling the crimp ring out of position. This will be easier thanks to the angled cut. Work slowly to prevent damage to the pipe. Continue working the crimp ring up and out until it’s no longer connected to the pipe.
Should You Use PEX or Copper Connections inside Your Home?
Seeing as how more homes are making the shift to PEX, is it time for you to do the same thing? Or should you stick with your copper fixtures?First off, you should know that PEX may not be an option in your area. There are places in the country where the use of PEX is prohibited. Making the switch in those areas is not even possible. Now if PEX is allowed in your area, you should consider some variables. In many ways, PEX compares favorably to copper.PEX is remarkably flexible and that makes it easier to use for DIYers. That’s the case for both installation and repair. You also don’t have to make as many connections if you’re going to use PEX.Using PEX also makes a lot of sense if you live somewhere cold and want to protect your plumbing against freezing. PEX also generally costs less than copper plumbing fixtures.The main advantage of copper is that it lasts an incredibly long time given the right conditions. You may go decades without encountering any issues related to them.
Should You Use PEX Crimp Rings or PEX Clamps?
You have the option of using either PEX crimp rings or PEX clamps in your plumbing. PEX clamps are preferable because they are more versatile and fit more pipes. However, you can ensure a tighter seal along your plumbing connections if you use the PEX crimp rings.
We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.
More by Upgraded Home Team