Construction professionals constantly face time and budget constraints. So when they have the opportunity to save time and money without compromising performance, they take it.
For domestic water distribution systems within buildings, this can mean designing and installing a hybrid system – one that uses multiple piping materials to harness the features and benefits each has to offer.
For example, hybrid plumbing distribution systems allow the installer and building owner to reap the benefits of each material’s individual characteristics. Copper distribution mains can work well suspended in the ceiling of a straight corridor and a PEX tubing manifold with dedicated fixture supplies can speed up installation and performance within the units of an apartment building.
But hybrid systems also take more planning and design than systems that use only one material. Here are a few factors that come into play when using multiple materials:
Flow rates vary across piping materials. For example, a 1" copper pipe will deliver 20 GPM as compared to 12.5 GPM for PEX when considering pressure loss.
Supporting straight lengths of rigid pipe or tube requires different methods than clipping or fastening flexible PEX tubing, like Viega’s PureFlow. Codes also mandate different spacing requirements for hangers across various piping materials.
Codes will dictate what is required, but the methods used to adequately insulate different piping materials can vary.
When transitioning from one piping material to another, it is essential that proper fittings are used. There are a multitude of options available to convert copper, PEX, CPVC or PVC through various methods such as pressing, sweating, grooving, threading or solvents. Make sure the manufacturer approves of the transition fitting selected and that it is compliant with local code.
Expansion rates can differ when multiple piping materials are used in the same system. For metallic piping systems, it is common to build an expansion offset into the piping run. A flexible material such as PEX on the other hand can absorb expansion and contraction when it’s installed with adequate slack.
Viega’s experts can answer your questions about hybrid systems and help with design. For questions about hybrid systems contact Technical Support at 866-838-8714 or Design Services at 800-775-7734.