Multipurpose PEX vs. Standalone CPVC Systems
Uponor AquaSAFE multipurpose systems are installed with flexible PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) tubing. This is the same reliable tubing used to plumb the majority of all new homes today. Standalone systems generally use rigid CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) or metal pipe.
The same reasons why PEX plumbing is installed in more homes today than rigid CPVC and copper combined also apply to its use for residential fire sprinkler systems.
- Fewer Fittings Reduces Liability: PEX-a tubing is very flexible, which means it can easily bend around corners and obstructions, reducing the number of required fittings and connections by nearly half. Eliminating half of the connections in a system also removes half of the potential leak points.
No dry-fitting leaks: The shape memory of PEX-a tubing makes it ideal for ProPEX® expansion fittings, which require the tubing and an expansion ring to be expanded before a fitting can be inserted. This unique system is highly reliable and eliminates the concern of dry-fitting leaks, which occur when a connection is temporarily joined before it is cemented or soldered. If an installer inadvertently forgets to go back and cement or solder the connection, a costly dry-fitting leak will result.
- Better Flow: The elimination of fittings also improves a system’s performance. This is particularly important for fire sprinkler systems, which rely on having the necessary water flow available in case of activation. Every additional fitting adds friction, reducing the hydraulic performance of the system, which can require system upsizing and increased material costs.
- Freeze Leak Resistance: Since many fire sprinkler systems are installed in cold-weather attics, freezing is a potential issue. While all systems should be properly insulated to prevent frozen tubing, the natural flexibility of Uponor PEX-a allows it to expand up to three times its diameter without cracking.