Most new homes are fitted with a plumbing manifold system for the distribution of hot and cold water throughout the household. Plumbing manifolds offer a number of significant advantages over traditional copper pipes. Since these systems use flexible and durable cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes, they are easier to install. These PEX pipes can carry cold and hot water without any of the disadvantages associated with copper.
Plumbing manifold systems also enable you to safely and quickly isolate any line that is leaking. Further, they help ensure that constant water pressure is maintained in all the lines, because each fixture receives water directly from a set of cold and hot water PEX pipes that emanate from the manifold. If you want to install a plumbing manifold system in your home, here’s what you need to do.
Step 1 – Site the Manifold
The first step is to decide on the location for the plumbing manifold itself. Try to install it close to the water heater outlet. Service closets and basements are excellent options for siting a plumbing manifold.
Step 2 – Run the PEX Piping
Once you have figured out where to install the plumbing manifold, the next step is to run PEX piping from the manifold to all the fixtures. Normally, you will be running two sets of pipes from the manifold to each fixture—one for hot water and the other for cold water. Use separate color-coded pipes for hot and cold water so that you don’t make a mistake when you’re finally attaching the pipes. You may have to drill holes in wall studs to run the pipes through them. When doing so, ensure that you drill the hole near the center, so that there is less chance of the plastic pipes becoming damaged if any nail is hammered into the wall. It is also a good idea to separate the hot and cold water lines as much as possible from each other.
Step 3 – Attach the Pipes
Once you have run pipes to all the water fixtures in our house, it is time to attach them to the metal pipes that service the fixtures. Use crimp rings to securely attach the PEX pipes to the metal pipes with a crimping tool. Make sure that the pipes are securely fastened and properly crimped; otherwise you could risk running leaks. If your water fixtures have not yet been installed, you can attach the PEX pipes to stub outs. Stub outs are dummy pipes that are put into place to indicate where the fixtures will go. Once the fixtures have been installed, the stub outs can be cut and the valves and actual pipes for the fixture installed.
Step 4 – Install the Plumbing Manifold
Now it is time to install the actual plumbing manifold. Use the mounting template provided with the manifold to mark and drill holes in the wall. Use the supplied bolts to firmly secure the plumbing manifold in place after ensuring that it is plumb. Next attach the various PEX pipes to their individual shut-off valves on the manifold. Lastly, connect the plumbing manifold to the main water supply lines.