What Is Composite Pipe?
In my last article, I talked about working with Cross-linked polyethylene, commonly abbreviated PEX or XLPE tubing. In this article, I will discuss Composite Pipe. Composite pipe is quite similar to PEX with a significant difference it has an aluminum lining.
Composite Pipe has a wide range of applications.
- It replaces copper, steel and PVC pipe for hot and cold water piping.
- It can be used for in-floor heating systems and in snow-melting systems.
- Composite pipe is used for solar water heaters.
- Composite pipe can be used for the delivery of coal gas and natural gas.
- Composite pipe can be used in refrigerant system coils.
- Composite pipe can be used with hospital oxygen systems.
- Composite pipe can be used to sleeve wire or cable and in many other applications.
Basic tools for working with composite pipe.
- Composite pipe cutter with reamer.
- A set of internal/external bending springs.
- Adjustable wrenches.
Installing composite pipe
Composite pipe can be installed using the same techniques that I described in my article on PEX tubing with one exception, with composite pipe you have to use compression connectors. The good thing about that is that you do not have to buy a specific tool for each size pipe you use as you do with PEX. With PEX tubing, you have to buy a separate crimping tool for each size crimp ring and those tools average about $135 a piece. The only tool you need to install compression fittings is an inexpensive adjustable wrench.
How to install a compression connector.
- With the composite pipe in place, cut it to length using the pipe cutter. You could use a hacksaw to cut the composite pipe but using a pipe cutter assures you of a square cut. Having a square cut is essential to making a solid, leak free connection. Having a leak free connection is of the utmost importance, especially when using composite pipe with natural gas. A word of caution is in order here, before using composite pipe for natural gas, check with your building codes department to make sure it is permitted in your area.
- Once cut to length, ream out the inside of the pipe, removing any burrs left by the cutter. Make sure that there are no loose particles left inside the pipe after the reaming process.
- Slide the compression nut and ferrule over the end of the composite pipe.
- Work the end of the composite pipe up on the barbed fitting until it is seated squarely against the raised lip.
- Screw the compression nut on finger tight and the give it one additional full turn with the adjustable wrench