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I replaced the iron pipes serving my clothes washer with PEX. PEX was chosen to allow flexibility in the placement of the pipes during demolition of cabinets, etc. I had been thinking I'd build new cabinets and attach the PEX to their structure, but decided to go with standalone metal shelving instead, leaving me with a dilemma about how to secure the PEX pipes. Here's what it looks like now:

floppy PEX pipes not attached to the wall

I think my options are:

  1. Replace PEX with copper pipe, which, being rigid, would require less support.
  2. Frame out an interior soffit with 2x4s and drywall to secure and hide the PEX.
  3. Surface-mount PEX to plaster walls using a plastic bracket like the one on the right: enter image description here I expect I'd have to use screws and plaster anchors instead of nails. I'd like the hot side to be offset from the wall to leave room for insulation. I found copper "bells" (shown in photo above, on left) that do this for copper pipe but haven't found anything similar for PEX. I could use small pieces of wood to offset I guess.

  4. Another option would be to install 1 or 2 horizontal 1x2 lumber on the wall and attach the PEX to that.

I'd like to avoid the effort of Options 1 and 2 since this is a utility room that will be filled with shelving, so it doesn't have to look perfect. Is there anything I'm not thinking of?

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Use conduit hangers sized for the insulation, screwed to the wall. Insulate both the hot and cold or the cold will sweat on humid days.

enter image description here

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I couldn't find a picture with these installed like that; here's an example though.

enter image description here

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One thing I would suggest is that you install blocks of wood (pieces of 2x4) so that the units cannot squish the pipe. That might be overkill but I don't like the idea of exposed and unprotected plastic pipe. Even if it was copper I'd try to protect it somehow. The only thing I wouldn't be worried about protecting would be flexible metallic supply lines. You can get them in surprisingly long lengths, or use nipples to connect two or more of them.

But the PEX is already in, so screw it. You just need some more insulation (for the cold side) and some conduit hangers (probably 1-1/2" or 2"). And something to keep the units away from the pipes.

  • I think this is what I'll end up doing. I'm not sure I agree about needing to insulate the cold pipes; after all, all my existing cold water pipes are uninsulated (and I'm in a dry climate). It would give a cleaner look however, and would probably help reduce pipe vibration sounds. – littleturtle Oct 13 '16 at 1:56
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If it were me, I would go with #4 but use 1X6 instead, placing both pipes on the single horizontal piece. If it is plaster and not sheetrock, use screws to hold everything in place. You could even use it as a shelf ledger in places where appropriate. Use the black plastic device for all of the holding, except use longer screws where there is pipe insulation. The clamps hold the pipe without the screws drawn tight and the longer screws act as a standoff.

  • I like the idea of simply using longer screws to allow space for pipe insulation, though I'm not sure it would be secure enough. The washer is high-efficiency (HE) and the pipes vibrate a lot. – littleturtle Oct 13 '16 at 1:58

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