Switching plumbing or upgrading to a more cost-effective system, like PEX tubing, is stressful. Done wrong and you could end up with a leak that causes severe water damage.
So, how do you avoid making this mistake? PEX comes with a handy tool to fix this problem: The Go/No-Go Gauge.
You’ve received your PEX plumbing system, and you’re asking yourself: How do I use this strange tool they call a Go/No-Go Gauge? What is it for? What does it gauge?
The short answer is it measures whether your crimps are fitting into place right. Thus, avoiding situations like a seal failing and dealing with water damage.
What is PEX Go/No Go Gauge?
This flat piece of rectangular metal, with circular cutouts side by side, helps you by ensuring your crimp’s fitted correctly. The ”Go” side is where if your crimp goes over the ring easily, the crimp is correct. The ”No-Go” side is just that, the crimp ring isn’t able to go through at any point.
How Does the Gauge Work?
Once you have finished connecting all your pipes and crimps, is when you’ll use your gauge. You’ll open the gauge on the ”Go” side, set it over the crimped ring, close it and try to move it. If the crimp’s done right, the gauge will slide easily over the ring.
Then you’ll flip the gauge over, and repeat the process with the ”No-Go” side. Again, correct crimp means it won’t enter the gauge on this side at any point.
If either side fails this gauge test, you’ll have to cut out the PEX fitting, get a new crimp ring, and try again. Test with the gauge again once you’ve finished.
Tools You’ll Need:
- PEX tubing
- PEX Fitting
- PEX Crimp Ring
- PEX Crimping Tool
- PEX Go/No-Go Gauge
- Tape Measure
There are four types of common PEX connectors:
- Copper Crimp
- Stainless Steel Clamp
- Cold Expansion with PEX-reinforcing rings
With each connector, the required tools remain almost the same. However, be sure to check the instructions that come with your system to make sure.
How to Use Pex Go/No-Go Gauge
Used with almost any type of crimp and tubing, but works best with the PEX plumbing system. Unlike other manufacturers, PEX offers the gauge with all of their crimping tools. With others, you’ll have to buy this small tool separately.
The gauge offers a quick and simple process for protecting your plumbing system. It takes seconds, actually. There are several steps before you use the gauge.
First step, is to place a crimp ring over the PEX tubing. Insert a PEX fitting. Move the crimp ring to one-eighth’s of an inch from the end of the tubing to the fitting.
Second step, squeeze the crimping tool to tighten it on the tubing. The more secure the fitting means less chance of liquid or air escaping. Then you use the gauge.
Now, you are ready to use the gauge. You’ll flip the gauge to the ”Go” side, and slide it over the ring. A correct fitting and the ”Go” side will slide over the ring easily.
Finally, you’ll flip the gauge again to the ”No-Go” side. As long as the ring can’t pass through this side, the crimping was successful.
Unsuccessful crimping means either side did the opposite of what is expected to. Either going through easily or not going through at all, means you’ll have to remove the PEX fitting from the tube and go back to step one to try again.
Each time you use the gauge will be after the longer, lengthier process of putting the pipes together and securing them. The gauge will tell you whether you correctly fastened the piping together, thus ensuring less leaks and pipe problems. Having this tool will save you time, energy and headaches down the road.
Though the gauge is the tool you use least, it’s the most powerful. Prevention of loose or too tight fittings could be the difference between well running pipes, instead of leaks, or bursting pipes.
Having to repair these later means more time and money. Being able to prevent these problems by checking with a gauge saves that time and money for other projects. Like more plumbing upgrades or replacements.
Use PEX Go/No Go Gauge to ensure no loose connections or too tight connections. As you’ve seen, this handy little tool is simple to use and effective. You’ll be a plumbing pro now that you know how and when to use it. You’ll have confidence in your plumbing and it’ll last you years.