PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

PATH Case Study

A Fast Hit with Builders and Homeowners


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[IMAGE: With two bathrooms in the addition, Tommy Strong says it would have been difficult to use conventional plumbing. PEX piping preserved the integrity of the original design.]"That is unusual. One problem we are struggling with is that our plumbers are not giving us the price break for the plumbing installation, when we know the labor is a fraction of normal costs. However, there are still not enough plumbers out there doing it, so there's not enough pressure on pricing to make it more cost effective. That's a shame because it's a great system with a huge number of benefits."

"In this case, our plumber showed a willingness to partner with us, probably because over several projects, we've had a good relationship," Tommy says.


"The big impact that clients are going to see over the long term is the flexibility in maintenance and repair," Michael says. "You can shut off any individual water source conveniently. This is a huge advantage. It's easier for the homeowner, and it's easier for the remodeler. So if we go back to a house and remodel the bathroom in five years, we just shut off the water to that bathroom. We are not looking for the main in the street, and we are not shutting off the water to the rest of the house. If the homeowners want us switch out the water heater, all we do is shut off that water supply. That means way less hassle for us, and less cost for the client."

"We try to build value into our projects that way. We are planting these little seeds of satisfaction that will blossom in the years ahead."


Manifold plumbing systems are control centers for hot and cold water that feed flexible cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) supply lines to individual fixtures.

PEX tubing is lightweight and flexible, bending around corners and obstructions. PEX tubing ranges in size from ¼ to 2 inches.

Together with the plastic piping, manifolds offer installation-related cost advantages over conventional rigid pipe plumbing systems.

Manifolds use separate chambers for hot and cold water. The cold water manifold is fed from the main water supply line and the hot water manifold is fed from the water heater. A water line dedicated to each fixture emanates from a port in the manifold, where each fixture can be turned off individually. In larger homes or apartment buildings, mini-manifolds can service remote fixture groups.

Manifold systems can accept all common supply line sizes, down to 3/8-inch. Typically, a parallel supply line layout or a hybrid version of this will be used with a manifold, so fewer fittings are required and there is less pressure drop in the lines.

PEX piping doesn't corrode or develop pinhole leaks, is chlorine and scale-resistant, and can use fewer fittings than rigid plastic or metallic pipe.

Read the Tech Spec.

Technology Highlights

This project included the following PATH-profiled technologies:

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Content updated on 9/1/2006

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