How to Straighten Pex Pipes / Plastic Tubing – Effective Ways!

Updated: | Author: Elissa Huebert | Affiliate links may be present.

If you have ever tried to wrestle a coil of pex piping into a straight line, you know how tough it is! Pex piping likes to hold its shape. There has got to be an easier way to reshape coiled pex pipes!

Pex piping is a polyethylene piping used for plumbing. Many plumbers find it to be superior to copper in price and durability.

Pex pipes are available in coils or straight units. The coils tend to stubbornly hold their shape. They can be straightened out by applying heat, laying them under the sun for a while, applying manual pressure, or using a pipe straightener until they take on the desired shape. 

What is Pex Piping?

PEX is an abbreviation for cross-linked polyethylene. Plumbers and DIY warriors agree that it is a great alternative to copper pipes for plumbing projects. Here’s why:

  • Pex pipes are about one-third the cost of copper pipes.
  • Pex fittings are easy to install and do not require soldering.
  • Pex piping is not susceptible to corrosion like copper.

Often, Pex piping comes in a big coil. The problem is that Pex has a strong ‘memory’, and will try to spring back into its original shape. Unless you want curved plumbing, you need to straighten out your Pex pipes. This is easier said than done!

Is it Possible to Straighten Curved Pex Pipes?

Straightening out coiled pex pipes may feel like a wrestling match, but it is possible! Here are some methods that may help you turn a coil of Pex into a straight pipe.

Use Heat

A little warmth may help the pipe form into a new shape! There are a variety of safe ways to apply heat to your pipes.

  • Use hot water – Connect one end of the pipe to a water source. Run hot tap water through the pipe while you lay it as flat as possible. Once the pipe is laying flat, run a little cold water through it to help it hold that shape.
  • Soak the pipe – You can also try to soak the pipe in warm or hot water for one to two hours. Pull the pipes out of the water and form them into the desired shape.
  • Use the sun – Not all Pex pipes are rated for UV exposure. If your variety of pipe can withstand a few hours of sunlight, place it in a sunny area and allow the sun to heat it up. Once the pipe is warm, you should be able to pull it into a straight line.

Manually Straighten the Bends

This method will not only straighten out your pipes, but you will get a workout too! Work along the pipe, manually forcing it in the opposite direction.

It may be helpful to secure one end of the pipe to a stationary object. Stretch the pipe as you unbend it. Secure the other end of the straightened pipe to another object. Leave the pipe for several hours so it can ‘learn’ its new shape. Alternatively, you can use a versatile pipe straightener like this.

Purchase Straight Pipes

You can go for 20′ straight Pex pipe if you’re going to run it above the floor. They cost almost the same as coils.

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About Elissa Huebert

Elissa has been a homeowner for two decades. As a home school mom, she has to spend the majority of her days at home, so it was quite natural for her to become enthusiastic about things like home improvement, DIY and space management. In her free time, she loves reading and writing. She's also an avid runner and recently ran her first ultramarathon.

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