How to Connect PEX to Galvanized Pipe | A Step By Step Guide

PEX has made plumbing easier over the years. The components are easy for plumbers to use and abandon water services immediately for review. Do not wait for the glue joints to set. There are no open flames and no flux to remove from the system when you’re done. For these reasons, today, we bring you how to connect Pex to a galvanized pipe.

The options for connecting PEX plumbing are numerous, and using PEX to extend an existing galvanized plumbing system is not a problem.

Because the flexibility of PEX means there are fewer joints to connect, jobs are completed faster and with less chance of joints leaking. PEX resists heat loss and scale buildup common in metal piping.

PEX also has advantages over other types of materials when it comes to cold. Because of the climate of their ability to expand rather than crack and break freezing conditions.

Besides, this great flexibility makes it possible to reduce the effects of water hammer, the noise of metals, piping slamming against a home’s structure. New adaptable fittings and brackets make PEX even easier to install.

There are two methods for connecting PEX that do not require a plumber’s license.

The press-fit method is ideal for quick repairs and requires no special tools other than a pipe cutter.

You can use a generic crimper for clamp ring connections, available at most plumbing supply stores and stainless steel band clamps.

When scheduling a PEX plumbing project, it must be remembered that only brass fittings are approved for use subway or under the slab.

How to Connect PEX to Galvanized Pipe

A fitting for every situation

A press-fit fitting uses metal barbs to hold the tubing, in this case, PEX and Galvanized, against an O-ring seal. Fittings are sized according to the outside diameter of the tubing.

A clamp ring connection connects PEX to the existing metal tubing. The PEX tubing is crimped on the male end, and the female end is welded or threaded into the existing tubing. In case you have a thread less coupling for galvanized pipe, another type of procedure is necessary.

Threaded fittings are used to connect different PEX tubing lengths, create a branch line, or add a valve.

Push-in fitting

  • Insert the support sleeve. This part prevents the PEX tubing from collapsing and breaking the seal.
  • Some suppliers integrate the support sleeve into the fitting.
  • You may need the push to connect fittings for galvanized pipe.

Insert PEX tubing

For a tight seal, make sure the PEX end you want to connect has a straight cut, the tubing is clean, and there are no scratches on the outside of the tubing.

Compression fittings are an excellent tool.

Insert Galvanized Tubing

  • The tubing end does not require a support sleeve, but like PEX, the outside must be clean and smooth.
  • Finally, to ensure an airtight seal, press the parts to be inserted into the fitting completely.
  • The copper crimping method is usually a bit tedious, but it will be worth it.

Clamp ring connection

  • First, attach the adapter to the existing pipe.
  • Whether the adapter fitting is threaded on the galvanized pipe or soldered to copper, connect to the existing pipe.
  • Then, slide the ring onto the PEX tubing and place the PEX over the adapter’s male end.
  • Clamp the ring with a clamp.
  • Insert the ring in the middle of the adapter’s male end and tighten using stainless steel ratchet clamping ring crimping tools. Ratchet clamping tools are often very useful for this.
  • Proper placement ensures that the ring compresses the PEX tubing over the ribs for a tight connection.
  • You may need to make use of a brass fitting.

In-Line Support

PEX tubing runs with typical PEX to PEX in-line connections should be supported every 3 feet.

However, at valve joints or bifurcations, where additional weight could put stress on the line, it is advisable to add a support clip next to the connection.

In many instances, you can make use of fit transition adapters. Also, don’t forget to check the tapered plastic compression.

Do I have to Replace my Galvanized Pipes with PEX?

If you have galvanized piping in your hope, you should replace it with PEX. PEX tubing is made of cross-linked (X) polyethylene (PE).

It is flexible, durable, and high density. Reinstalling your indoor plumbing system may seem overwhelming, but PEX is an affordable and convenient option whose benefits far outweigh the hassle:

  • They contain no lead components
  • Less likely to burst than other pipes
  • Do not corrode
  • Unaffected by acidic sewage
  • Resistant to chlorine and scale.

What is the Difference between Non-Galvanized and Galvanized Pipes?

Use this quick trick to identify if the pipe you are using is galvanized. The exterior of the pipe is scraped with a coin or flathead screwdriver, and check the color.

It uses the same information as below to calculate the type of pipe used in your indoor plumbing system:

  • Copper: these tubes are the same color as a penny.
  • Galvanized steel: a silver-gray color indicates these tubings.
  • Lead: look for a dull gray color. These tubings are usually very soft and easy to bend. If your tubing is lead, it should be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Plastic: White or black plastic tubing is usually also indicated by visible clamps or caps.

In addition to performing the scratch tests, the following can be defined your pipes’ material with a strong magnet, as it only adheres to galvanized steel pipe. Copper, lead, and plastic materials are generally not magnetic.

When is it time to replace them?

You will know that the pipes are reaching the end of their useful life, and it is time to replace them when the toilet pressure drops. The watertight connection can be a headache for many.

As pipes age, plaque builds up inside the pipe, and cause significant surface area and restricting water flow.

You may also experience uneven water distribution as corrosion can build up sporadically.

Corrosion also results in the water’s discoloration due to increased iron and corrosion scale breaking off in the water stream.

Brown stains in sinks and bathtubs are a common side effect.

The final sign that it’s time to replace plumbing is the presence of water leaks.

As the pipes oxidize, the joints weaken and begin to leak.

If unnoticed, leaks cause major damage to your home, as they often occur out of sight behind walls and under floors.

Repairs to the home’s foundation, floors, ceiling, drywall, and plasterboard are often necessary due to invisible leaks. 

Excess water also encourages mold growth and attracts termites that can damage your home’s wood structural supports.

Do Galvanized Pipes Contain Lead?

While steel pipes do not contain lead, the protective coating is made of natural zinc.

This type of zinc is considered not very pure and has lead (in addition to other properties), so the coating protects the pipes and extends their service life. It also contains traces of hazardous substances to human health.

As the zinc coating and pipes corrode, lead accumulates and can eventually be released into the water supply.

If your home’s plumbing is nearing the end of its useful life and is severely eroded both inside and out, the likelihood of lead poisoning is very high.

The only way to prevent lead from entering your water stream is to re-pipe your entire house and remove all galvanized pipes.

How long do Galvanized Pipes last?

Galvanized pipes have a functional life of 20 to 50 years.

If the pipes are used to carry hard water (water with high mineral content), the pipes will corrode faster as magnesium and calcium build up and restrict water flow, shortening the service life.

To ensure long service life, proper metal tubing is necessary.

To extend service life, galvanized pipes must be kept in good condition. Methods include reducing the water pressure to minimize stress on the pipes by installing a pressure reducer and decreasing the hard water’s mineral content by adding a sodium-based softener.

How to Connect PEX to Galvanized Pipe: FAQs

Can I connect PEX to Galvanized?

Yes, galvanized tubing can be cut with a hacksaw, band saw, or a suitable metal tubing cutter. Assemble a threaded transition fitting that passes from the galvanized pipe/connector to the tubing PEX.

Depending on the type of fittings used PEX, the dielectric union galvanized to Pex may be required. Attach the PEX tubing to the fitting by a suitable method.

Can Shark bites be used on a galvanized pipe?

Shark Bite push-to-connect fittings are not designed to push on galvanized pipes. To attach your galvanized pipe to Pex, SharkBite makes a threaded transition adapter to press fit. You will need to cut the end of your galvanized pipe square and then thread it back on.

How do you connect the non-threaded galvanized pipe to PEX?

You will need to make use of several components for this. However, the process is not that complicated.


Pex pipe has become a favorite among people over the years. As simple as the task of connecting galvanized pipe to Pex may seem, it is not. It is always important to double-check your crimps with a special pressure test tool.

Never leave PEX pipe in direct sunlight. It will quickly degenerate the tubing chemicals and ruin the tubing, causing it to fail prematurely. In many instances, excess hot water can be a good thing for your tubing.

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