One thing I always hated about a traditionally plumbed house is the lack of control over the water supply. If you need to replace a valve on a sink, or if you have a leak that needs repaired, or if you want to add a fixture then you will have to shut down the water supply to the entire house. When I plumbed my house I wanted to have more control over the water supply. I accomplished that by using a device called a manifold.
I plumbed my house using PEX. I like it because it’s inexpensive, easy to work with, and does not require a great deal of labor. PEX is much cheaper than running copper lines in both material and labor cost. There’s a couple of specialty tools required to work with PEX. You need a cutter and a crimper. No torches or solder.
When water comes in from the main supply line, the manifold is charged with water. A cold water line goes out to the water heater and is returned to the hot side of the manifold. From there, each fixture has it’s own independent water supply and control. There’s no “branches” in the lines going to the water fixtures. Because of this you can shut down water to any fixture without disrupting the supply to the rest of the house. A great application of this is being able to shut off the water to your hose bibs during winter. Turn the water off at the manifold, drain the line from the spicket, and then stop worrying about it freezing and busting on a cold January day.
Hooking up the manifold is very easy. All the parts you need is included in the kit. Essentially, you insert a metal sleeve in the PEX, slip the end over it, and the push a compression sleeve onto the PEX. From there you just screw it into one of the ports on the manifold. There’s not a lot of room between the ports on the manifold so a good investment to make it a specialty wrench that allow you to get in there and tighten everything up.
As always, the big question is, “How much is this gonna cost me?”. Depending on the size of the manifold (the number of ports), you should be able to pick one up for around $200 or less for most homes. The one I purchased is the Viega ManaBloc. It has 24 ports; 15 colds and 9 hots. You will have a little bit of expense in running separate PEX lines to each fixture so add, say, 100 bucks depending on the size of your house. You will need a few fittings to make the bends and turns to get the water to your manifold. Add about $30 for those. If you are doing it yourself you won’t need to worry about the cost of labor but even if you are hiring it done it’s not as expensive as running copper lines.
I have included some links below to the exact products I used for great results. I have also done a YouTube video review you can watch to see it all in action. You can visit my YouTube Channel to watch. Click here. Good luck!