Uponor Q&E

I have had a new boiler installed and half my property with central heating. As I need to save money where possible, I plan on installing the second half of the central heating myself.

However, the system used is Uponor Q&E (Quick and Easy).

This is another variation of a type of fitting out there. I have used JG Speedfit and Hep20 previously. Both good and robust systems but the fittings are bulky.
Q&E does not have bulky fittings. In fact they are so small you wonder if water will actually flow through them.
They do have non-standard pipe sizes though which means I cannot easily use the other systems with it. Also, to use the Q&E fittings you need a special tool which is very expensive.

The picture above shows where the bathroom was going to be, which I have since changed my mind. It will now be a combined utility toom and office. The radiator needs moving for a couple of reasons. Firstly it should be where the bathroom is, but secondly the pipework is too close and high to the joist.

I cannot install the soundproofing system on top of the joists. The area where the copper pipes are is fine as only a small cutout is required.

As I cannot finish this room until the pipes are sorted I am going to have to start on the central heating system as my next task. But first, I want to try out the Uponor Q&E system by adding in a water connection for the washing machine.

To do this I need a tool that expands the water pipe to allow the black fitting to be inserted. Once in, the water pipe will naturally shrink back to its original size and completely seal the joint.

Here is a good video of how the system works.

The Milwaukee tool is over £300 new. You can get them used on ebay for half that.
Uponor did have, and may still have a special deal whereby if you buy £750 worth of Uponor products they will give you this tool for free!
That excludes VAT so I would have buy £900 worth of fittings to get a £300 tool for free.
So I worked out from their catalogue what I thought I needed for the central heating system and got a price from Wolseley in Ely. I was about £300 under the requirement. Do I just buy the tool, or do I buy an extra £300 of fittings that I’m likely to never use just to get the free tool. Of course that’s what I did!

Before I actually handed over my money I emailed Uponor to confirm their offer. They said, just send them the receipt, and they would send the tool.
Mmm, so I’m still not convinced, so I sent them Wolseleys quotation to check that all the items qualified.
Based on the quotation, they sent me a free tool! I haven’t paid any money yet.

Back to the project.

I need to cut into the 16mm cold water supply to create a Tee junction which will go off to my washing machine connection. The picture above shows the pipes have been labelled C an H on the 16mm pipes, and F and R for the central heating Flow and Return. Uponor do make blue and red collars, which I will be using as I bought just about every item they make!

For the washing machine connection Uponor have a threaded adaptor that screws on – as opposed to a copper compression joint with an olive. First thing to note is that the blue handle hits the top of the fitting so cannot be fully opened. I filed away the obstruction until it worked properly.
Second thing to note is that I tested this by running some water into it. It leaked. I then added, and perhaps you are supposed to anyway, PTFE tape wrapped over 15 times. I’m not really going to know for sure if that worked until water at full pressure is used.

I made up the first bit while I experimented with the expansion tool. I think it needs to expand 4 times in order to get the fitting all the way into the pipe. I only did it 3 times on one of the corner joints.

You can see that the fitting isn’t all the way in. But I couldn’t pull it apart. This seems one drawback of this system, if you get it wrong, you may need to go back a few steps to redo it. In this particular case I needed to know if the fitting had to go all the way in or not, so I’ve left it as is.

I then made up the Tee junction bit.

And connected it. Simple. Who wants to see how I actually made that connection.
I’ve got myself a proper smartphone grip for my tripod.

Here is my first DIY blog video. I forgot to speak during this but there is plenty of heavy breathing!

And here is a very boring video of what happens when I turn the water back on. It’s a long walk to the stopcock.
I decided to actually speak this time! There is room for improvement.

In summary, the Uponor Q&E is really good. Now that I’ve used it I have no worries at all about the existing central heating system. It won’t leak.
Also, I can do all the pipework connections for the second half of the central heating system, and then get the professionals in for the final connections and testing.

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