Does necessary repiping of the home due to a water leak or installation of new supply line plumbing baffle you what piping option to choose? Over the longtime, the standard for plumbing was copper with required certain skills for sweating pipes and fittings together. However, the biggest revolution in plumbing since the flush toilet has begun with the invention of PEX plumbing supply pipes. Find out here the major benefits of it and why it’s replacing traditional copper and galvanized steel.
PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) is a type of flexible plastic that was introduced in around 1980s and often used in radiant heat flooring applications, but recently it has become popular for repiping of supply line plumbing, bathroom plumbing installation and repairs.
PEX’s popularity relates to visible advantages over copper and PVC type:
- PEX is cheaper. It’s typically about a third of the cost of copper. However, you’ll need special installation tools for fittings.
- PEX is incredibly flexible. Its installation is super faster and easier than copper or steel. Even if you install PEX in conventional main line and branch system, the connections are quicker to make than soldering copper. PEX is colour-coded based on water temperature (red is hot, blue is cold, white is any), which is very convenient feature.
- A PEX supply won’t corrode like both copper and steel pipes in areas with acidic water, leading to leaks and contamination of water supply.
- PEX is more efficient as it doesn’t lose heat like copper pipe.
- PEX expands, making it more resistant to freeze-cracking than copper and steel.
- Water flows silently through PEX, eliminating the ‘water hammer’ noise associated with metal piping.
- It’s connected to existing metal supply lines with correct fittings.
On the other hand, a huge disadvantage of PEX is its semi-transparence. If your water supply has nutrients in it and the light gets to installed PEX, algae (green) bacteria (black, orange or yellow) grow inside it. Keep it well hidden in walls and away from crawlspace vents where sunlight penetrates. Moreover, ultraviolet rays cause PEX to break down quickly, hardening and cracking within a couple of months. It isn’t eco-friendly material, due to its disability to melt as other recyclable plastics do. In addition, working with PEX requires special connectors and tools.
Another good reason of choosing PEX – you won’t have problems with meth-addicted copper thieves coming and stripping your house supply line plumbing out if you leave it unattended.