PEX piping has recently become a popular choice for home plumbing systems. It’s easy to install, durable, and doesn’t rust or corrode like copper pipes. But are there any drawbacks?
Let’s take a look at what PEX piping can do for your plumbing needs.
What is PEX piping?
PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, is a flexible and durable material used in plumbing. First introduced in the 1970s as an alternative to traditional copper plumbing systems, it’s preferred for its ease of installation and resistance to corrosion.
PEX pipes come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. It can be easily cut with a knife or scissors and requires no soldering or gluing when connecting pieces. The pipes come in various lengths that you join by using fittings crimped onto the end of the pipe.
Whether your home is new or old, PEX piping is a practical plumbing option. In new construction, PEX pipes are often used for radiant floor heating systems and hydronic radiant cooling systems.
When is PEX piping used?
PEX is a great choice for new construction, as it’s easy to install, flexible, and works with just about any faucet. But PEX plumbing can be installed in an existing house as well to replace old copper pipes.
If you’re remodeling an older home, there are several reasons why you might decide to switch over to PEX plumbing from the original setup. For starters, it’s easier to work with than copper pipes because they bend around corners and fit into tight spaces more easily. Plus, it doesn’t require soldering joints together — which means fewer chances for leaks or corrosion issues later on down the line.
How long do PEX pipes last?
The answer depends on how your pipes are installed and maintained. For example, if you install PEX pipes incorrectly or use fittings that aren’t compatible, they could fail prematurely, causing leaks in your home or flooding damage to your property.
The lifespan of PEX pipes also depends on how well you maintain them. Check for leaks regularly and replace damaged sections as needed. A professional plumber can fix any problems before they cause major damage to your home.
The Pros and Cons of PEX Piping
PEX piping might be a good idea for you, but there are some things to keep in mind before you decide.
It’s cheaper than copper
The biggest advantage of PEX over copper is its lower cost. Copper is more expensive than PEX, so if you’re fixing an older house or replacing an older pipe with new materials, you’ll save money using PEX instead of copper.
Easy to install
Because PEX tubing is flexible, it’s easy to install around obstacles like electrical boxes, pipes, and wires. You can cut PEX tubing with a regular wire cutter or hacksaw blade. Finally, you can install it in any shape or angle, so it’s easy to use in tight areas.
Easier to cut
Metal pipes require special tools to cut them properly, such as a pipe cutter or a hack saw. On the other hand, PEX pipes are softer and are easier to trim with a scissor-style knife or PEX cutter.
Corrosion and freeze resistant
The expansion and contraction of the pipe during temperature changes are not as severe as for copper, brass, or galvanized steel. It’s known to withstand temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C). Even better, PEX pipe won’t corrode, rust or stain over time like other materials.
Drinking water safe
PEX piping systems are safe to use in your home because they’re made from materials that don’t react with water and don’t contain any chemicals that could leach into the water supply. If concerned, check that the PEX piping has been certified by the NSF.
Reduced plumbing joints reducing leak points
The main selling point for PEX is that it’s easier to work with than copper and requires fewer joints. As a result, there are fewer places where leaks can occur, and it’s less likely that you’ll have to replace the entire system if something goes wrong with one part of it.
It can’t be used outside
You should avoid using PEX outdoors because it doesn’t stand up well to the elements. The sun’s UV rays cause the plastic to break down over time, leading to leaks. Also, PEX piping is unsuitable for outdoor use in freezing temperatures and needs protective insulation.
PEX pipe is easy for rodents to damage because it’s made from plastic and has a smooth interior surface that they can chew through easily. Rodents chew PEX pipes because they’re looking for a source of water and food.
One way to prevent rodent attacks on PEX pipes is by placing traps near suspected areas where they might nest.
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