13 PEX Pipes Advantages and Disadvantages | Copper vs. PEX Pipe Fittings |  PEX Pipe Problems

13 PEX Pipes Advantages and Disadvantages | Copper vs. PEX Pipe Fittings |  PEX Pipe Problems

PEX Pipe Fittings/Plumbing |PEX Pipes Advantages and Disadvantages | Copper vs. PEX Pipes | Benefits of PEX Pipes |  PEX Pipe Problems |PEX Pipe Freezing

PEX Pipe Fittings/Plumbing

PEX pipes are a type of plumbing material that is made from cross-linked polyethylene. They are a type of plastic that can be bent without the aid of tools.

 They are used as an alternative to traditional metal pipes because they are easier to install and don’t corrode or rust.

There are many benefits to using PEX pipes, and it is advised that they be used when plumbing a new home.

PEX pipe is becoming more popularly appreciated. The advantages of using this type of pipe instead of copper and iron are numerous.

PEX pipes are a great choice for residential plumbing because they are very durable, have long service intervals, and have no moving pieces. They’re also quite cost-effective as well as being widely used in commercial applications throughout the world.

PEX pipe is a great alternative to copper, rubber, and even plastic. It is flexible and does not require any soldering.

In addition, PEX pipe is able to be installed through the use of a heat gun or torch or by using a screw-on device. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages.

PEX pipe can be installed by three different methods: 1) the fusion fitting method, 2) the blow fitting method, and 3) the crimp fitting method.

 Benefits of Plumbing with PEX Plumbing

1. PEX plumbing can be installed quickly and easily. It requires no soldering, cutting or finishing. You’ll find that PEX is easy to work with, is durable, and has a long service interval. It can also be used in lugged, glued, and foam-fringed pipes.

2. PEX has an advantage over the other materials in that it does not require any form of the protective sleeve. The other pipe materials require epoxy insulation that can interfere with the flow of water through the piping system.

3. PEX pipe is very easy to repair. It can be cut, molded and formed with a torch or heat gun.

4. The material is available in different sizes so that it can easily fit into the piping systems of older buildings with older pipes or those pipes that are difficult to install.

5. PEX pipe can be used in both gravity and pressure systems, which means it is a truly versatile material.

6. PEX is quite cost effective. It is significantly less expensive than other materials.

7. PEX pipe does not have to be wrapped with insulation before being installed into a system and it does not require compression fittings, which means it can be used in pipes that are difficult to install or in areas where the amount of space is limited.

8. A cross-linked polyethylene material, which contains no asbestos or other toxic chemicals, is used for the manufacture of PEX pipes.

 Copper vs. PEX Pipe Fittings/Plumbing

There are many differences between PEX vs copper piping. One of the most popular is that they come in different color options, which can be helpful if you’re trying to match certain colors with your home’s décor.

Another difference is that PEX pipes are more flexible and easier to install than copper ones – this means less need for a plumber.

 Other factors include price per foot, pressure rating, material thickness/gauge, corrosion resistance, installation time and cost. 

PEX pipes are considered to be more efficient, easier to install, and much more durable than traditional copper pipes.

PEX pipes are not susceptible to corrosion and can last for years without wearing away.

Copper pipes will corrode and rust over time which cause rust stains and can lead to leaks in your home.

 Copper pipes are also much harder to install than PEX pipes. Copper pipes will need to be cut and soldered during installation.

 PEX pipes can simply be pushed into place and then adhered with a resin. The installation process only takes about an hour and a half for a room and sometimes less.

Copper differs from PEX in that it is a recyclable material. However, one of the drawbacks is that it is pricey.

This material costs roughly $270 for 100 feet of piping, whereas PEX costs $30 per 100 feet. That is a significant price difference! Generally, you will pay less for PEX than you would for copper plumbing pipes.

Finally, there is also a significant cost in labor when it comes to installing these two types of piping systems—PEX installation costs much less than copper installation because it requires minimal cutting into walls or floors during installation and uses no soldering or gluing to secure fittings together like with copper pipes

 PEX Pipe Problems

PEX has the potential to leach BPA and other hazardous substances. BPA, or bisphenol-A, is an industrial chemical used to harden plastics.

It is harmful to the environment and has been linked to brain damage and cancer. These chemicals can leach out when PEX pipe is exposed to water over a long period of time.

It’s important to be aware of these dangers and take precautions if you are using PEX in your home plumbing system.

PEX pipe should be installed properly with special attention paid to where joints are soldered together. If there is a buildup of calcium or other substances, they can also induce leaks in your pipes.

PEX pipe cannot be flushed in the toilet, but it can be rinsed with hot water and bleach. This is because PEX is not conducive to corrosive materials and can withstand temperatures higher than 100 °C.

PEX piping problems often occur when there are rust stains along the seams that are not properly caulked or sealed.

PEX Pipe Freezing

PEX can expand under the severe pressure induced by ice formation due to its flexibility. PEX pipes, like any other plumbing, may and will freeze in cold weather.

PEX, on the other hand, may be less susceptible to rupture as a result of freezing.

When PEX tubing is subjected to temperature variations, whether hot or cold, its immediate reaction is to expand. In rare circumstances, this might be up to three times the diameter of the tubing.

The movement of pipes, by definition, might be a source of concern. The important question is if the material has been overstressed.

This can be difficult to determine and is dependent on a variety of things. However, the flexible nature of PEX makes it more frost-resistant than copper due to its ability to swell and not burst.

 PEX’s flexibility helps it to better accommodate the pressure that builds up in a pipe when water freezes.

Generally, frozen pipes are the result of one of two things. The pipes may be susceptible to freezing because they were installed in a location that is exposed to severe cold or they have not been adequately insulated.

 PEX pipes do not respond to frost the same way that metal pipes do. PEX pipes do not freeze and burst like metal pipes do, but they do tend to develop slow leaks.

PEX is resistant to frozen pipe bursts, although it is not immune to them. Every effort should be made to avoid situations and designs that could cause your pipe system to freeze.

Similarly, by selecting a high-quality system with superior connection technologies, you may avoid reliability concerns. Pipe connections that are not secure make the entire piping system more vulnerable to potential leak spots.

 PEX Pipes Advantages and Disadvantages

 PEX Pipes Advantages

1. PEX is Versatile

Provides a versatile and simple-to-use plumbing system. PEX can be put in lengthy pipe lengths with fewer fittings than other pipes and is flexible enough to turn 90-degree curves where other pipes would require elbow fittings.

 PEX pipe is lightweight and installs much faster in both new home construction and as replacement piping for an existing home’s plumbing.

2. PEX is a Durable Material

PEX pipes in the plumbing system will not have to be replaced for a long period of time, almost 50-years. They are also resistant to corrosion and do not require any kind of protective insulation.

3. PEX is Environmentally Friendly

The manufacturing process for PEX piping contains no toxic chemicals and the material itself contains no asbestos or chlorine, unlike some other older pipes that may have been used in your home’s plumbing system.

4. PEX is a Cost-Effective and Quickly Installable Pipe System

PEX pipe is much less expensive than other materials, especially copper and steel. PEX can be installed quickly using the fusion or blow fitting methods. New residential homes are being built with PEX piping in mind.

5. Flexibility and quicker installation

One of the primary advantages of using PEX pipe over rigid tubing is its flexibility. PEX can frequently be routed around corners without the use of elbows or other special fittings.

 This reduces the number of connecting points, saves material costs, and lessens the possibility of leakage.

 Furthermore, you may install PEX pipe in larger runs by using coils that come in lengths of up to 1,000 feet.

PEX fittings require no special equipment, crimping, glue, or soldering to install, making the installation faster, lowering the possibility of installation errors, and enhancing overall productivity.

PEX fittings rotate as well, providing for precise pipe alignment and a professional appearance.

6. Durable & Freeze Resistant

PEX is both durable and freeze-resistant, and it resists scale formation, which is prevalent in copper pipes.

 PEX is also resistant to corrosion and chlorine, and it can survive extreme high and low temperatures.  

 PEX pipe has been chlorine resistance tested to the maximum level (100 percent chlorine at 140°F) and is certified to fulfill ASTM F876 oxidative-resistance criteria for continuous recirculation.

Due to its capacity to expand and not become brittle under high temperatures, PEX pipe is less likely to rupture in freezing conditions than rigid pipes such as CPVC and copper

. Furthermore, the outside temperature has no effect on the installation of PEX with fittings because it can be tested immediately after all connections are established.

Even though PEX is resistant to freezing, you should still apply typical insulation precautions.

7. Resistance to Corrosion

Acidic water is a common problem in America’s suburbs, cities, and rural areas. Don’t be concerned; some of the best drinking water is somewhat acidic.

Sadly, acidic water corrodes metal pipes. While the metal ions from copper will not harm you, corrosion will eventually eat away at your pipes.

PEX plumbing tubing is corrosion-resistant. We recommend using PEX plumbing if you have acidic water.

 PEX Pipes Disadvantages

1. PEX is extremely sensitive to UV light. 

UV rays is particularly damaging to PEX. UV light does not just refer to sunshine; it also refers to the bulbs in your home.

Most manufacturers recommend only a limited amount of sunlight exposure, which should be noted throughout the installation procedure, while others prefer complete darkness.

2. PEX can be damaged by chemicals and pests. 

Chemicals and bugs may both harm PEX. Some pest control firms claim that installing PEX is a bad idea because it is so vulnerable to pest damage.

Because PEX is made of plastic, it is more sensitive than copper or other metal pipes. Mice can gnaw their way right through the pipe, producing serious issues. However, keep in mind that this is more of a rodent problem than a PEX problem.

3. PEX is semi-permeable, which means liquid can enter the pipe

Semi-permeable pipes means that small amounts of water vapor can pass through the pipe in either direction.

This can sometimes lead to water leaks at connections and other places. 

4. PEX can be easily damaged by improper handling or installation methods 

PEX is a material that is sensitive to improper handling, installation methods, and environmental factors, especially when exposed to UV light.

 Pressure will not damage the material, but it may not recover if exposed to prolonged high temperatures or extreme low temperatures. 

5. Bacteria and moisture are both threats.

Copper pipes offer higher resistance to dangerous microorganisms. PEX water lines, on the other hand, are susceptible to bacteria in rare cases.

Many homes prefer to invest in copper pipes to ensure that their water supply is sanitary. In most circumstances, PEX pipes may provide a sanitary water supply and are safe to use in your home.

Underground PEX pipes, on the other hand, are also susceptible to moisture. In rare cases, moisture may enter your plastic pipes and taint the water.

6. Cannot be recycled, due to its shorter lifespan

You cannot recycle PEX plumbing pipes. Whether they are inside or outside your home, PEX piping will eventually need to be replaced.

7. Cannot be machined

PEX is not compatible with any machining process, especially those that require high temperatures and great force. PEX pipes are also sensitive to UV light degradation, which can cause them to become brittle and split apart over time.

PEX Pipes/Plumbing FAQs

1. What exactly is PEX plumbing?

PEX plumbing is made of cross-linked polyethylene, a form of plastic. PEX tubing or piping is commonly used for water supply lines and radiant floor heating.

 For several years, there has been a lot of controversy about PEX since it has a few unexpected drawbacks.

2. What are the advantages of PEX Pipes?

PEX is a popular type of plumbing material for use in homes and businesses. It is transparent, lightweight, durable, and highly flexible. It is used for water distribution, as well as in radiant floor heating systems.

 PEX is a plastic material, so it is non-corrosive. It is often used as a material for water distribution because it is safer than metal pipes (Biological & Environmental Engineering).

 It is also great for radiant floor heating systems because it is flexible and can be installed without interrupting the flow of the heat, which is necessary since the pipes are underneath the surface of the floor.

PEX is a safe and easy-to-install plumber material.

3. What are the disadvantages of PEX Pipes?

PEX piping is not as strong as copper, which causes it to be less durable. PEX plumbing lines may crack or split at any time, and they are susceptible to damage under improper installation methods (Biological & Environmental Engineering).

4. What is the difference between PEX vs copper?

PEX vs Copper

PEX is a newer type of plumbing pipe that has been introduced as a replacement for copper. This is because it is less expensive, easier to work with, easier to join, and less likely to corrode and wear out.

PEX is a flexible plastic material that is crystal clear. PEX has attributes in both the areas of being more durable than flexible metal conduit and at the same time being less damaging to trees because it can be run through trees without harming them.

 On the other hand, copper is a metal that is more expensive and flexible. Copper is also more durable and long-lasting.

There are some benefits to using PEX over copper. It is easier to work with it.

5. How long can PEX pipes be expected to last?

Long-term testing operations on PEX have also revealed that it has a potential lifespan of more than 30-50 years.

 As a result, while copper systems may require re-piping every few years or decades owing to corrosion and pinhole leaks, a PEX system might last ten times as long – or more.

6. What is the problem with PEX?

 One downside of PEX pipe is the possibility of chemical leaching. PEX pipe material may leach harmful substances such as bisphenol (BPA), MTBE, tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA), and others due to its chemical composition.

7. Why is PEX banned in California?

Due to various concerns about harmful compounds escaping through the pipe and into the water, PEX was banned in California.

PEX has been confirmed to be entirely safe and durable in numerous national laboratory testing. It is currently permitted in California and is even mentioned in the main plumbing codes.

8. What are the drawbacks of PEX?

Because PEX has several advantages, it should not be utilized outside. PEX is susceptible to UV rays, which causes premature degradation, and it will not tolerate extreme cold outdoor conditions. PEX is solely intended for indoor use. PEX is not recyclable.

9. Why is PEX better that Copper

PEX does not corrode like copper; greater PSI rated freezing pipes will still burst, although PEX can withstand more freezing water than copper.

PEX tubing is far more resistant to freezing than copper or rigid plastic pipe. PEX tubing is less expensive since it requires less labor to install.

10. Is PEX safe to use in drinking water?

Because of the potential of toxic substances entering drinking water, California outlawed PEX. There is no evidence that drinking water from PEX pipes is harmful to your health.

11. Why is PEX plumbing bad?

PEX plumbing pipes are made of plastic and can be used for both hot and cold-water supplies.  They are cheaper than copper, but they have a few drawbacks that make them less desirable in many situations.

One major drawback is the increased risk of contamination due to the lack of an outer layer on these pipes.

Another concern of PEX pipe is the possibility of chemical leaching. PEX pipe material may leach harmful substances such as bisphenol (BPA), MTBE, tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA), and others due to its chemical composition.

The other downside is that they cannot be joined using solder, which means you need specialized tools if you want to create any connections in your PEX piping system.

12. Do rats chew through PEX pipe?

Mice and rats will chew through anything, including plastic, so PEX tubing is as vulnerable as plastic-coated wiring in a car or an HVAC unit.

While any mouse damage can be costly, rodents chewing through a home’s PEX water pipes can be disastrous.

13. Which is more durable, copper or PEX?

Copper pipes last longer than PEX pipes. While PEX piping can be expected to endure 30 to 50 years, copper piping will outlast it by around two decades, with an average lifespan of 50 to 70 years. Copper is a more durable material that is not affected by rodents or sunshine.

14. What temperature can PEX withstand?

The maximum operating temperature for all PEX pipe and tubing is 200°F. No PEX should be used at temperatures exceeding 200°F for an extended period of time.

The use of crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) pipe and tubing in high-temperature applications with perating temperatures exceeding 180°F may reduce the design life of the tube.

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