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What is PEX Plumbing?

PEX Plumbing Pipes

If you’re a dedicated DIY homeowner, you may have heard about PEX plumbing materials. According to what you’ve read, they’re just the answer for the home handyman because they’re easy to use. But what is PEX plumbing? How is better and what are the potential downsides?

Let’s take a look at PEX and the pros and cons of this piping material.

PEX Plumbing Composition

PEX (or XLPE) plumbing components are manufactured from cross-linked polyethylene. This results in a flexible plastic tubing that is easy to use. PEX has become popular for DIY projects over the last 20 years.

PEX has become a favorite to replace copper, PVC, and CPVC piping for both hot and cold water systems.

While copper is relatively flexible, it remains one of the more expensive materials to use. PVC and CPVC are both rigid piping materials, meaning that you’ll spend a lot of time creating bends and angles to get the pipes where you need them to go.

PEX plumbing piping is flexible to any angle, so it’s easier and faster to install.

Advantages of PEX Plumbing

There is no doubt that PEX plumbing pipe has some distinct advantages over other types of pipes. If you’ve ever found yourself trying to recall high school geometry to make an infinite number of 90-degree bends to install a new sink, you’ll think PEX is a miracle product.

  • PEX is flexible, which means you can run it nearly anywhere without connections.

  • You won’t need to solder PEX plumbing piping like you would copper.

  • PEX doesn’t require noxious glues like PVC.

  • PEX is freeze resistant because it expands.

  • Unlike metal piping, PEX doesn’t corrode and rust.

  • PEX is quieter than metal piping, with no “hammering.”

  • PEX is color-coded so it’s simpler to choose which kind to purchase for your project.

  • You can connect PEX to metal or PVC piping easily with the right connectors.

Downsides of PEX Plumbing Pipes

PEX has been around since the 1950s, and even though it’s easy to use, it does have some limitations and disadvantages:

  • You can’t use PEX outdoors because it’s UV sensitive.

  • You can’t recycle PEX pipes because it doesn’t melt.

  • Some grades of PEX permit chemical leeching into the water.

  • You can’t use PEX in high heat applications.

  • PEX plumbing can be permeable, permitting contaminants from outside sources into the lines.

  • Using PEX requires specialized tools, so even if the pipe isn’t expensive, you’ll need new tools to start using it.

  • PEX plumbing piping is banned in California.

Tough Choices

One of the most important steps in home DIY is doing your research. If you’re going to use PEX plumbing in a home project, make sure you know which types are available and which type best fits your application.

If you prefer traditional copper water supply piping, like many health-conscious homeowners, make an appointment today with the pros at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Nashville. They can replace or install copper piping quickly and efficiently.