Copper pipes were once the best option for homeowners who wanted durable pipes that would last half a lifetime. However, new improvements in materials sciences have led to PEX, an amazing material that can outperform copper piping in many areas. This less expensive, flexible material is a great option for homeowners who have problems with their copper pipes or have very old pipes that need to be replaced. Discover why PEX pipes are so great and if you should replace your copper pipes with PEX.
What is PEX?
PEX is a new kind of polyethylene (a plastic material) that is cross-linked. The material has cross-linked bonds on the molecular level. This gives it superior strength and many other characteristics that make it great for plumbing pipes. Pipes made of PEX are flexible, resistant to chemicals, quiet when water is flowing through them, and much more.
Copper Pipe Problems that PEX Can Solve
While copper is an excellent material, no material is perfect. You can develop some problems with your copper pipes, and PEX is often a great replacement that can eliminate these problems.
- Keep hot water hot: PEX keeps the water warmer as it flows through the pipe so that you get hotter water on the other end.
- Reduce condensation: PEX pipes are much less likely to develop condensation and create moisture issues in your home.
- Loose fittings: Copper pipe is very sturdy but not very flexible. Sometimes this can result in loose fittings. PEX is much more flexible, and it expands and contracts in the heat better. This flexibility helps keep its fittings intact. PEX also requires fewer fittings, so it has fewer weak spots, so to speak.
- No corrosion: As a plastic and not a metal, PEX pipe will not corrode. While copper won’t corrode for many years, it will eventually give out to corrosion.
- Chemical resistance: PEX is better at handling chemicals in the water. If you have slightly acidic water, PEX won’t be affected, while copper will be.
- Color codes: PEX pipes comes in red and blue for hot and cold supply lines. This coloring can help prevent confusion during installation, maintenance and repairs.
- Quieter pipes: Water won’t make as much noise when it runs through PEX pipes. You also won’t hear water hammers if they develop in your pipes (although you’ll still see the pipes flex, which will alert you to the problem).
Other Benefits of PEX
There are some other reasons that you might want to choose PEX pipes over copper ones:
- Lower cost: PEX costs less to create than copper pipes, and it weighs less so it has lower shipping costs. You can expect PEX to cost about 25% less than copper while providing comparable or even superior quality.
- Simpler installation: PEX does not need to be soldered to be installed. It also bends around corners easily, instead of needing to be cut and reconnected. PEX installation is fast, which means that you aren’t as inconvenienced during installation, and it may cost you less.
Do you have questions about PEX? Our team can help you decide if it’s wise to replace your copper pipes with PEX.