Copper and PEX are both piping solutions with their own benefits and drawbacks. If you’re remodeling, installing new plumbing, or just trying to decide what type of pipe is best for your home’s needs, here’s a breakdown of the differences between these two options.
What Is Pex Piping?
PEX is a type of plastic piping that has been used in the United States since the 1960s. It is a flexible pipe that can be bent to fit around obstacles like tree roots or pipes that have been buried too deep.
PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene tubing that has gained popularity as a copper-free alternative in recent years. It’s been created with unique qualities that make it an excellent choice for radiant floor heating and plumbing systems.
PEX Vs. Copper Piping: Pros And Cons
PEX plumbing is a type of piping that can be used to replace copper. PEX is more flexible than copper and easier to install, but it has some disadvantages. Copper piping is more traditional and it doesn’t require as much maintenance as PEX does. For more information about their pros and cons, see pex vs copper pipe.
Repiping Your Home Or Business Can Help You Save Money
While some plumbing problems may be fixed for a low cost, if you’re having difficulties with your plumbing on a regular basis, total repiping will be the best solution in the long term. Replacing all old water pipes and installing a new system throughout your house or business is known as repiping. When major pipe corrosion or slab leaks develop, which may happen in older houses with copper pipes, a repipe is required. The following are signs that it’s time to repipe:
- Water pressure fluctuations that are significant
- Increasing the cost of water
- Water with a foul odor or taste
- Corrosion of the pipe that is visible
- Leaks and blockages on a regular basis
- Water that is discolored
Which is Better for Your Home Or Business: Pex Or Copper?
For homes and business owners who wish to replace old and outdated pipes, professional repiping is a perfect alternative. What you repipe with now is the question. Today, the choice between copper and PEX pipes is often made. While you’re probably acquainted with copper, we’ll go over what PEX pipe is, what it’s good for, and how to install PEX piping in this article.
While copper offers several benefits that PEX does not (for example, copper is more resistant to bacterial growth and UV radiation, making it well-suited for outdoor applications), copper is vulnerable to high pH, and acidic water. When copper interacts with this sort of water, the interior of pipes may corrode and deteriorate. This may result in dangerously high copper levels in your water supply, as well as pinhole leaks that can damage your floor, walls, ceiling, carpets, furniture, and more.
In fact, if you live in the Sacramento region, you may remember pinhole leaks in copper plumbing caused by high pH levels in Folsom, CA homeowners’ houses (a class-action lawsuit against the city, involving more than 2,300 reports of leaks, is still pending).
PEX Repiping Has 7 Advantages
PEX plumbing has several advantages. The choice to use PEX will be based on your priorities (as well as the advice of your plumber). Here are seven benefits of PEX pipes.
- Extremely long-lasting (interior applications only; no outdoor pex piping)
- Weather-absorbent, allowing it to expand and shrink as needed.
- It’s easier to install since there are fewer fittings.
- Corrosion resistance in places with high pH water
- Up to 75 years of life expectancy (versus 50 for copper)
- There are no more banging pipes!
Of course, we haven’t even discussed the price yet. So, how much does PEX pipe cost? Take a look at this: PEX pipe may save you up to a third of the cost of repiping due to its simplicity of installation and lower overall cost than copper. That’s a significant amount of money saved!
Installing PEX Pipes: Plumbing Tips
Are you ready to tackle some repiping as a do-it-yourself plumbing project? The following tools will be required for PEX pipe installation:
- Tape measure
- PEX pipe
- Connectors for PEX
- Ring crimper and crimp rings
- Tool for removing crimp rings
- Hangers for pipes
- a go/no-go indicator
You may begin now that you’ve acquired your tools and supplies. PEX pipe is placed in continuous lines, resulting in fewer seams and fittings than other piping techniques, such as copper. Installing PEX tubing is rather simple, and all plumbing instructions begin with the same advice: You will save time and money if you plan your project ahead of time. The following examples should demonstrate how PEX pipe may help your next plumbing project run more smoothly. Let’s get this party started.
- Determine the pipe’s position — If you’ve planned ahead of time, you’ll already know how many feet of PEX pipe you’ll need and where you’ll put it. Before continuing, double-check the positions and take one final measurement. Place hangers after cutting each length of pipe. For a run of horizontally laid PEX pipe, a hanger should be inserted every 32 inches. Secure the pipe every four to six feet while installing vertical PEX plumbing.
- Yes, PEX pipe is a less costly plumbing line, but if you cut a 20-foot piece of PEX pipe an inch or two too short, you’ll have a problem. Every 100 feet of PEX tubing may expand and compress by one inch. While installing PEX pipe, keep this in mind when measuring and add a little slack to the line.
- Cut your PEX pipe once — Now that you’ve measured it, you can cut it to the appropriate lengths. Cutting the pipe is one of the most critical plumbing tips for PEX piping installation. Cuts must be as precise as feasible and devoid of burrs. The PEX fitting may not sit well if the cut is not uniform and smooth, resulting in leaking.
- Place the crimp ring roughly two inches from the end of the PEX pipe and slide it on. This will allow you ample room to attach the fitting to the PEX pipe’s end.
- Place the PEX fitting with the shoulder against the tube to complete the PEX pipe fitting. Slide the crimp ring over the barbs of the PEX fitting and align the barbs once it’s in place.
- Crimp the PEX fitting – Open the jaws of the PEX crimping tool and align them so that they cover the crimp ring. Close the jaws of the PEX crimp tool firmly while holding the pipe steady. The fitting should now be sealed and can be checked with the go/no-go indicator, which should fit partially onto the crimp ring. If it slips all the way down the pipe, you need to redo your connection.
- Place the pipe — Now that you’ve placed the connections on the PEX pipe, you can run it, hang it up, and connect it to the water supply. Check for leaks after turning on the water.
Flexible and easy to install, PEX piping projects may be able to be completed by a skilled DIYer. However, doing it wrong on your own can create additional problems that will cost more money by the time you call in a plumber. So, if you’re unsure of your DIY skills, contact a professional.
Regardless of which cleaning or repair method you use to clean your drains and pipes, there are certain benefits to getting it done. Read more in The Benefits Of Cleaning Your Drains.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is PEX easier to install than copper?
A: PEX is a type of plastic piping that has become very popular in the last 10 years due to its ease of installation. It can be installed without any waste and it is also easy on your wallet.
When would you install PEX instead of copper piping?
A: If you need the pipes to be able to withstand higher temperatures, an acidic environment, or high pressure.
What are the disadvantages of using PEX pipe?
A: The most common disadvantage of using PEX pipe is that it doesn’t have the same longevity as copper piping. There are other disadvantages, but these would be minor in comparison to this one.
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