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Pipe & PEX items for easy plumbing installations

Plumbing has never been as easy since the PEX items and pipes entered the market. Because of its many benefits and easy installation, it has become a popular option for water distribution systems in buildings. It’s an economical plumbing option that you should look closer at.

Cross-linked polyethylene as PEX is short for, is a flexible plastic pipe system that any DIYer can install. The plastic pipes can be connected to existing plumbing system via special fittings. Which makes it simple to update or extend your current system. It also requires very little maintenance compared to other plumbing materials as it resists corrosion and scale buildup over time.

There are many benefits of using PEX items and piping for your plumbing but also points to consider. Here you will find a short overview:

Cost efficient

One of the major benefits of the PEX system is that it’s much cheaper than copper pipes and other plumbing materials. While the price of copper can fluctuate due to the market, the price of plastic mostly stays the same. Therefore, when considering a new plumbing system for a new construction or for your existing home, the cost savings can be quite major.

Easy to install

The process of installing the PEX pipes is considered easy as you don’t need to weld any pipes together, like with copper. The pipe system has special push-fit connectors that only requires manual force to be connected.

This flexible system has special connectors which makes it possible to have it connected with existing plumbing system, making it easy to add appliances or repairing.

The PEX system and pipes are flexible, making them easy to install in hard-to-reach places but also bend and adjust to different layouts.

What’s otherwise so great with the PEX pipes is that they come in different colors, meaning you can color code the warm and cold water pipes through the home for easy maintenance and installation.

Durable system

PEX products are durable and perfect for use in water supply systems as they can expand and contract with any heat changes, making them freeze-cracking resistant, but not totally freeze-proof. Because of this they shouldn’t be stretched but given extra piping lengths when installed.  

As PEX is made from plastic, the pipes won’t corrode or have any mineral buildup that could lead to contamination of the water, hinder the water flow or create leakages.

With many great benefits, there are also some fewer great qualities with the PEX products. As they are sensitive to UV exposure they are not suitable for outdoor installations. The exposure to UV light creates a reaction with the polyethylene, making the pipe deteriorate and crack within a few months. That’s why manufacturers recommend total darkness or no exposure to UV lights or bulbs for where the pipes are installed.  

And even thou the system can handle heat changes, it can’t be exposed to very high temperatures, meaning it can’t be directly installed with water heaters or similar devices. This can be worked around by having an different pipe installed in between the heater and the PEX pipe.

Other qualities to consider

With the qualities of the PEX material, the water flows quietly through the system, and you won’t be hearing any “water hammer” noise that is associated with other metal piping systems.

The pipes also have a higher flow efficiency due to the smaller diameter, meaning that you won’t be needing to wait for warm water as long, creating less waste of water. Furthermore, compared to other pipes and materials, they have superior thermal conductivity qualities that reduces heat loss through the system.

The issue with the material itself is that it can’t be recycled at the moment, this because it doesn’t melt like other plastic materials. It’s therefore not the most eco-friendly choice. But as the demand of the PEX items grow, so will also the demand for it to be recyclable.

The different types of PEX pipes

When buying PEX pipes, you will notice different labels: A, B and C. This because the manufacturing process can slightly differ giving the different pipes slightly different qualities:

PEX-A is the most flexible of the three and is best suited for home water supply systems. They can expand and contract to avoiding cracking and are the easiest to work with.

PEX-B is slightly stiffer than PEX-A, but other than that there are no great differences between the two. But they have a higher resistance to chlorine, and they are therefor used for residential water supply systems where there is an increased level of chlorine in the water.

PEX-C is the stiffest version of the three and is the most prone to cracking and its therefore used for short term repairs and temporary fixes.