PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) pipes are the most commonly installed plumbing pipes in the US. During the 1980s, when PEX pipes were first introduced in the US, plumbers were not impressed. Many plumbers felt that copper pipes were stronger and had more value, and they feared that PEX piping would leak. After about a decade, plumbers became open to the idea of PEX as they witnessed the pipes reliability over time. PEX pipes have now replaced almost all indoor plumbing pipe applications in residential homes.
PEX pipes have many advantages over copper pipes:
PEX costs less than copper. Some believe that copper pipes increase the resale value of a home. This may have been true in the 1990s, however, in todays real estate market, PEX is accepted in equal value to copper.
A Price Comparison:
3/8″ – $0.38
1/2″ – $0.40
5/8″ – $0.62
3/4″ – $0.76
1″ – $1.26
3/8″ – $4.87
1/2″ – $5.67
5/8″ – $7.31
3/4″ – $10.21
1″ – $13.38
The installation costs for PEX are less than copper because the installation is easier and takes less time.
Easier to Work With
PEX is easier for plumbers to work with for several reasons:
PEX is flexible
Requires less fittings
No soldering or torch necessary for installation
PEX pipes resist buildup and corrosion. They resist scale and chlorine which cause buildups.
Water flows more quietly through PEX pipes. In some cases, copper pipes cause a “water hammer” noise as the water travels through the pipes.
PEX pipes require less maintenance. Fewer fittings and couplings mean fewer chances for leaks. Homeowners with PEX report less maintenance and fewer leaks.
PEX pipes cannot be used in outdoor applications. They cannot withstand temperatures below freezing. They can also break down as the result of exposure to the suns UV rays.
PEX pipes are not safe in areas prone to natural disasters. They do not flex as well as copper pipes. Copper pipes wont snap during an earthquake and will reduce damage.