Pex Pipe: A Smart Alternative - Biard & Crockett

Pex Pipe: A Smart Alternative

One of the most widely used and cost effective new plumbing solutions to hit the market in decades is pex piping.  Pex tubing is a plastic plumbing pipe that is perfect for residential use.  It’s relatively easy to install, is less expensive than traditional copper pipe and has a great track record when it comes to performance.  It is presently one of the most commonly used plumbing materials in new home construction, making it the perfect choice if you are looking for a functional, cost effective solution to installing new or replacing existing plumbing lines in your home.

Pex is an acronym for “cross-linked polyethylene”.  The  PE refers to the raw material (polyethylene) used to make pex.  The X refers to the cross linking of the polyethylene  across it’s molecular chains.  The molecular chains are linked into a three-dimensional network that makes pex very durable within a wide range of temperatures and pressures.

Perhaps the greatest draw to using pex pipe for your plumbing needs is cost.  From materials right down to installation, it is the most cost effective plumbing system a homeowner can buy.  The material itself is less expensive and because it is flexible, it can be installed in longer sections.  Therefore, fewer fittings are required and the costs of installation is less that the equivalent copper system. Also, the flexibility, light weight, and easier connection of pex fittings will drastically cut down on the time it takes to re-plumb a house, or plumb a new house, and that translates into big savings in time and labor costs.     Let’s just face the facts ….labor is not cheap!

From a performance standpoint, pex also beats out traditional materials.  You don’t need to worry about using it as a potable water system, since it’s proven to be even more resistant than traditional systems  to common chemicals found in our local water sources.  The smooth interior of pex pipe resists the buildup of corrosive materials and minerals that can accumulate and clog copper pipe systems over time.

There are two basic types of pipe to fitting connections:  crimp and expand.  Both types have their own specific way of attaching the fitting to the pipe and both use a specific tool to complete the attachment.  Installers must be certified to install the pex pipe and fitting system.  This insures that the proper pipe sizing, installation standards, and appropriate hangers, clamps, and isolators are used.  Pex should never be exposed to UV light since it can break down the material and cause it to fail.  So, no outdoor usage is recommended.

If you are interested in pex pipe and have considered using it for your home, you may have done some investigating into this product already.  You probably have encountered “doubters” who cite problems with the plastic pipe that was commonly used back in the 1980’s.  It is true, plastic plumbing took a “hit on the chin” if you will, largely due to common pinhole leaks and fitting leaks over time.  Rest assured that the old plastic pipe (also known as poly-pipe) is a thing of the past!  The new generation of pex pipe is made of an entirely different material, and one that has proven itself reliable and nearly maintenance free for several years.  The old problems with plastic plumbing have been overcome by this new, innovative pex material.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information on pex tubing or if you would like a free “in home” estimate for a pex re-pipe.

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