What Is PEX Plumbing And How Does It Compare To Traditional Plumbing?

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Anyone who has ever decided to get into DIY plumbing will have inevitably come across colourful plastic tubing known as PEX plumbing, This is a modern form of plumbing that has been popular in Europe for decades now and has only recently become popular in American households. This article will help you understand PEX plumbing, and how it fares against traditional plumbing. 

What Is PEX?

PEX is a type of plastic tubing made by cross linking polyethylene that is more supple and flexible. It was initially invented by a German scientist in the late-60s. The first use of PEX pipes was for in-floor radiant heating systems. Nowadays PEX pipes have infiltrated plumbing practices all over the US, and many DIY plumbers have learned how to use PEX pipe tools on their own.

Advantages of PEX plumbing

There are several advantages of this plumbing system that helps explain its popularity. Here are a few: 

Colored Pipes Make It Easier To Organize Plumbing

You can easily color-code the pipes, and there is an unofficially agreed upon color system that most plumbers in the US follow. For example, hot water pipes are usually red, while blue PEX pipes are expected to be cold. 

Flexibility And Expansion

The material is far more flexible than metal, allowing for easier installation. Also, there is less need to worry about the pipes freezing over and cracking during the winter months because PEX pipes are capable of expanding slightly with the water inside them as it turns to ice.

No Soldering Or Difficult Methods Required

PEX plumbing is particularly popular among DIY enthusiasts because there is no need to get involved with more dangerous practices such as soldering or welding pipes together. 

Corrosion Resistance

While it is common to find copper pipes that have corroded and cracked over time, this is not the case with PEX plumbing because the material is resistant to corrosion. There is, however, a risk of the plastic hardening and cracking if it is exposed to UV lights. 

Silent Flow Of Water

If you’ve ever noticed the water flowing through a radiator in a New York apartment building, you’re familiar with the metal clanking sound of water flowing through old pipes. This is not an issue with PEX plumbing.

Versatility

You can easily connect PEX pipes to metal pipes using appropriate fixtures for the job. This makes them more versatile and easy to work with because even old plumbing can be partially upgraded.

Disadvantages of PEX plumbing

These are the drawbacks of PEX:

  • It is currently non-recyclable.
  • PEX cannot be used outdoors because the sun can cause the plastic to harden and crack very quickly.

The Bottom Line

PEX plumbing may have only recently become popular in America, but there is an increasing demand for it, and for good reason. This new plumbing material is far superior to traditional plumbing pipes. Learning how to repair PEX pipes is fairly simple, which is why many people are turning to DIY plumbing in lieu of paying top-prices to experienced plumbers. 

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