Are you at the point of needing to replace the fresh water lines in your home? Or maybe you are looking to build a house and need to know what type of pipe is better, PEX or copper?
PEX or Copper
Copper and PEX each have their benefits and drawbacks to using them, but in the end it all comes down to what your need is, and the code requirements in your area. As far as installation of either one of these, it will depend on your skill level. It is always best to consult a professional first to see exactly what will need to be done and how they would accomplish the job.
The advantages and disadvantages to each include:
PEX is the nickname for cross-linked polyethylene. The use of it has been climbing considerably since its start in the nineteen seventies. Its primary purpose has been in residential structures for potable water. There are three ways of making PEX, each is a bit different in their strengths.
- PEXa – Is also referred to as the “Engel” process after its creator and is made using the hottest crosslinking method, which is over the crystalline softening point. It is put under high pressure and consists of peroxide that is blended with a special polyethylene resin before the extrusion process. It is the most flexible type and has an excellent elastic memory. It is also the strongest of the three PEX types.
- PEXb – Is made after the extrusion process, when the piping is immersed into a hot tank of water or is placed into steam. The flexibility is not as tolerant as PEX-a, because the process is uneven.
- PEXc – After it goes through the extrusion process, the form is changed using an electron beam for the molecular formation conversion. It is the least durable and flexible out of the three.
Out of the three different kinds of PEX, PEXa has clear advantages. If you have the means to obtain this type, it is advised to do so.
Advantages of using PEX:
- Cheaper than copper
- Scale and chlorine resistant
- Easier and quicker to install
- Less noisy than copper in the walls
- Holds in the heat
- Color coded
- Is expandable
- Has a higher resistance to low temperatures
- Crimp ring connected
- More efficient than copper
- Less pressure loss due to the smooth interior of the pipe
- UV resistant
- Corrosion resistant from soil and water
- Impact resistant
- Can be used inside and outside
- Easier to replace
Disadvantages of PEX:
- Warranty is twenty-five years less than copper
- Is not fire resistant
- Possible toxic emissions
Copper has been used as the primary source of piping for many years, but it requires more experience to install.
Advantages of using Copper piping:
Generates a biostatic environment that prohibits the growth of bacteria from within
- UV resistant
- Long lifespan
- Used for both inside and outside
- Fire resistant
- Corrosion resilient
- Withstands high pressure
- Resistant to punctures
- Does not produces any toxic emissions
- Warranty up to fifty years
Disadvantages of Copper:
- Is more expensive than PEX
- Harder to install
- More fittings are required
- Prone to theft
- Chance of metal taste
- Can break or freeze in low temperatures
- Harder to replace, especially indoors
- Must be connected with the use of soldering and more fittings
As you can see there are many advantages to both PEX and Copper. It is safest to check with a local expert that knows what type of piping is best for your situation, as well as understands the government standards in your region.
When cost and time is the issue, then PEX is a great choice, as it is much easier to install. Copper has a longer lifespan, but if you are not knowledgeable about it’s installation, it is not an excellent choice. It is also more expensive and takes much longer to install.
If you choose PEX, you can rest easy knowing your water lines will be safe and efficient for years to come. Pro and con lists are great when making big decisions such as this. PEX is the way of the future and we are happy to provide water lines that will keep family homes safe and in working order.