Fresh Water Lines in Your Home: Should You Use PEX vs Copper Piping?

a faucet with water running from it and the words fresh water in your home should you use

Are you at the point of needing water lines replaced 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 Vs Copper

Copper and PEX have their own benefits and drawbacks, 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.

Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each material.

PEX Piping

PEX is the nickname for cross-linked polyethylene. The use of it has been climbing considerably since its start in the 1970s. Its primary purpose has been in residential structures for potable water. There are three ways of making PEX, and each is a bit different in its strengths.

  1.                         PEX-A – This process is also referred to as the “Engel” method, named after its creator. PEX-A is made using the hottest cross-linking method, which uses heating above the crystalline melting 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.
  2.                         PEX-B – This type is made after the extrusion process when the piping is immersed into a hot tank of water or is placed into steam. PEX-B doesn’t have the same degree of elastic memory as PEX-A, meaning it cannot expand as much as PEX-A.
  3.                         PEX-C – After it goes through the extrusion process, PEX-C is changed using an electron radiation beam for the molecular formation conversion. It is the least durable and flexible out of the three types of materials.

Out of the three different kinds of PEX, PEX-A has clear advantages. If you have the means to obtain this type of PEX piping, it is advised to do so.

Advantages of using PEX:

  • Flexible
  • More affordable than copper
  • Scale and chlorine resistant
  • Easier and quicker to install
  • Less noise than copper in the walls
  • Holds in the heat
  • Color-coded
  • Expandable
  • Has a higher resistance to low temperatures
  • Crimp ring connected
  • More efficient than copper
  • Abrasion resistant
  • Less pressure loss due to the smooth interior of the pipe
  • UV resistant
  • Corrosion resistance from soil and water
  • Impact resistant
  • Can be used inside and outside
  • Easier to replace

Disadvantages of PEX:

  • Warranty is 25 years – less than copper
  • Is not fire-resistant
  • Possible toxic emissions

Copper Piping
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:

  • UV resistant
  • Long lifespan
  • Used both inside and outside
  • Fire resistant
  • Corrosion resistant; however, it could corrode under certain conditions
  • Withstands high pressure
  • Resistant to punctures
  • Does not produces any toxic emissions
  • Warranty is up to 50 years

Disadvantages of Copper:

  • More expensive than PEX
  • Harder to install
  • More fittings are required
  • Prone to theft
  • Chance of metal taste
  • Can freeze and break in low temperatures
  • Harder to replace, especially indoors
  • Must be connected with the use of soldering

As you can see, there are many advantages to both PEX and Copper. It is safest to check with a local expert who knows what type of piping is best for your situation, as well as, one who understands the government standards in your region.

When cost and time are the issues, PEX is a great choice, as it is less expensive and much easier to install. Copper has a longer lifespan, but if you are not knowledgeable about its 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 PEX pipes that will keep family homes safe and in working order.

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