The plumbing on a home is essential - that's a fact! It is key to being able to live within a home comfortably, and while plumbing repairs are not the most fun repairs to undertake on a house; they are crucial, and part of what makes them so important is picking the correct piping. When it comes to PEX versus copper piping, there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to each, both of which will be explored in order to help you pick the best piping for your home.
For a very long time, copper was the industry standard for plumbing piping. There are many advantages and disadvantages to copper piping, ranging from its known reliability to its extended warranty. There are also a few disadvantages, such as its brittleness and lack of ability to expand.
One of the key advantages to copper piping, is that it is very well known. Having been in the industry standard for decades, most plumbers know exactly what to expect from the material. Most plumbers rate it at being good for 40 to 60 years, because they have had experience with it lasting for that amount of time.
The disadvantage to copper piping is that it is known for being brittle. Copper piping can expand slightly, but in areas where the ground is known to freeze, it can be dangerous as copper piping will crack easily the moment that it is frozen. Also, copper piping fittings are glued, which could potentially involve glue getting into the piping and therefore the water system. Copper also reacts to different metals that may touch it, which can cause electrolysis and put pinholes in the pipes. Copper is also prone to wearing down, due to the water flowing through it. Copper tends to leak, for this reason!
PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene flexible tubing, is a piping that has grown exponentially in popularity, especially for residential plumbing, due to its durable nature and its lower cost. It has a few disadvantages, such as its young age and shorter warranty.
One advantage to PEX is that it costs, on average, 25 percent less than copper! PEX is also slightly more flexible, allowing for it to fit within smaller or tighter spaces that copper cannot fit into, due to its rigid nature. It lowers labor costs because it is wildly easy to install, snapping connector fittings together or a compression tool by using crimp rings. PEX piping also does not corrode, does not allow sediment to deposit within the pipe, and it also expands up to eight times before it freezes.
The biggest disadvantage to PEX, is that it is unknown how well or long it will last. While PEX piping is warrantied for up to 25 years, it is unknown what could happen to PEX piping as the years go on. Since it is so new, it is hard to know what water will do to the plastic over 30 years. Another disadvantage is that all plumbers need to be certified to work with PEX and install it correctly, otherwise the warranty will be voided. This could make it harder to find a good plumber. Luckily, Allied specializes in re-piping old homes with new PEX plumbing!
With piping being so important to a home, it is important to have all information to be sure you are picking the best piping for your home. While there are advantages and disadvantages to both, at the end of the day, there are a lot of factors that go into it being the correct choice for your specific home!