What Are PEX Pipes – Why Use Them
PEX piping is made of polyethylene whose molecules are chemically or mechanically linked together for superior flexibility and resistance to mechanical stresses. Because PEX is also resistant to the chemicals and compounds in the water, it’s approved for use in plumbing systems in all 50 states, including Texas.
PEX has several advantages over other plumbing materials, including lower manufacturing and installation costs, greater flexibility and durability, ease of installation, minimum maintenance, higher efficiency, quieter operation, and excellent resistance to long-term high-temperature and high-pressure conditions.
Although these characteristics alone could make copper, galvanized steel, PVC, and CPVC pipes a thing of the past, there are a few more not-so-obvious advantages and reasons why you should opt for this piping material instead of the aforementioned plumbing options.
PEX Has a Low Environmental Impact
We all know that plastic can harm the environment, particularly if it ends up in landfills. But when it comes to the production, use, and disposal of PEX pipes, they require far less energy to produce and generate less pollution than some of the traditional plumbing materials, including copper.
In comparison to copper, which is produced from oxide and sulfide ores that are extracted for the sole purpose of manufacturing this material, PEX is a byproduct of natural gas or crude oil, which is typically extracted for other purposes. Another essential point is that uninsulated or poorly insulated copper pipes can waste more energy than plastic pipes. That’s because the hot water traveling through copper pipes can lose some of the heat on its way to faucets or showerheads. On the other hand, PEX piping has inherent insulation properties, which means that it retains some of the heat, preventing the hot water from losing heat too quickly to the environment. Because PEX piping requires less energy than copper pipes to reach and maintain the desired water temperature, it can help you lower your energy bills.
PEX Can Be Used with Manifold Systems
Although PEX piping can be installed in the same fashion as copper, galvanized steel, PVC, and CPVC piping, this method involves using multiple fittings and joints, which could deteriorate and cause leaks over time. Because many of these joints are usually located within walls, floors, and ceilings, fixing them often requires calling in a professional plumber. Additionally, a pipe in a traditionally piped system typically serves different draw-off points, which could cause significant pressure and temperature variations when faucets or valves are turned on or off.
Since a centrally located manifold provides joint-free pipes, each of which distributes water from the main supply line to a single faucet, showerhead, or water-supplied appliance, it minimizes the risk of water leaks and damage considerably. Because there aren’t any draw-off points on pipes, a manifold can also keep temperature and pressure variations to a minimum when you turn on or off your faucets or appliances. What’s more, the piping systems with a manifold use a single pipe dimension, which can simplify the design and installation process significantly. Another essential aspect is that a manifold provides one of the most efficient ways to distribute hot water quickly from heaters to faucets.
PEX Piping Can Pass Home Inspections with Flying Colors
If you’re planning on selling your home, having a functional piping system without problems, like pipe leaks or noises, could help you seal the deal faster. Even if you don’t intend to sell your home anytime soon, repiping your home with PEX will give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t experience unexpected pinhole leaks, burst pipes, and extensive water damage to your home. To make sure that your plumbing system will pass a home inspection and provide all the benefits that PEX can offer, our professionals will inspect your system after installation to ensure that:
- the fasteners are firm but they still allow the piping to move, so that it can effectively mitigate the compression effects of the shock waves that typically occur when faucets or valves are shut off suddenly;
- the fasteners hold the pipes in position to prevent extra strain on the fittings;
- the long runs have an adequate loop or a horizontal offset in the piping to accommodate expansion and contraction;
- all fittings are hidden in wall, ceiling, and floor cavities are installed and joined correctly;
- the manifold, where applicable, is installed close enough to the water heater to improve the response time of hot water;
- manifold runs, where applicable, are labeled, so they can be easily identified and shut off in case of a leak.
When installed correctly and inspected properly, PEX piping can serve you well for many years to come, without any repairs. For more information about repiping your home with PEX, feel free to contact Allied Foundation specialists! In addition to answering your questions, our professionals will be able to complete your plumbing project right the first time.