Copper used to be the standard material for pipes. Zinc oxide was another popular choice. Over time, metal pipes have been increasingly replaced with modern, man-made materials. Some of these materials haven’t been very good and have been phased out, but one of the most popular piping materials now is PEX. PEX is made of polyethylene that has been cross linked in a special way. It has been used in Europe for decades at this point, but is still somewhat new here in the United States.
PEX is best known for its ability to withstand temperatures and pressure. If your pipes are copper and they freeze, you are almost certainly going to need plumbing repair services shortly after they thaw because the copper will just burst. It can’t expand at all. PEX reduces the need for plumbing repair because it can freeze and expand and thaw and contract without bursting or cracking.
Here are some facts about PEX piping:
- PEX doesn’t need as many fittings as more rigid pipes. It can actually go around a 90-degree corner with no elbow fitting.
- PEX is resistant to scale build-up and does not get corroded from acidic water.
- PEX is not as expensive as copper piping.
- PEX can carry potable hot and cold water and is also suitable for radiant heating systems.
There are some variations of PEX, and the one that is right for your application may vary depending on your water composition and water system types. Having your whole house repiped with PEX will reduce the likelihood that you will need plumbing repair. If you have been having repeated trouble with your old pipes, consider replacing them with PEX.