The PEX Versus Copper Pipe Plumbing Repair Dilemma
PEX versus copper pipe are commonly compared plumbing materials. A situation every homeowner dreads is the thought of dealing with pipe leaks or pinhole leaks of any sort. Plumbing repairs are the last thing anyone wants to deal with. One of the most important factors to consider when resolving pipe leaks is what is the best product to replace them with. The acronym PEX stands cross-linked polyethylene. It is a type of plastic tubing made from high-density polyethylene and is used for water supply. Copper, on the other hand, is a well-known metal also used for piping water supply lines. A common dilemma for homeowners is choosing between PEX or copper metal pipe when replacing leaking pipes.
It is natural to feel confused when you are not armed with the right information about your options. You might not be aware of the physical characteristics of PEX versus copper pipe, what each looks like, their price factor, and the plumbing repair situations they are best used for.
In this article, we bring you the basic information, pros, and cons of each of these options. PEX versus copper pipe needs additional discussion to help in your decision-making process.
As most plumbers will tell you, copper pipe has been in use centuries and still is. Apart from the durability factor, copper pipes enjoy their popularity as they are common, readily available and plumbers find it familiar to use. Since they are weather resistant and cannot be damaged by the sun’s UV rays, they can be used inside your house and outside as well. However, one needs to have a certain level of expertise and skill set to solder copper pipes and the fittings together.
- Durability: Copper pipes are extremely durable and are known to last for more than 75 years. This is one of the reasons why users even today choose to go for copper pipes for their plumbing needs.
- Recyclable: Copper pipes can be recycled and a large chunk of them continue to be reused in pipes and fittings.
Prevents bacteria growth: The natural attributes of copper make it resistant to the growth of bacteria inside it.
- Corrosion resistant: Copper is largely resistant to corrosion. It can withstand the weather as well as the UV rays of the sun. It will not burn in case of a fire or give out toxic fumes.
- Expensive: Copper is expensive and its installation process can be laborious. Since copper is valuable and can be recycled there have been instances where copper pipes have been cut and stolen.
- Prone to bursting: It may corrode depending on the pH levels of the water. It is prone to freezing and bursting in cold weather.
PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) piping has been around for the last few decades and is widely being used to replace copper pipes. They are easier to install and less expensive. It can be safely used for drinking water applications, as insulation for high voltage electric cables and in other industrial applications.
They are quite durable and color coded which is handy, especially if you need to need to face any repair issues in the future. Red PEX tubing is usually used for hot water while blue is used for cold water. They reduce the chances of leaking to a great extent, give you better water pressure at fixtures and are also environment-friendly.
- Versatile: PEX pipes are flexible and installation around corners is easy. They also provide a great deal of versatility as they can be used with existing plumbing systems and can be connected to different types of piping.
- Cost-effective: It is a cost-effective option and can be about 3 times cheaper than copper. The installation process is easy and economical. It is flexible and requires fewer fittings and connections during installation.
- Temperature resistant: It is very durable and resistant to both extremely high and low temperatures.
- Corrosion resistant: It is resistant to corrosion, chlorine, and scaling.
- Less prone to bursting: It has great endurance and is less prone to bursting.
- Easy to install: They do not need to be soldered, thus preventing any risk of fire during the installation process. They can be installed without using glue. Also, since it is lightweight, it makes the installation process easy and hassle-free.
- Not resistant to Ultraviolet radiation: It degrades if exposed to sunlight and hence cannot be used in outdoor applications.
- Not recyclable: They cannot be recycled and hence have no real resale value.
- May be vulnerable to insects: PEX pipes may be vulnerable to insects and leakages can occur if these insects pierce through the tubing.
PEX Versus Copper Conclusion:
People who need to save on cost would be inclined towards PEX pipes while others who want a long-term solution that isn’t vulnerable to UV exposure and insect populations might decide to choose copper pipes as an option.
Both PEX versus copper pipes have their own advantages and drawbacks. The decision to choose one over the other would depend upon factors like your budget, your environment and most importantly, your home’s specific requirements. Contacting a professional plumbing company to help you find the best solution is always a smart strategy. We hope you find this information useful to make a great choice!
TDT Plumbing has over 20 years’ experience with plumbing repairs and working with both materials and we can help guide you through the complexities of your specific plumbing needs.