Flexible plastic PEX pipes offer many advantages over old copper pipes.
For many years, copper was considered the material of choice for indoor water lines. Copper has many benefits to recommend it, including the fact that it is durable and resistant to corrosion. However, copper pipes do not last forever. They may become clogged up with mineral scale, or so pitted by acidic water that they eventually leak or burst.
In this case, you will be left with a question: Should you continue using copper pipes in your home, or switch to a different material?
PEX pipes are an excellent alternative to copper pipes that should be considered for any indoor plumbing project. PEX is a flexible plastic piping system made from crosslinked HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) polymer. PEX has been used successfully in Europe since the 1960s, and in the US since the 1980s. You may not have head much about it because as California was the last state to approve the use of PEX, we have only been able to use this product here since 2010.
Benefits of PEX Pipes vs Copper Pipes
Replacing your old, damaged copper pipes with new PEX pipes rather than new copper pipes can bring the following benefits:
Lower Material Costs:
The cost of PEX pipe can be as little as 10 percent of the cost of the equivalent amount of copper pipe. There are several reasons for this, the most important being the simple fact that metal prices are very high right now, which has pushed the price of copper pipes up. The pricing of PEX pipes also benefits from reduced shipping and handling costs because the material is lighter than copper and can be stored on space-saving spools.
Lower Labor Costs:
Because PEX is flexible, it can bend around corners without the need to cut the pipe and install fittings. This makes PEX much easier and faster to install which translates to lower labor costs for your water pipe replacement project.
Lower Potential for Leaks:
Because PEX requires fewer fittings, many potential leak points are eliminated. PEX is also has good chemical resistance and is able to expand and contract to a certain degree, which helps prevent bursting due to freezing. Most PEX pipe has a warranty of about 25 years, but will last 40 to 50 years without problems depending on the water quality.
The flexibility of PEX piping helps to virtually eliminate the “water hammer” effect that can occur in copper pipes. This means quieter plumbing, as well as reduced wear and tear on your plumbing fittings and appliances.
Better Energy Efficiency:
While copper pipe conducts heat, PEX does not. This means there is less heat lost when running hot water through the pipes, so you can enjoy better energy efficiency.