PEX versus copper is a hot topic in the world of plumbing. While you may say that this debate is not your concern because you are not a professional plumber, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between the two plumbing materials. This may occur when constructing a new home or making repairs. It is then important that you have a basic idea about the two materials that are commonly used in residential plumbing.
PEX is a new material that has caught the attention of people in the plumbing field. PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material used in making plumbing pipes. For a long time in the plumbing industry, copper has been the material of choice for pipes, but PEX is becoming a reliable alternative to copper because of its flexibility and durability.
PEX is ideal to use in both very hot and very cold temperatures. It is able to hold well against exposure to stress and chemicals, and it is easy to install because it requires fewer joints than copper pipes.
PEX may be attached to both PVC and metal pipes, making it a handy choice if you are working with different materials. If you live in a region of the country where frozen pipes are a common occurrence during winter, you can virtually eliminate the problem by replacing your metal pipes with PEX.
As many benefits as PEX has, there are also some downsides. One negative is that it cannot be used outdoors because it is designed for indoor use only. Additionally, it has an impermeable membrane that may give rise to water contamination. Lastly, PEX cannot be recycled which means that it can cause damage to the environment.
On the other hand, copper has been used in plumbing for many decades. It is noted for its durability, and cutting and installing copper pipes is a lot easier than when you are using iron or other metal pipes. Other types of metal pipes are prone to corrosion, but copper is corrosion-resistant. Another major bonus is that copper is not affected by UV rays of the sun, which makes it ideal for outdoor use. Copper also resists burning and bacteria. Additionally, it is easy on the earth because it can be recycled.
One major disadvantage of copper pipes is the cost because copper is one of the most expensive plumbing pipes you can buy. It is also subject to corrosion in some circumstances, and it will freeze at sub-zero temperatures. This can result in burst pipes and leakages.
If you plan on installing pipes that will run outdoors, copper is probably your best choice. For indoor plumbing, where space is extremely tight, PEX could be the best option. If you are not sure what to use, consult a licensed plumber. They will be able to assess your circumstances and provide valuable insight into what material will best suit your needs.