When it comes to piping, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is the new copper. You’ll see it in the plumbing aisle of home improvement stores and even see it being used for green building projects. It’s a cost-effective alternative to metal pipes, but it has its pros and cons. Until recently, it’s been primarily used in residential plumbing, radiant heating and cooling and geothermal systems. But its popularity is growing.
Unlike copper, PEX doesn’t require any special fittings to connect the water supply lines. It’s important to keep in mind that PEX expands and contracts with temperature changes, so it must be protected from abrasion. This can be done with inexpensive pipe insulation, abrasion clips or by covering the pipe with drywall. If the pipes are encased in concrete for in-floor heating, this isn’t an issue, but pipes running through joists and studs must be protected.
There are several types of PEX tubing available, with the most common being Type A and Type B. The main difference between the two is that Type A is more flexible than Type B, which means it resists cracking when the water freezes. Type A also has a higher bursting pressure and higher resistance to chlorine in water supplies, so it’s better suited for areas with hard water.
It’s important to work with PEX at temperatures above freezing. This will help the pipe and fittings stay warm, which reduces the chances of kinking. If you do happen to get a kink in a run, most manufacturers recommend using a heat gun to warm the area around the kink and then applying an abrasion clip or wrapping the abrasion with drywall. pex tubing