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FAQs: PEX and Copper Piping

PEX and Copper Piping Frequently Asked Questions

What Is PEX Piping?

PEX piping is a type of flexible piping made of cross-linked polyethylene. PEX pipes are considered an alternative to galvanized piping and copper piping. PEX piping was first invented in the 1960s and was used in U.S. homes throughout the 1980s and ’90s. It’s especially popular due to its performance, flexibility, and pricing.

What Are the Benefits of PEX Piping?

The number one reason why PEX piping is popular is its low cost. PEX is more affordable to install and is approximately one-third the cost of copper piping. However, PEX is more than just affordable. PEX piping is also resistant to corrosion, erosion, and mineral build-up. It’s easy to install, operates quietly, and is energy efficient because it has a smaller diameter than other types of piping so there’s a short wait-time for hot water.

What Are the Downsides of PEX Piping?

PEX piping does have some downsides. Because PEX is plastic, it’s doesn’t fair well in high-heat scenarios and can’t be installed on water heaters directly. PEX piping also needs to be installed in areas away from UV light.

What Is Copper Piping?

Copper piping is a type of plumbing made from copper, a metal with a reddish-brown color. Copper piping was first used in U.S. plumbing systems beginning in the 1930s but gained traction in the 1960s. Compared to other steel pipes, copper piping is thinner, lighter, and smaller in diameter.

What Are the Benefits of Copper Piping?

Copper pipes are durable, light-weight, fire-resistant, and eco-friendly. Copper pipes are also long-lasting because they’re resistant to corrosion, which makes them safe for plumbing systems as they won’t pollute drinking water.

What Are the Downsides of Copper Piping?

Like PEX piping, copper piping doesn’t always fair well in high temperatures. They can sometimes fail when the temperature of the water is above 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Drinking water that flows through copper pipes also sometimes has a metallic taste.

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