HVAC Hacks: Tips for Novices and New Homeowners

Is PEX The Right Plumbing Material For Your New Home?

You might hear it called "PEX," or perhaps your plumber uses its real name: crosslinked polyethylene. In either case, this new plumbing material is becoming increasingly common in modern homes, and if you are having a house built, there is a good chance that your plumber will offer it to you as an option. Before you just agree to PEX, it's important that you understand what this plumbing material is, its benefits, and its drawbacks. Here's a look.

What is PEX?

PEX is a flexible plumbing material. Instead of being rigid like copper or iron pipes, it flexes like a garden hose. The material it is made from, however, is more durable than garden hose material. PEX comes in big roles, and to install it, your plumber just unrolls it and runs it where it needs to go. It can bend around corners without the need for joints or welding.

What are the benefits of PEX?

The number one benefit of PEX is that it's easy to install. A home that takes a plumber a week to plumb with copper pipes may only take them a day to plumb with PEX. This is because there's no need to cut every section of pipe to the proper size or attach joints at each bend. PEX can also easily be installed behind walls that have been fully constructed. This makes scheduling your plumbing installation easier, which may mean you're able to get into your home faster.

Since PEX is not a metal, it is also less prone to the scale buildup that can occur in metal pipes if you have soft water. It's also less likely to break and burst if water freezes inside of it, and PEX is quite energy efficient, since the heat from your hot water won't leech out through it.

Are there any downfalls to PEX?

PEX is a very wise choice for most homeowners for the reasons described above. However, all materials do have their shortcomings. One downfall of PEX is that there is an increased potential for leaks where the "pipes" connect to faucets and appliances. This risk can be minimized by hiring an experienced plumber and making sure they test the plumbing system before they leave. PEX can also not be recycled like copper, so it's not the most sustainable choice.

To learn more about PEX, reach out to a local plumber. They can give you an estimate for installing PEX, which can help you decide whether this is the best material for your home.