PEX pipe, also known as cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), is becoming an increasingly popular option for residential plumbing installations. It boasts several advantages over copper and galvanized steel pipes such as flexibility and expandability when running long runs without frequent connections.
PEX pipes come in three varieties, according to their production process: PEX A, PEX B and PEX C.
PEX pipe is a popular choice for plumbing and heating applications due to its flexibility, affordability, and ease of installation. In fact, it’s quickly replacing copper as the preferred domestic piping material in both new construction and remodeling projects. Before you purchase rolls of tubing for your upcoming endeavor, however, make sure you know which type of pex pipe best suits your needs.
PEX pipe comes in three distinct varieties, each with slightly different properties. All meet ASTM requirements for use with potable water and have been certified NSF certified for flexible plumbing applications.
The most widely available type of pex pipe is Type A, which is ideal for do-it-yourselfers looking to replace leaky copper water lines. At DIY centers, it comes in various sizes and colors so you have plenty of options when shopping around for your project.
PEX A is a strong, reusable and expandable tubing option designed for cold weather installations. Additionally, it can be installed with expansion-style fittings that enable cold expansion – eliminating the risk of kinking that would render a PEX tube unusable.
Installing copper pipes in tight places is much simpler than working with traditional copper pipes, which may be difficult to reach with a hammer. This simplifies the job and allows for quicker completion times – especially on long runs that must fit snugly.
Another benefit of PEX A is its repairability in case of a kink or damage to the tubing. When heated, this will shrink back to its original shape and restore your water line back to working order.
For instance, if a pex tubing connection has been corroded by acid or is leaking due to corrosion, you can heat the damaged area and restore it back to a functional state. This is far safer than fixing or replacing the entire tube and it helps you save money in the long run.
PEX A pipe is designed for maximum pressures and temperatures, but it should be noted that its maximum pressure ratings decrease at higher temperatures. Therefore, it’s best to avoid installing PEX A in extreme temperatures unless you use an approved heat barrier and fire protection system.
Type B pex pipe is one of the most frequently used types of plumbing piping. It comes in various sizes from 10-foot pieces for smaller repairs to rolls of 500 feet that install entire water supply systems. Furthermore, this material also works great for radiant heating applications.
Similar to other PEX pipes, this pipe comes in a range of colors that make it easily distinguishable by installers. Red signifies hot water, blue indicates cold water and white can be used both for hot and cold applications.
Pipe 316L is a highly flexible material made with peroxide that resists cracking in cold temperatures. As such, it makes an ideal choice for all residential plumbing systems, especially those which circulate extremely cold water.
However, it is not as flexible or durable as the other two types of pipe. Therefore, it may not be as straightforward to work with and cutting it may prove more challenging than anticipated. Therefore, it is recommended that you purchase this type of PEX pipe from a reliable supplier for optimal convenience.
PEX pipe is an ideal substitute for polybutylene (PB) pipes, due to its resistance to corrosive chemicals like chlorine. As such, it won’t harm the surrounding plumbing system.
PEX B also boasts a higher burst pressure rating than PEX A, meaning it can withstand up to 500 psi without bursting.
Furthermore, it has a higher resistance to cracking than either of the other varieties of PEX. Furthermore, it’s more affordable than both other varieties, making it an ideal solution for all home plumbing needs.
The primary disadvantage of this pipe is that it will deteriorate if left outdoors for too long. This is due to its plastic composition, which becomes brittle and cracked with constant exposure to sunlight.
When selecting pipe for your plumbing system, it’s best to opt for a quality brand that can withstand corrosive chemicals like chlorine. Furthermore, check the NSF mark on the packaging of tubing before purchase.
As a plumber, being able to recognize the type of pex pipe you have and take into account when installing it is an essential skill. Though differences between materials and products may appear minor at first glance, choosing subpar plumbing components can have disastrous results due to various reasons.
When selecting pex pipe for installation, one thing to keep in mind is that each type has been specifically designed for a given task. Whether installing cold or hot water lines, or branch lines connecting to mainlines, it’s essential to select the type of pipe best suited for the job at hand.
When selecting tubing, the connection method and size should not only be taken into account but also its type. Different types of pex pipe expand and contract differently, making it essential to use the right one for your application.
When installing PEX, the type of fittings and tools necessary will depend on its flexibility. PEX-A can be repaired with a heat gun, however it’s more prone to chemical leaching.
On the other hand, PEX-B is a more durable type of pex pipe and boasts higher burst pressure than PEX-A. Furthermore, it’s resistant to oxidation, making it suitable for plumbing installations in harsher environments.
However, this type is pricier and has a lower cross-linking ratio compared to its two counterparts, leading it to be more susceptible to kinks. When installed with a push-fit fitting, however, this issue becomes an issue when attached to copper crimp rings or other types of fittings.
Another thing to keep in mind is that all three types of pex pipe must meet ASTM F876 and ASTM F877 standards in order to be sold in the United States, so make sure your purchase complies with these specifications. Doing so will guarantee you receive only top-quality and dependable pex pipe.
PEX pipe is an ideal option for new plumbing installations or replacing existing copper piping. It is flexible, durable, and simple to connect with a variety of fittings. Furthermore, PEX pipe costs less than copper and galvanized metal pipes.
Installing PEX tubing begins by determining the appropriate size for your project. There are three primary sizes of PEX: 3/4 inches, half inches and one-quarter inch. These measurements can be used for various applications like branch lines and water heater lines.
If you plan on using PEX as your main supply line, opt for a three-quarter inch diameter pipe. This will enable you to easily track its length and make sure there is room for all necessary fittings.
Another factor to consider when installing pex is its type. Oxygen-barrier PEX works best in drinking water systems since it prevents oxygen from reaching pipes and damaging iron components.
Finally, it’s essential to consider where and how the pipe will be installed and supported. Make sure the support is at least every 32 inches, using brackets and clamps specifically tailored for the size of pipe you are supporting.
Once you’ve identified a suitable location for the pipe, it’s time to begin running it. To do this, drill holes into the wall studs and feed the pipe through them.
Once you’ve completed the job, test your pipes to make sure they are functioning correctly. Doing this can help identify any leaks or bad connections early on.
If you’re uncertain whether you have done the job correctly, hire an experienced plumber to conduct a water meter reading to detect any issues. They will also be able to make any necessary adjustments so your pipes run optimally.
PEX offers many benefits, but it can also be vulnerable to damage from rodents and pests. Rodents have the ability to chew through plastic tubing and cause extensive destruction. Furthermore, chemicals found in the environment can corrode PEX, leading to water contamination.