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"Pex" to the Rescue

"Pex" to the Rescue
April 21, 2015 SNH Editorial Team

Building materials are such an important part of “healthy house” and “healthy living”. We buy bottled water because we know water quality is super important.  Consider the lines that the water you drink, cook with and shower in flow through. I submit the delivery system, the water lines themselves have a lot to do with the water quality inside your  house. This is why you need to know about extruded cross-linked polyethylene tubing is today’s most important invention in plumbing products.

While you cannot change municipal water lines to your house and it is best to install a whole house water filtration system (see also my recent LinkedIn article), try to change out copper for pex whenever and wherever possible inside your house. Earlier I mentioned Scale blaster systems as a helpful improvement.

Aquatherm makes a similar extruded pipe system. See my earlier blog.

Simply put, pex is one reason why a new house delivers a healthier quality of living. Yes, you can connect old copper lines to pex – after you read this, you likely will want to do just that.

Pex tubing replaces copper. It is flexible and comes in large spools. Instead of many soldered joints (which also of course involves lead-based solder) pex can be installed continuously “point-to-point” – from the source to the sink. Since joints are where copper pipes tend to corrode and leak, correctly installed pex tubing sharply reduces plumbing repairs.

Pex has been used in Europe for many years before it finally (!) received approval under the US building code a few years ago. It costs much less than copper and comes in two colors and grades – blue for cold water and red for hot water …brilliantly simple!

Pex does not have the same scale and build-up on the inside of the pipe. Hurrah for cleaner and healthier water lines.

It is also more resistant for freeze breaks and it does not transfer/loose heat as rapidly as copper lines. Water flows through it more quietly. Gone is what’s usually called “water hammer”.

 Installation is also simpler and safer than copper. There is no need for open torches and soldering. Plumbers should know to leave a little slack if not an extra loop once in awhile so that pex tubing can expand and contract with changing temperatures. That’s just about the only thing plumbers must watch for!

Finally, good plumbers organize pex lines in manifolds so that you know exactly what line goes directly (!) to what room and fixture and can shut it off right there. There is no longer any need to run around your basement looking for shut off valves. These manifolds not only look clean and organized and they are!