A popular repipe material for water lines, PEX has a remarkably long lifespan that outlasts copper and other alternatives. Its durability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness are big draws for many homeowners. However, like other piping materials, it does have its limitations. Rodents seem to love the stuff, and homeowners should be aware of some issues that can damage a pex pipe system.
One of the biggest misconceptions about PEX is that it’s new and unproven. In fact, billions of feet of the material have been installed in North America since it first became popular. PEX has a track record of performance that rivals copper and exceeds the longevity of CPVC and ABX piping.
In addition, PEX tubing is highly flexible and resistant to kinking that can make a pipe unusable. It’s also easier to cut than copper or galvanized pipes. A rotational tool or scissors-type sharp tube cutter can make a clean, smooth cut in minutes.
Another advantage of PEX is that it doesn’t corrode like PVC or CPVC. However, corrosion can occur if the tubing is exposed to acidic or alkaline water. This can be minimized by using a stainless steel piping connector and by installing aerators or low-pressure flow restrictors on faucets and fixtures.
The most common way to connect PEX is with copper crimp rings and a special crimping tool. PEX tubing is fitted into brass fittings, and the copper rings encircle the connection. Then a specialized PEX crimping tool is used to slightly deform the copper rings and crimp them tightly shut. A thermal expansion technique is also sometimes used to connect PEX, and a heat gun is used to quickly expand the end of the tubing before it’s slipped over a fitting. pex tubing