May 6, 2013   //   by Daniel Cordova   //   Blog  //  Comments Off on When It Comes To Repiping A Home, Which Material Is Better? Copper Piping VS PEX Piping

Copper_vs_PEX_Daniel_Cordova_Plumbing

One of the things a homeowner never wants to think about, is that dreadful day when their plumber tells them that they’re due for a complete home re-pipe.  Whether from root infestation or just good ole’ wear and tear, it’s never a fun thing to hear.  Fortunately, it generally is only something that happens about once every 25+ years for a standard American home, depending on proper maintenance and care of course.  However, when your technician starts throwing decisions your way, it can definitely get a little scary.

The primary decision a homeowner will need to make is the type of material to be used for repiping.  Older homes may contain pipes made out of galvanized metal or pvc, which are both materials that have been known to carry many flaws that reduce their lifespan in a standard American home.  They are never recommended.  In fact, if your home plumbing utilizes any of these, it is the first thing a plumber will recommend to have replaced.

The two most popular and most recommended materials for plumbing these days, are Copper piping and PEX piping, but do you know what they are?  What the difference between the two is and which is right for you?  Well have no fear, we’re here to explain and help make that decision (when the day comes) a bit easier for you.  So here it is…

 

WHAT IS COPPER PIPING?

Copper itself is known to be a very durable and reliable metal.  It is fairly easy to install which makes it a great choice for residential plumbing.  It is resistant to ultraviolet rays so it is great for indoor and outdoor use and it inhibits the growth of bacteria which often makes it more appealing to many homeowners.  It is also a valuable and recyclable metal, which adds to the value of most homes.  Copper piping does have a few disadvantages though.

First, depending on the PH levels of the water running through your home, copper piping is easily susceptible to corrosion which wears down the pipes and causes leaks to occur.  Also, since copper does not have the capability to expand and contract, pipe bursts are yet another pitfall to this type of piping material.  Copper piping is also the culprit of noisy plumbing systems.  It tends to knock as the water is turned on and off and may get worse with time.  Lastly, since it IS a valuable metal, the price for copper piping is significantly more expensive than that of mostly any other type of piping material.

 

SO WHAT IS PEX PIPING?

PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material which undergoes multiple processes, making it highly durable for extreme temperatures, capable of resisting creep deformation caused by high stress in the pipes, as well as resistance to various chemicals.  PEX piping is extremely flexible and can easily expand and contract to avoid pipe bursts in extreme weather conditions.  It also resists corrosion and the formation of lime and mineral buildups which normally cause leaks.  PEX piping also only requires a few joints which makes it easy to install and a bit cheaper than most other piping materials.   However, just like copper though, PEX piping does have a few disadvantages as well.

First, PEX piping is highly sensitive to ultraviolet radiation, making it limited to indoor use only or in places where it is not affected by the sun.  Also, since PEX pipes do not contain the biostatic capabilities of copper, they are prone to bacterial growth if not maintained properly, and since PEX is not a recyclable material, it also holds little to no value for a home.  Lastly, PEX piping, although minimal yet due to its softer grade of material, is also susceptible to rodents chewing through making it prone to leaks of this type of nature.

 

WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN COPPER PIPING AND PEX PIPING?

The easiest way to explain this is through a simple chart which shows which type of pipe is better under certain circumstances.

Main Differences Between Copper Piping vs PEX Piping

 

WHICH TYPE OF PIPE IS BETTER FOR MY HOME, COPPER PIPING OR PEX PIPING?

Well, we hate to break it to you, but unfortunately there is no clear cut answer here.  This decision entirely comes down to preference.  In a few circumstance a technician may recommend one over the other, but he should clearly explain why based on these facts.  Otherwise, unfortunately, you are left to use your own discretion and to decide what matters most to you.  In the end though, they are both great materials and are both highly recommended by technicians, so no matter which you choose, you know you will be in good hands!


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