PEX or cross-linked polyethylene, has become a popular for use in hot and cold plumbing installations. It has many advantages over metal pipe (either copper, iron or lead) or rigid plastic pipe (either PVC, CPVC or ABS). Among its many benefits include being flexible, resistant to scale and chlorine, does not corrode or develop pinholes and is faster to install than metal or rigid plastic pipes. In addition, PEX has lesser connections and fittings.
What Is PEX Tubing Made Of?
PEX is made from cross-linked high density polyethylene polymer (HDPE) which is melted and then continuously extruded into a tube. PEX plumbing has been used in Europe since the 1970s and it was introduced in the United States of America around 1980.
Ever since, the use of PEX has been increasing and it has even replaced copper pipes in lots of applications like radiant heating systems installed in the slab under floors or walkways. As mentioned earlier, PEX is also quite popular for hot and cold water plumbing installations.
What Are The Advantages Of PEX?
What makes PEX stand out from the rest?
- Flexible PEX tube is shipped and stored on spools compared to metal or rigid plastic piping which has to be cut into practical lengths. With this feature, PEX has lower shipping costs and offers improved storage options.
- Plumbing installations using PEX require lesser fittings compared to rigid plastic piping.
- Attaching a PEX tube to fittings doesn’t need soldering and as such, eliminates the health hazards linked with lead-based solder and acid fluxes.
- PEX is resistant to scale build-up common in other pipes and it doesn’t pit or corrode when exposed to acidic water.
- PEX is resistant to freeze breakage.
- PEX conserves energy as it doesn’t readily transfer heat compared to copper pipes.
- Water flowers silently through a PEX tube.
- A PEX plumbing installation costs less because the material is not expensive and it doesn’t take a lot of time to install.
What Are The Disadvantages Of PEX?
With advantages come certain disadvantages, and these include:
- Cannot be used outdoors.
- The unique crimping tools required costs a lot of money to purchase.
But even with these disadvantages, PEX remains a versatile material and is worth considering for your plumbing installations.
Tips on Cutting a PEX Pipe
To cut a PEX pipe, you will need some tools and these include:
- Tubing Cutter
- Ring Crimper
- Crimp Rings
- “Go/No-Go” Gauge
- Crimp Ring Removal Tool
Now that you know the tools to be used, here’s some tips on how to cut a PEX pipe:
Make sure that the unique tubing cutter you use is designed to be used with PEX piping. Always make certain of this so that you can cut the pipe with minimal errors. Using the right tool also ensures that all cuts are straight and burr free. It’s also important to know that a PEX pipe that has not been cut squarely can lead to a leak hazard.
Joining a PEX pipe is simple and can be done using copper crimp rings, piper fittings and “Go/No-Go” gauges.