What Are The Advantages Or Disadvantages Of Using The PEX Plumbing Pipe As Opposed To PVC?

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Are you planning to connect or replace plumbing pipes in your home? You can perhaps opt for plastic pipes constructed of PEX or PVC based on their advantage and disadvantages over one another. The outstanding benefits of PEX over PVC are that PEX is capable of enduring extreme temperatures. However, the burden of PEX is that it’s more expensive than PVC.

There are many advantages and disadvantages linked to each type of plastic pipes, but first, let’s take a look at what exactly is PEX and PVC? PEX is a short form for Crosslinked polyethylene and is created by melting high-density polyethylene and squeezing it out in a tube. At the same time, PVC stands for “polyvinyl chloride” and is a cheap kind of thermoplastic used for household drain, vent, or waste piping. There are PVC and PEX pipes that can be used for plumbing. But, the PEX is the most preferred though with its drawbacks.

Check below the pro and cons for wise decision making.

Advantages Or Disadvantages Of Using The PEX Plumbing Pipe As Opposed To PVC

Advantages Of Using PEX Plumbing Pipe As Opposed To PVC:

Effortless To Install

PEX pipes, without a doubt, are flexible and, therefore, easier to install than PVC. With PEX, your plumber creates fewer connections because PEX can bend to change directions based on the house structure. You might ask: What’s now the benefit of fewer connections? There will be fewer possible sources of plumbing leaks. Isn’t that amazing? The fewer connections still needed will be made using crimp fitting or cold expansion rings—no need for glue, which can leak into the water with PVC pipes.

Moreover, PEX pipe is lightweight, hence can be installed quickly compared to PVC. This can be done in both new home buildings and as replacement piping for a home’s general plumbing in sugar terrestrial. So, there is no doubt PEX offers an adaptable and effortless to use plumbing system.

PEX Is Compatible With Other Metal Pipes

When there is a need for a connection to copper or other metal pipes, PEX works better than PVC. This is because PEX won’t corrode; thus can last long without the need for replacement unless they are broken altogether. As a result, PEX is the best type of piping for any new house.

Freeze Resistance

PEX is resistant to freezing. This is because of its flexibility, which permits its diameter to expand as the water pressure changes. Hence, the chance to end up with burst pipes is limited. So, there is no doubt PEX provides an extra advantage over PVC rigid piping.

The PEX Connection Does Not Require The Clean And Glue Method

Unlike the PVC, the PEX does not require the complex clean and glue method for connection. It uses various more straightforward methods for its connection. The most common one uses a crimping tool to attach a copper crimp ring to a PEX brass fitting. This further gives PEX plumbing pipe an upper hand over PVC types. 

Quiet

PEX eliminates the noise of a water hammer.  While a water hammer is for all metals, PVC often produces some strange sounds.

Temperature Tolerance

Another crucial advantage of PEX is its capability of enduring extreme temperatures. So, it can be used to transport both cold and hot water.

ASTM does not approve PVC plumbing pipe above 14° degrees Fahrenheit; it will only be applicable for DWV piping. This indicates that PEX Piping can be used for many applications than PVC.

Safety

According to ANSI/NSF Standard 61, all PEX plumbing is certified to verify that they are safe for potable water. This ensures that the water used in homes and commercial buildings is safe for human use.

Other General Advantages

1. Acknowledged for water supply by all principal plumbing codes

2. Cost-effective for new installation given that it requires few fittings and provides an effortless installation than other pipe materials like PVC

3. PEX preserves energy with condensed heat transfer

4. With its shutoff valve at each supply line, there is no doubt it’s more convenient when plumbing repair is needed

5. Offers better resistance to chemicals usually founds in municipal water systems than other pipe materials

Disadvantages Of Using PEX Plumbing Pipe As Opposed To PVC:

PEX does have a few cons as well that include the following:  

UV Intolerance

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PEX is vulnerable to sunlight; hence cannot be used in outdoor applications. It is engineered for indoor-only, but if you have PEX piping connected outdoors, you will no longer situate it above ground. On the other hand, PVC is well suited for outdoor use, even above ground. This will be a significant disadvantage to users unless they are only planning to use PEX piping indoors.

PEX Cannot Be Recycled

PEX cannot be recycled, while PVC piping is accepted for recycling once its valuable life is over. This makes PEX piping non-environmentally friendly.  

Price

When you compare the material price of PEX and PVC, PEX comes out costly. So, if you are planning to use PEX piping, then be ready to spend more.

Other General Cons

1. The PEX can’t be directly connected to a water heater

2. Some types of PEX pipes affect the taste and odor of drinking water, especially if the water has stayed in the pipes for long

3. There are possible safety concerns linked to PEX piping

4. Its lifespan is shorter compared to PVC.

How Dangerous Is PVC?

PVC contains dangerous additives comprising lead, phthalates, organotin, and cadmium, which can be toxic to kids’ health. These poisonous additives can leak out or evaporates into the air with time, posing unnecessary dangers to children.

What Is The Advantage Of PEX Plumbing?

PEX plumbing is advantageous as it conserves energy well than copper as it does not transfer heat. Water also moves more efficiently and smoothly Via PEX than it does via copper. That’s why PEX is much quieter. Furthermore, PEX does not corrode like copper. This is quite crucial if you have acidic water.  

What Is A Good Substitute For PVC?

The following are a good substitute for PVC:

1. Tubing-free tubing from polyurethane or silicone is available for medical applications.

2. Bags- free bags constructed of polypropylene multilayer polyethylene or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) that are cost-effective

Can PVC Cause Cancer?

The inhalation of PVC powder could upsurge someone’s risk of liver damage or cancer. PVC has been linked to a rare type of liver cancer called hepatic angiosarcoma.  Lengthy exposure could as well result in a condition usually known as vinyl chloride disease.

Can Blue PEX Be Used For Hot Water?

Blue PEX pipes transport cold water. On the other hand, white PEX can be used to carry either hot or cold water. There would be no problem using blue PEX for hot water or red PEX for cold water lines. Other kinds of PEX comprise orange PEX-Aluminum-PEX and purple PEX for domestic water.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of PEX Plumbing?

According to long-term programs on PEX, it clear that it has a lifespan of more than 100 years. So, while the copper system might have to be overhaul every few years due to pinhole leaks and corrosions, a PEX system can last for decades.

What Are The Types Of PEX Piping?

PEX-A Pipes

Even though PEX-A Pipes are expensive to buy, this particular kind of plastic piping is the most malleable. It is very flexible, given that they are assembled with peroxide.  Many HVAC contractors and licensed plumbers usually recommend the use of PEX-A instead of PEX-B and PEX-C. This is because it can endure freezing temperatures and cold water during the winter season.

PEX-B Pipes

This kind of plastic piping is not suited for suburbs and cities with a considerable amount of chlorine in the drinking water. They are engineered to withstand weakening from minerals and minerals. The PEX-B water line is more rigid than PEX-A water lines. In terms of popularity, Type B of PEX is more popular than type A because it’s not expensive and flexible.

PEX-C Pipes

PEX-C pipes are the least flexible than other types and are intended to be used for houses in moderate climates.  Type C of PEX tubing is susceptible to cracks and holes during the winter season.

Comparison Table Of PEX Piping VS. PVC Piping:

 PVC (Schedule 40)PEX (Class A)
Pressure rating @ 73 degrees F100 PSI150 psi
Pressure rating @ 180 degrees FN/A100 PSI
Max service temperature140 degrees F200 degrees F
Softening Point (Vicat Test)250 degrees F255 degrees F
Melting Point360 degrees F270 degrees F
Thermal Expansion0.000028 in/in/degrees F0.000083 in/in/ degrees F
Tensile Strength @ 180 degrees F6500 lbs1806 lbs
Weight0.21 lbs/ft0.1 lbs/ft
Specific Gravity1.40.94
Life Expectancy75 to 100 years75 to 100 years
Corrosion ResistanceHighHigh
FlexibilitySlightHigh
Specific Heat0.25 Btu/lb degrees F0.55 Btu/lb degrees F

Conclusion

As you have seen, PEX piping has got advantages and disadvantages over PVC. It’s upon you to weigh and decided whether it’s right for you based on your needs.

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