Have your old pipes suddenly started leaking and you’re confronted with the obvious PEX vs Copper repiping debate? Well, most homeowners, except for plumbers, have no idea how to answer that question. Don’t worry. We have put together this handy guide to help you understand the pros and cons of both pex and copper pipes. So keep reading and by the time you are done, you should know if you want to use pex vs copper pipes in your home.
What’s the difference between pex vs copper pipes?
For those non-plumbers, pex and copper piping are both viable choices for your home. It isn’t that one is really better than the other. They just have different pros and cons to choosing them. So to get started, let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
Pex pipe is made of a flexible material. They are easy to bend and install in tricky areas, like crawlspaces and corners. Most plumbers prefer to work with pex pipes for this reason. These pipes come in a variety of sizes, from ¼-inch to 4-inch. The flexible pipes are constructed from polyethylene that is cross-linked to make it flexible.
Copper piping has been the norm for most home plumbing for years. It tends to last for years with very little maintenance needed. But copper pipes are not flexible and can be difficult and time-consuming to install in small spaces, such as under homes with no basements. So the difference between pex and copper mainly comes down to ease of installation.
Pros of using pex vs copper pipes
- Pex piping works with hot and cold water.
- It has fewer joints so the cost of your repiping project is lowered.
- If you live in regions with extremely cold temperatures, pex piping is less likely to crack or break.
- There is a shut-off valve located at all the supply lines, this feature is handy when it comes time for repairs.
- Pex pipes weight less than copper pipes and are stored on large spools, so your shipping and handling costs are much lower.
- Due to its flexibility, these pipes do not require elbow fittings.
- The pipes are safer for plumbers to install since they have no need for a torch in order to make connections.
- Pex is more efficient when it comes to maintaining heat inside the pipes.
Pex pipes are advantageous when it comes to your repiping project. But copper pipes have advantages of their own.
Pros of using copper pipes
- Copper pipes come in both soft and rigid forms and have trusted by plumbers for years.
- They work for both tap water and with home HVAC systems.
- Soft copper is a good choice for heat pumps and air conditions.
- Rigid copper tends to be used mainly for water lines since it can stand the heat better than soft copper pipes.
- Manufacturers include a 50-year warrantee making for a long copper pipe lifespan.
- Copper is eco-friendly and can be recycled.
- Copper pipes are color-coded, blue for cold and red for hot.
- The fittings for copper pipes are virtually leak proof.
- In the cases of a house fire, copper does not create toxic gases.
- Copper is ideal for pipes that run outside of the home as ultraviolet rays won’t affect it.
So, we have shown you the pros of both pex and copper pipes. But to make sure you are well informed before making a decision, we need to examine the cons of both types of pipes.
Cons of pex piping
- Pex is not suitable for outdoor use.
- Since the material used to make pex is not impassable, water damage can occur.
- If pex pipes need to be replaced, you cannot recycle the old pipes.
Cons of using copper pipes
- Over time, copper can corrode.
- In areas that experience extreme cold, copper pipes can freeze and burst.
- It is more expensive than pex pipes.
Now you have the pros and cons of pex vs. copper pipes. Which type you use is entirely up to you. If you are repiping your home yourself, then pex is a better option. If you decide you want to go with copper, it would be best to let a professional handle that job for you.