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Is Pex Piping A Good Alternative To Copper Pipes?

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    Posted: 08 Feb 2017 at 11:59am
These days, the most common material used for new plumbing applications in homes water supply is the plastic pex material pipes. Pex will soon become the dominate material used to deliver drinking water to homes and businesses in Canada. Pex is also referred to as Polyethylene. Though steel pipes and copper pipes are still in existence, it seems most of the plumbing industry demand nowadays is for plastic pipes (like pex tubing) and there are a lot of reasons why. Health is one big issue; pex can have a better effect than compared to copper pipes, steel or iron pipes. But the question is, is pex tubing a good alternative to copper pipes?

Yes, steel, iron and copper pipes are stronger than plastic, but steel is prone to corrosion and rusting, iron is just not acceptable for drinking purposes, while copper wears thin over time, can oxidize and need replacing every several years. Plumbing systems within Canada in the 1950s and 1960s that used metal and copper pipes can still be found today in older areas, but the level of repair needed for them have become more troublesome, and in many cases, much more expensive, that it leads to house owner’s and business owner's decision to simply replace the system with new and cost efficient water pipes where ever possible.  

Because the price of materials like copper has increased dramatically in recent years, there is also an increase of theft of copper pipes and valuable material piping. With the demand for metal increasing over the years, it is not impossible to think why these copper and metal pipes are being broken down and stolen to be sold to scrap buyers and metal factories. Plastic pex piping is safe from theft because it doesn't have much monetary value in the market in terms of scrap metal. It is easily replaceable in any case, and it is far cheaper to produce for commercial purposes. 

Cost is one of the most important factors in the question above. Of course, metals like copper are expensive, which is the reason why it is also stolen in the first place. Building a new house with pex pipes for the plumbing water system can be 50% to 60 cheaper on piping materials as compared to using copper pipes. That alone will tell you why plumbing contractors prefer using pex as opposed to copper and other valuable material pipes.

One of the reasons licensed plumbers love using pex is the flexibility and easier installation for licensed plumbers. Remember when doing repairs or installations, you sometimes need to make instantaneous decisions like making bends and turns in the piping system and which way to route the piping if an alternative measure must be found. For pex, they can simply shape and bend the pipes to where you want it. There can also be many less fittings involved using pex tubing. This is next to impossible when using copper pipes, which involves fittings, cutting piping, cleaning, acid flux paste, soldering and open flame torches. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to use copper pipes on a project. Job time is a whole lot faster when using pex water pipes as opposed to copper. But of course, when talking about durability, as long as you don’t expose plastic piping to extreme conditions (like ice and heat), then these pipes can also last for a very long time and maybe even longer than copper type L in some cases. Pex has been said to be able to last up to 50 years, but some manufactures only offer warranty for up to 25 years. 

LicensedPlumbers.CA is highly experienced in pex tubing applications. We have done many projects using pex involving delivering drinking water to new custom homes, bathroom renovations and repairs. Call us and we will be happy to help with all your Mississauga plumbing needs.

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