PEX or Cross-Linked Polyethylene tubing has become more widely used over the last few years. It is becoming a strong choice for both remodeling projects and new construction. Due to the flexible nature of the tubing and ease of connections, PEX tubing reduces the cost of plumbing installation. There are a few issues that users need to be aware of:
- PEX plumbing tubing is impermeable. This means that oxygen cannot penetrate the tubing, greatly reducing the potential for chemical reactions including corrosion. However, the right type of tubing should be used for radiant heating applications. PEX-AL-PEX is recommended.
- The polyethylene in PEX tubing does not percolate into water. Some chemicals, such as phthalate that filter from plastic, can leak into water systems. This occurs in standing water conditions. Water used in re-circulating heating systems should not be used for drinking water.
- PEX tubing must be installed correctly. Improper connections will leak and this can become costly.
- PEX piping is well known for its flexibility and features, but dangers can come from the types of fittings used. The more copper or brass involved, the more risk of corrosion and build up in the system. Lead solder should never be used in making any plumbing connections.
- Oxygen Barrier PEX pipes must be protected from UV (Ultra Violet) rays of the sun. It is not designed for exposed outdoor use and should not be stored outside for any length of time. UV rays will damage the strength of the material.
PEX is regarded as a very safe product and is used in many domestic and commercial areas. It is cheaper and easier to install than copper plumbing. PEX is also not as susceptible to freezing temperatures and resists bursting.
By avoiding the issues mentioned, PEX plumbing is very safe for installation. It is important to hire a professional plumber who has full knowledge about PEX installation, repairs and other factors related to PEX plumbing systems.