Replace water line from street to house -- PEX or copper?

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Our water line from the township's shutoff to the house* is polyethylene and has sprung a leak. The quote to replace it with PEX is $1475; copper would be about $500 more.
The plumber said PEX should be good for 20 years or more; the guy from the township who came to shut off the water said they still use copper.
Any informed opinions here about which we should choose?
*Actually about 6ft from the house: that much of the poly pipe was replaced by copper about six years ago when we had water trickling down the inside of our basement wall.
Perce
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On 4/7/2014 2:46 PM, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

PEX should last longer than that.
The reason the town is using copper is because they have deep pockets (yours) and "we always did i that way" mentality.
I'd go with PEX and use the $500 difference for something else.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

When they were constructing golf course in front of my house down the bank, I saw they only used PEX(may be industrial heavy duty type?) for irrigation.
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I expect the reason why the town is still using copper is because their workers are familiar with copper and know what to do with it.
Every time you introduce something new somewhere, someone somehow is going to do it wrong or screw it up some way. As long as the town sticks with what everyone knows, then they have a minimum number of callbacks.
A $500 incremental cost to use copper may not be unreasonable. For underground pipe installations, my understanding is that the plumbing code requires that Type K copper pipe be used, and that's the pipe with the thickest wall, so it's the most expensive. Combine that with a 100 foot long driveway and I could see the incremental price getting way up there.
Still, it wouldn't do any harm to get another estimate or two.
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On Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:46:42 -0400, "Percival P. Cassidy"

Why not stick with black poly? Can't the leaking spot be repaired? I would guess that the leak is at a fitting that can just be replaced.
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On 04/07/14 04:12 pm, CRNG wrote:

The pipe is 5ft deep, so I don't see repairing it myself. The township guy who came to shut off the water said that some people do just patch but often end up having to redo it every couple of years.
Perce
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On Monday, April 7, 2014 4:12:45 PM UTC-4, CRNG wrote:

For what it's worth, here in the NJ suburbs they've been using the black poly for decades as the preferred method. It's lasted 30 years here in my house, IDK of any neighbors with any problems and it;s all that I see going into new construction. I wonder if this was a bad lot, some cheap crap, etc. I'd have no issues using it today.
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On 4/7/2014 4:12 PM, CRNG wrote:

you'll be forever patching. Pex is good for 30 to 50 years.
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On Monday, April 7, 2014 8:33:44 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

And your reference that poly won't last a similar amount of time is? It's been on my house, all my neighbors houses for 30 years now and I haven't heard of a single failure. If it doesn't perform well, rather odd it's still approved and used. And I'd also point out that you're comparing something that is relatively new, ie PEX, to something that has been widely used for 30+ years. There have been other new plumbing materials that were thought to be great ideas, where after a couple decades of use, they turned out to have major problems. I'm not saying that PEX wouldn't be perfectly fine, just that until it's been in that kind of application for 30 years, I don't think you have the data that shows it's any better.
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On 04/08/14 08:35 am, trader_4 wrote:

The township guy who cam to shut off the water said they do a couple of these a week. Our neighbor one side already had the same problem a few years ago.
Perhaps there was a problem with the particular grade of polyethylene pipe that was being used at the time.
Anyway, we were not offered the option of using polyethylene: PEX or copper were the choices, and we're going with PEX.
Perce
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On 4/8/2014 8:35 AM, trader_4 wrote:

It is already deteriorating in the OP's water line. Patching it is only a temporary fix.

It has been in use for over 40 years now. Pretty well proven. It is not relatively new IMO, but well established.
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On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:03:20 AM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I didn't say to patch it. I said I don't see anything wrong with using black poly in that application. Just because he's having problems doesn't mean much. If he had problems with PEX, would that make all PEC bad? God knows who made the poly. It could have been a bad lot, bad manufacturer, etc.

PEX tubing sure hasn't been used around here for anywhere near that long. It's only showed up in about the last decade and for water service to the house, I see black poly in new construction. The new construction I've seen isn't using PEX for anything, either. Also, I believe PEX wasn't even allowed by code in some places, eg CA until a few years ago. I'm not saying anything is wrong with PEX. If I was the OP, I'd probably use it too. I'm only saying that I haven't seen any real data that says poly is no good for this application, that PEX is going to last longer, etc. Some failures of any piping in one area, don't really prove anything, unless the actual cause is determined.
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On 4/7/2014 2:46 PM, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

I had to replace my copper line a couple of years ago. The pipe had been in the ground for at least 40 years but from its looks it could have been from an Egyptian archeological dig. The original 3/4" pipe seems to have been an early type K but the walls were down to paper thickness in spots. This seems to have been caused by chemical erosion inside and outside as well as physical damage to the outside from minute soil movements and abrasion. New type K coated for direct burial would have probably held up better than the old pipe but my plumber said that PEX was the way to go and that nobody locally was using copper any more, there being no code requirements either way.
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Oren wrote:

Why not use galvanized steel pipe from the street into the house?
Isin't Pex made with aluminum tubing with some sort of blue plastic liner on the inside and outside?
I hooked up a small electric water heater using pex about 8 years ago, hooked it into what was a hot/cold faucet in a janitor's closet. Used pex to supply hot/cold water to a nearby kitchen sink. So I can see all the pex lines, and the pex is holding up without leaking.
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On Monday, April 7, 2014 7:39:50 PM UTC-4, Home!Guy wrote:

Because everyone stopped using that 40 years ago because there are much better solutions that don't rust, corrode and fail? Is this a test?
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Home!Guy;3219728 Wrote: >

No don't use galvanized steel. It rusts, and that's why people with galvanized steel water supply piping spend big bucks to replace it with either copper or PEX.
The only time galvanized steel will outlast grandma is when you use it for the piping of a hot water heating system. But, in that situation, all the oxygen dissolved in the water is either driven out of solution by the heat or reacts to form rust in the hottest spot, which is the boiler. All the hardness ions form scale in the hottest parts of the heating system, which is the boiler itself. So, the vast majority of the time, the water flowing in those galvanized steel pipes will be both oxygen depleted and ionically dead. The iron doesn't rust because there's no oxygen to form Fe3O4, and the pipes don't cake up with scale on the inside because all the scale forms in the boiler. So, in a hot water heating system is about the only time you wanna use steel water piping. I once had to replace one of my steel water pipes going to a radiator, and after about 40 years in service, the thing looked like a brand new steel pipe on the inside. No corrosion or scale at all.
PEX actually stands for PolyEthylene (Crosslinked). So, polyethylene is a very strong hydrocarbon chain, and crosslinked polyethylene has crosslinks between the hydrocarbon chains to increase the strength and rigidity of the plastic. There's no aluminum involved. The PEX tubing gets crimped onto special PEX fittings with a special crimping tool, so plumbing repairs can be done even when there's water leaking in the pipe, which is a great blessing.
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Per Oren:

The state parks around here use some sort of white plastic for their water pipes. Dunno if it's "PEX", but it makes the water taste quite bad - borderline undrinkable.
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How do you know it's the pipe material that makes it taste bad?
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On Tue, 8 Apr 2014 01:51:56 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

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nestork wrote:

Um...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-linked_polyethylene#PEX-AL-PEX
=========PEX-AL-PEX pipes, or AluPEX, or PEX/Aluminum/PEX, are made of a layer of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of PEX. The metal layer serves as an oxygen barrier, stopping the oxygen diffusion through the polymer matrix, so it cannot dissolve into the water in the tube and corrode the metal components of the system.[26] The aluminium layer is thin, typically 1 or 2 mm, and provides some rigidity to the tube such that when bent it retains the shape formed (normal PEX tube will spring back to straight). The aluminium layer also provides additional structural rigidity such that the tube will be suitable for higher safe operating temperatures and pressures. ========== That's the pex I worked with 8 years ago for a small plumbing project.
So in my mind, pex is always an alumimum pipe sandwiched between two plastic layers.
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