Re PEX plastic piping for home usage.
Looked at several sites on, but still have a few basic questions, please:
a. Just how "popular" is this stuff ? When used, or specified ?
b. Compared to Copper piping for home usage, is it generally more
expensive or cheaper ? If more, why is it used (at all) ?
c. Good for hot as well as cold service ?
d. Would you use it in your home, or still prefer Copper ? Why ?
Pros and cons, etc. ?
BTW: what's most common in new homes these days that do use Copper;
type k, l, or m ? On "older" (e.g. 25-30 yr)homes ?
Very popular, particularly now that copper prices are very high and
contractors have figured out how to crimp the fittings properly. Being
flexible and in long rolls, PEX reduces the number of joints to
potentially leak, is faster and easier to install, and is cheaper.
It was more when it first came out, but contractors were starting to
adopt it due to the speed and ease of installation. With copper prices
today it is cheaper and you'll find few if any homebuilders using copper
unless it's some high end house and the owners insist on copper for some
Yes. Also used in radiant floor heating systems.
I would use it for new construction or any significant remodel. If I'm
just doing a repair or slight change to existing copper I'd stay with
Not many cons these days. In the early days the cons were expensive
crimping tools, and general lack of familiarity with PEX. Now there are
fairly cheap crimp tools available and PEX has been around long enough
for people to be familiar with it.
New today, if you can find anything new done in copper will probably be
M since it's the cheapest. Older installations will likely be L since
it's more durable, particularly in hard water areas. I doubt you'll find
K anywhere but commercial installations.
Don't settle for one data point:
Google it. Then you can decide if it's worth the risk.
At least with wiring you have various forms of circuit protection
(breakers, arc fault, etc). That usually doesn't happen in plumbing.
Yes it is a con for PEX, since rodents tend not to chew through copper
pipe, by comparison.
Softness in the face of rodent teeth is a problem.
but you don't avoid pex because you have rodents... you get rid of the
friggin rodents... the key here is prioritization.
Good thing about your rodents [apparently] is-- They show up at your
house one day and announce themselves. "I'm about to destroy
whatever you have that will make my presence most unwelcome. Kill
me now- or I'll start eating your PEX."
Mine just show up and eat something. Then I kill them.
Evidently it's a lot cheaper. Otherwise it wouldn't be used.
Personally, I hate the stuff. I'd rather sweat copper than mess with
it. I have it in this house and hate the stuff.
Small jobs are a PITA, compared to copper.
My bet is 'k', only because of cost. I'd use 'l', but only because
the cost of materials isn't my primary motivator. Labor is a far
bigger issue and the labor is the same. I'm using 'l' for air in the
garage and shop.
Now you got me thinking... I just checked the stuff I'm using. It's
marked "Type 1/2" L" in blue. IIRC the cheaper red stuff is type K.
The box stores sell a *lot* of it because it is somewhat cheaper. Do
I have that backwards?
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