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Common plumbing term explained by Oakland CA plumbers: Cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX

PEX is made with high-density polyethylene with cross-linked bonds. Extremely flexible and durable, PEX is commonly used in building construction for water pipe and radiant heat pipe. The synthetic material is also used in hip replacements and other artificial joints, dental composite fillings, kayaks and automotive air ducts.

Question and answer courtesy of Oakland plumbing company: If PEX pipes are not soldered together and do not use glue to attach to fittings, how are they joined or connected?

One of the top advantages of PEX pipes is a flexibility that allows it to move in many directions without need for joints. When PEX pipes need to be joined or connected, installers use either compression fittings made with an adjustable wrench or crimped connections created with a special crimping tool. Manifold distribution fixtures also allow PEX pipes to connect directly to the main water supply.

Oakland Plumbing: Article About Pros and Cons Of PEX

Berkeley Plumbing and Heating: Professional Oakland CA Plumbing

If you are remodeling your home, building a new one or replacing faulty pipes, your experienced Oakland plumbing contractor may give you a choice of traditional copper or newly approved PEX pipes. Although controversial in its early days, this cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, tubing offers a few advantages over copper pipes. It also comes with a few issues, so understanding the pros and cons of PEX pipes can be helpful in making a decision that is right for your family, home and environment.

Today, thermoset plastic PEX tubing is widely used in a variety of applications from plumbing systems to chemical and sewage transportation. The flexible synthetic tubing is well-suited to indoor plumbing and able to make wide-radius and short-radius turns without the need for the elbow joints that PVC or copper pipe would require. Its flexibility is one of its strongest selling points, providing easier installation and handling.

For budget-focused homeowners, PEX has the biggest advantage, costing about a quarter of the price of copper pipes and other alternatives. When you are considering completely revamping a plumbing system or installing an entirely new one, the cost savings of PEX tubing is significant.

Installation of PEX is also much quicker than with traditional materials. In addition to its much-vaunted flexibility, PEX does not require the use of soldering torches to connect pipes and does not need glue to bind pipe to fittings. The elimination of fire hazard-laden torches and chemical-smelling glues, creates a more pleasant and safe installation.

In addition to these notable advantages, PEX generally uses fewer connections, doesn’t corrode, is resistant to acid, provides better water pressure to faucets and shower heads, can be used for hot and cold pipes, resists freezing better than copper, and is expected to last about 50 years.

The plumbing experts at Berkeley Plumbing and Heating of Oakland CA can assist with any questions regarding heating repair or radiant heating.

In spite of these many benefits, California was slow to approve the use of PEX tubing because of health and environmental concerns. As a result of its misgivings, the state places some restrictions on the use of PEX to alleviate or lessen some of the issues.

Some PEX pipes laid in soil are vulnerable to contaminants like oil, benzene and pesticides that can cross into the pipe from the soil, affecting the water that flows through the pipes. To prevent contaminants from leaching into the pipes from surrounding soil, California requires that impermeable sleeves be wrapped around underground PEX pipes used for potable water.

During its initial uses, thermoset PEX pipes may also leach chemicals from the pipes into the water they transport. This leaching potentially contaminates water intended for drinking and household use. To prevent the possible chemical transfer to potable water, professional plumbers in California follow a rigorous process of flushing the entire system twice over a week-long period.

PEX also degrades quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. To mitigate this problem for California homeowners, the state requires that PEX pipes used in local construction must carry a UV protection of at least 30 days.

Choosing the type of pipes that will work best in your home depends on a number of factors, but PEX is a viable option for many local homeowners. Talk with your reliable plumbing contractor about the pipe material that will work best in your home before you make a final decision.

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For commercial and residential services and products for your plumbing, heating, or cooling needs, contact us via the below form or call (510) 841-0883.