Most homes, particularly older homes, have metal pipes for plumbing in brass, copper, galvanized steel, and/or cast-iron. These durable, dependable materials have usable lifespans that vary from 50 years for copper to about 80 years or more for cast-iron sewage pipes. Unfortunately, none of these materials last forever. If age, leaks, or decay have indicated that it’s time to replace some pipes, you may want to consider upgrading your system with new materials.
Check out these five solid reasons to replace your metal pipes with PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipes.
PEX is inexpensive
PEX is significantly less expensive than copper pipes, yet affords a similar and often longer lifespan than metal materials. You’ll also save in labor costs since PEX is easier to install than metal plumbing, requiring less soldering and fewer fittings and connections.
PEX Plays Well With Others
Not every homeowner needs their entire plumbing system redone. Old plumbing systems are often a combination of materials. Maybe you just need a portion of your plumbing re-piped, like a length of rusty galvanized steel, or a burst copper pipe that leads to the outside faucet.
In such a case, PEX is the perfect alternative. PEX piping, being man-made, is manufactured for multiple purposes. It comes in a variety of diameters and with a multiplicity of fittings so that it can be easily joined to existing copper or other pipes.
PEX Is Flexible
In metal piping, elbow joints are weak points susceptible to leaks, so the fewer you have in your plumbing system, the better. PEX is a plastic material designed to be dense, strong, and flexibly-molded, so pipes can be manufactured to include bends to fit a wide-radius turn. Furthermore, these pipes can be produced in one full length that can go from the source to point-of-use without the need to connect two pipes mid-route.
PEX Is Corrosion-Resistant
Metal pipes exposed to water and air are by nature susceptible to corrosion, even resistant copper pipes. But PEX, being a plastic polymer, won’t succumb to the same corrosive chemistry.
PEX Is Less Likely To Burst
Pipes bursting is a common reason why many homeowners replace their plumbing. When water expands in a pipe close to an outside wall, or otherwise exposed to freezing weather, the pressure on a copper pipe causes it to tear, while the pressure on a PVC pipe makes it shatter. PEX pipes, due to their strength and flexibility, are less likely to burst.
Unsure how your household plumbing is holding up? Call your local plumber and ask for a whole-house pipe inspection. Forewarned is forearmed.