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Many older homes rely on copper plumbing or galvanized steel plumbing. However, many newer homes are looking at more efficient and cost-effective alternatives. PEX, also known as cross-linked polyethylene, is a revolutionary type of plastic material used for plumbing. Many plumbers recommend this type of plumbing for new homes because it comes with a plethora of advantages that traditional plumbing simply cannot provide.
If you’re considering repaving your entire home or if you need to replace certain sections of the plumbing, you should highly consider opting for PEX plumbing. Our plumbers can walk you through the advantages and drawbacks of this decision, and can help you come up with a design that will best suit your home. We’ve come up with this comprehensive guide to provide you with more details on what to expect.
The Three Different Types of PEX Plumbing
Not all PEX plumbing is the same. In fact, there are many different types of PEX plumbing out there. Understanding the unique features, advantages and drawbacks of each one can help you and your Chattanooga, TN plumber make a better decision on what is best suited for your home. I’ll take a look at the different types of PEX plumbing below.
Regardless of the type of plumbing that you choose, you should aim to stick with the same manufacturer if possible for all of the components. If you mix different pipes and fittings from various manufacturers, it may affect your warranty. It could also add some frustration to the installation process and make it a lot more complicated than it has to be. If you go with just one brand, you can rest assured that the warranty will not be affected.
If you’re unsure of which manufacturer to go with, speak with one of our plumbers. They’ll be able to give you some recommendations based on their own experiences. They’ll let you know whether any other homeowners have run into any problems with certain brands down the road. Our professionals can also tell you how likely the plumbing is going to break down and whether there are any other issues that you need to be aware of.
Type #1: PEX-a Pipes
Manufactured using the “Engel” method, PEX-a pipes are also referred to as hot cross linking plumbing. This is because the polyethylene molecules in the plumbing are linked during the extrusion process when the polyethylene has reached a temperature above its melting point. This method was invented by a German inventor known as Dr. Thomas Engel.
PEX-a plumbing tends to be a lot more durable than the other types of pecks plumbing available. This is because the method of construction creates the highest degree of cross-linking. It’s about 85%. The crosslinking creates a structure that is much more flexible than other alternatives. It is able to create a very tight bend.
PEX-a plumbing also offers a very unique thermal and elastic memory, which basically means that the integrity of the pipes is better as it undergoes freeze and thaw cycles. It also means that this type of plumbing is easier to repair, as you can usually fix kinks with just a heat gun. No other type of PEX plumbing offers this advantage.
Type #2: PEX-b Pipes
Next up, we have PEX-b pipes. Instead of getting crosslinked at the peak of the extrusion process, this type of plumbing is crosslinked after the extrusion process has been completed. Manufacturers will place the pipe in a steam sauna or in some type of hot water bath, which will result in a crosslinking percentage that ranges from 65 to 70. The crosslinks are not as evenly distributed as with PEX-a pipes, so PEX-b pipes tend to be a lot stiffer. They’re not as ideal for tight spaces.
This type of plumbing usually works best with insert fittings that rely on stainless steel clamp rings to hold the fitting in place. Push-to-connect fittings are not as recommended for PEX-b pipes, as they can blow off if they are placed in high-pressure situations.
A drawback of this type of plumbing is that it doesn’t have the same degree of thermal memory as PEX-a pipes. This means that you won’t be able to repair kinks with just a heat gun. You’ll likely need to cut out the damaged part of the plumbing and install a coupling instead. This means that the repair process usually takes longer and is more costly.
Another thing to note is that PEX-b pipes aren’t a great choice in situations where there will be a lot of expansion. As PEX-b pipes tend to be stiffer, high-pressure situations can easily create tiny cracks when the walls are getting expanded. This can compromise the integrity and shape of the fitting connection.
Type #3: PEX-c Pipes
PEX-c pipes are a bit different from PEX-a and PEX-b pipes because of the way that it’s made. It feels much more interesting in comparison to the two different types above. PEX-c pipes uses an electron beam to change the overall molecular structure of the plumbing after it has already gone through the extrusion process.
This electron beam isn’t as effective as creating crosslinks. Only about 70% to 75% of the material will undergo crosslinking. While this type of material has many advantages, it’s important to note that some of the side effects include discoloration from oxidation and a slightly stiffer material integrity. It does offer more crosslinking than PEX-b pipes.
This type of PEX plumbing is not as sturdy when used in joint connections and cannot be repaired with a heat gun like PEX-a plumbing. However, it is often much more affordable, and you can usually find it a great price. If you’re looking for something that will fit a certain budget, this is the type of plumbing that will often get the job done. Best of all, it’s really easy to find this material in Chattanooga, TN.
Installing PEX Plumbing in Your Home in Chattanooga, TN
If you are interested in any of the different types of PEX plumbing listed above, you’ll need to consider the different standards, codes and listings that are associated with the different types. These standards and codes will ensure that the PEX plumbing is installed properly, and the most common standard that you need to look at is the ASTM F876 Standard Specification for Crosslinked Polyethylene (PEX) Tubing. This standard covers the test methods and marking methods for PEX components.
Most homeowners won’t have the technical know-how to decipher all of this information, which is why it is important to hire a reputable plumber who knows what they’re doing.
Another important thing to note is that while PEX plumbing is approved in all of the national and local plumbing and mechanical codes, it isn’t a plumbing type that is allowed in all jurisdictions. By working with a plumber, you’ll know what the requirements are.
Some Benefits of PEX Plumbing
The reason why PEX plumbing is so popular is because it is able to offer many advantages that traditional plumbing material simply cannot. Understanding the advantages and drawbacks of this material can help you decide whether this is the right material for you. Our plumbers can also take a look at the plumbing system and design in your home to see how PEX plumbing will fit in.
Let’s explore several of these benefits below. Our plumbers can walk you through other benefits that PEX plumbing can offer. There’s a reason why this is one of the most popular types of plumbing material in Chattanooga, TN.
#1. Ease of Installation
The biggest advantage of PEX plumbing is that PEX pipes are incredibly fixable. They can be used in one long, continuous run with ease. You can also bend these pipes without any problem, so these types of plumbing are really good for tight areas. The plumber will have no problem installing this type of plumbing in small spaces. It can make a 90-degree turn with ease!s
This means that this type of plumbing can be used in many different scenarios and is very versatile. In addition to being incredibly flexible, PEX plumbing is very easy to install because they are easy to cut enjoying together. Your plumbers can get the job done within a day using a combination of barbed fittings and cinch clamps or crimping rings. No soldering or glueing is necessary at all. The installation process is quick, simple and easy.
In comparison to many other types of plumbing, like copper plumbing, PEX plumbing is incredibly affordable. You’ll save a lot of money on your plumbing jobs if you switch to this type of plumbing. On top of that, most plumbers can get you an even better deal if you’re going to be ordering a lot of these pipes.
In general, you can expect to pay about $30 per 100 feet of PEX plumbing. Our plumbers can help you find the best deal available on the market!
One thing about PEX plumbing is that it is both rust and corrosion resistant. This means that you’ll get a much longer usage out of PEX plumbing than any other type of plumbing material. You’re less likely to need to call a plumber to perform maintenance and other repairs. In a sense, PEX plumbing will pay for itself over time.
In general, the only time that you’ll need to call for plumbing repairs is if the PEX plumbing is broken somehow. If that happens, most plumbers can easily repair the plumbing with ease, as they can easily cut off the damaged areas and replace it with new material.
Drawbacks to Consider
Although PEX plumbing comes with many advantages, there are some drawbacks that you have to consider. With that said these drawbacks aren’t usually too much of an issue, and our plumbers will usually be able to find a solution for them. Also, our plumbers can help you figure out how these drawbacks affect you.
The main drawbacks of PEX plumbing is that it can be used indoors only. Because PEX plumbing is a type of plastic, it is vulnerable to the sun’s rays. It can be damaged by UV rays with time. This is why it is not recommended for outdoor use as all. This usually isn’t a problem for most homeowners as they plan on using packs coming indoors only.
The second drawback of this material is that some homeowners claim that the material can have a possible effect on the taste and odor of the water that comes out of the top. However, Studies that this effect does not have any impact on one’s health. PEX plumbing is completely safe for residential homes and for human use. It’s important to know that not everyone has noticed these changes. There are just as many homeowners who claim that PEX plumbing had no effect on the taste and odor of the water that comes out of the tap.
Call Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air a Call for More Information on PEX Plumbing
If you are even mildly interested in PEX plumbing, give Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air a call for more information. Our plumbers will listen to your problem and figure out whether this type of plumbing can solve all of your problems. If you’re looking to re-pipe your entire home, this type of plumbing may actually improve the resale value of your home. It could also save you from a lot of headaches and troubles down the road.
In order to know whether this type of plumbing is an ideal choice for your home, you need to learn more about the different types of plumbing and the drawbacks and advantages that each type can offer. Our plumbers are dedicated in helping you find a solution that works for your home. They are licensed, trained and insured. They can help you guide you through making this decision.
It’s always a good idea to have a professional plumber on your side to give you the advice that you need!