The Lowdown on PEX Plumbing

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PEX plumbing, or cross-linked polyethylene piping, has become a popular choice for both residential and commercial plumbing systems. Known for its flexibility, durability, and ease of installation, PEX piping offers a range of benefits over traditional plumbing materials like copper and PVC. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the advantages of PEX plumbing, discuss common concerns, and explore its lifespan and applications.

What is PEX Plumbing?

PEX plumbing involves the use of PEX piping, a type of plastic tubing made from high-density polyethylene. This material undergoes a cross-linking process that enhances its strength and flexibility. PEX plumbing pipe is used for water supply lines, radiant heating systems, and even for snow melting systems.

Advantages of PEX Plumbing

1. Flexibility and Ease of Installation

One of the primary benefits of PEX plumbing is its flexibility. PEX lines can bend around corners and obstacles without the need for additional fittings, making the installation process simpler and faster. This flexibility also reduces the risk of leaks at connection points.

2. Durability and Resistance to Corrosion

PEX piping is highly resistant to corrosion and scale build-up, which are common issues with metal pipes. This resistance ensures a longer lifespan and reduces the need for frequent maintenance.

3. Cost-Effective

The material cost of PEX plumbing pipe is generally lower than that of copper pipes. Additionally, the ease of installation can significantly reduce labor costs.

4. Freeze Resistance

PEX lines can expand and contract with temperature changes, making them more resistant to bursting in freezing conditions compared to rigid pipes. While this isn’t a major concern here in Arizona, it can be in other parts of the country.

Common Concerns About PEX Plumbing

Despite its many advantages, some homeowners and professionals raise concerns about PEX plumbing. Let’s address some of the common questions and misconceptions:

Why is PEX Plumbing Bad?

This question often arises due to misunderstandings or isolated issues with early versions of PEX plumbing. Initially, some PEX pipes were susceptible to degradation when exposed to UV light. However, modern PEX piping has been improved to resist such issues. Additionally, some people worry about chemical leaching, but studies have shown that PEX pipes meet stringent health and safety standards.

Where is PEX Not Allowed?

PEX plumbing is approved for use in most building codes across the United States. However, it’s essential to check local building codes and regulations, as some areas may have specific restrictions or requirements for its use. For instance, certain municipalities might require a professional plumber to handle PEX installations.

Lifespan of PEX Plumbing

One of the critical factors in choosing a plumbing material is its lifespan. So, how long does PEX last? Under normal conditions, PEX piping can last over 50 years. Its durability against chemical corrosion, flexibility to withstand freezing conditions, and resistance to scale build-up contribute to its long lifespan.

The longevity of PEX pipes can vary based on factors such as water quality, installation practices, and exposure to extreme temperatures. However, with proper installation and maintenance, PEX plumbing pipe is designed to provide reliable service for several decades.

Applications of PEX Plumbing

Water Supply Lines

PEX is extensively used for hot and cold water supply lines due to its flexibility and durability. The color-coded (red for hot, blue for cold) tubing makes it easy to identify and install.

Radiant Heating Systems

PEX piping is a preferred choice for radiant floor heating systems. Its flexibility allows it to be installed in continuous loops under flooring, providing even and efficient heating.

Snow Melting Systems

For outdoor applications like driveways and walkways in colder climates outside of Arizona, PEX pipes can be used in snow melting systems to prevent ice buildup and ensure safety during winter months.

Considerations for Installing PEX Plumbing

Professional Installation

While PEX plumbing is relatively easy to install, hiring a professional plumber ensures that the job is done correctly and meets local building codes. Professionals have the tools and expertise to handle potential challenges and ensure a leak-free system.

Avoiding UV Exposure

PEX piping should not be exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods, as UV rays can degrade the material over time. When installing PEX lines in areas with potential sunlight exposure, it’s crucial to use proper insulation or coverings.

Compatibility with Fittings

PEX pipes require specific fittings and connectors, such as crimp rings or push-fit fittings. Ensuring compatibility with these components is essential for a secure and efficient plumbing system.


PEX plumbing offers a versatile, durable, and cost-effective solution for modern plumbing systems. Its flexibility, resistance to corrosion, and ease of installation make it an excellent choice for various applications, from water supply lines to radiant heating systems. While it’s essential to address common concerns and ensure proper installation, the benefits of PEX plumbing far outweigh any potential drawbacks.

For reliable PEX plumbing installation and maintenance, trust the experts at Zippity Split Plumbing. Our experienced plumbers are well-versed in the latest PEX technologies and can ensure a hassle-free and long-lasting plumbing system for your home. Contact us today for all your plumbing needs!

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