PEX (Cross-linked polyethylene) plumbing is a type of plastic piping that is commonly used in residential and commercial plumbing systems. While PEX has many advantages, such as being flexible, durable, and resistant to corrosion, there are also some concerns and criticisms about its use.
One of the main criticisms of PEX plumbing is that it is not as durable as other types of piping, such as copper. PEX can become brittle over time, especially if it is exposed to UV light or high temperatures. This can lead to cracks and leaks, which can be difficult and costly to repair. Additionally, PEX piping is not recommended for use in areas that are prone to freezing temperatures, as it can become damaged if the water inside the pipes freezes.
Another criticism of PEX plumbing is that it can release harmful chemicals into the water supply. PEX piping is made from a type of plastic that contains a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA), which can leach into the water supply over time. Some studies have suggested that BPA can be harmful to human health, particularly for children and pregnant women.
PEX plumbing is also not suitable for outdoor use, as it can become brittle and crack in the sun, temperature changes, and other environmental factors. There are special PEX pipes that are UV resistant, but they are not commonly available and can be costly.
Another concern of PEX plumbing is its compatibility with existing systems. PEX pipes are not compatible with older type of fittings and require special fittings, also if you have to replace a section of the pipe, you have to replace all the fittings as well.
In addition, PEX is not suitable for hot water recirculation systems, which are becoming more common in modern homes. These systems rely on copper pipes to efficiently transfer hot water from the water heater to the fixtures, and PEX is not able to withstand the high temperatures required for this application.
In conclusion, PEX plumbing has its own advantages and disadvantages. While PEX is flexible, durable, and resistant to corrosion, it is not as durable as other types of piping, can become brittle over time, especially if it is exposed to UV light or high temperatures, and can release harmful chemicals into the water supply. It’s not suitable for outdoor use, and its compatibility with existing systems and hot water recirculation systems is also a concern. It’s important to consider these factors when deciding whether to use PEX plumbing in your home or building.
Another concern is that PEX plumbing is not as easy to repair as other types of piping. PEX is typically joined together using special fittings and crimping tools, which can be difficult and time-consuming to use. This can make repairs more challenging and costly, especially for plumbers who are not familiar with working with PEX.
Additionally, PEX plumbing is more difficult to inspect than other types of piping. It is not possible to visually inspect the inside of PEX pipes to check for leaks or damage, and it can be difficult to locate the exact location of a leak in a PEX system.
Another disadvantage of PEX plumbing is its relatively high cost compared to other types of piping. PEX is more expensive to purchase and install than other types of piping, such as copper or PVC. This can make it less accessible to some homeowners, especially those on a tight budget.
Lastly, PEX plumbing is not as aesthetically pleasing as other types of piping. PEX piping is typically a pale blue or white color, which can be less visually appealing than copper or other types of piping. Additionally, PEX piping is not as flexible as other types of piping, which can make it difficult to run through tight spaces or around corners.
In summary, PEX plumbing has several disadvantages, such as its not being as durable as other types of piping, difficulty of repair, difficulty of inspection, relatively high cost, less aesthetically pleasing, and not suitable for outdoor use and hot water recirculation systems. However, it also has its advantages such as being flexible, durable, and resistant to corrosion and It is important to weigh the pros and cons of using PEX plumbing before making a decision. It is important to consult with a licensed plumber to determine whether PEX plumbing is the best choice for your home or building.