The use of PEX (Cross Linked Polyethylene) tubing for residential potable water systems has, for the most part become mainstream, but some plumbers and municipalities have yet to adopt using PEX. Below are some of the advantages of PEX tubing, over other plumbing systems:
- PRICE - The price of copper; the old standard, has more than doubled in recent years, making other systems more attractive. PEX has become the most cost effective system to use, with the cost of materials being low and installation time dramatically reduced.
- Ease of use - PEX has the ability to be bent and worked around corners, making it easy to run long lengths through joists and other places rigid pipe would not be practical.
- Joining - PEX tubing is joined without the use of heat, solder, pastes and glues. Although some proprietary joining methods exist (Wirsbo), there are cheap tools that can join any size PEX fitting(cinch ring method).
- Resistant - PEX tubing is resistant to pitting, corrosion, water hammer, scale build-up and minor freezing temperatures.
- Freeze damage - The flexible nature of PEX makes it extremely resistant to damages caused from sub zero conditions. Living in Canada, I can personally attest to the advantages of PEX in cold climates; having witnessed first hand a completely frozen plumbing system that was later thawed and had zero leaks.
- Versatility - PEX tubing's characteristics give it a wide variety of uses besides just water distribution systems; such as, radiant in floor heat, ice melt systems and sprinkler systems, to name a few.
- Energy efficiency - Using a PEX home run system (manifold system) has proven more efficient in delivering hot water to a fixture than the more common trunk and branch system as well as retaining more Btu per foot than copper pipe.