Tuesday, January 24, 2017

PEX Tubing vs Copper and CPVC

If you're not a plumber, chances are that you have questions about which plumbing material is better; PEX, copper, or CPVC. And even if you are familiar with traditional rigid pipe, you might not be too sure about what PEX tubing really is. So here is some general information that can help you determine which pipe is best suited for your next plumbing project.

Developed in the 1960's, PEX tubing is a fairly inexpensive flexible material that is durable in extreme temperatures ranging from below freezing to 200° F. PEX is freeze resistant, won't corrode, and is resistant to pitting and scaling. It's easy to install, and has fewer joints than traditional plumbing pipe, bringing down costs and reducing the chance of leaks. PEX fittings don't require soldering (or solvents), so no torches or soldering skills are needed to make connections.

Copper pipe has been around for decades. It's durable, resists bacteria, is not affected by UV light, and is resistant to mineral scaling. But, as we all know, the price of copper has risen considerably over the past several years, making copper the most expensive choice for your plumbing project. However, because copper is a valuable metal it can be recycled, which isn't true of PEX or CPVC. Fittings are soldered.

CPVC has been used in in both residential and commercial applications for almost 50 years. CPVC is lightweight and is the least expense of these three options. It resists corrosion, pitting and scaling. Fittings, which are also made of CPVC, are bonded in place with solvent. It tends to become brittle with time or exposure to UV light.

Resistant to Scaling Yes Yes Yes
Recyclable No Yes No
Withstand Freezing Yes No No
Resistant to Pinholes Yes No Yes
Withstand UV Light No Yes No
Withstand Temperatures up to 200° Yes Yes No
Bacteria Resistant No Yes No