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Blogs from March, 2024

Is Your Plumbing Made with the Right Pipe? Do you know?

Pex Pipes: the right pipes in your plumbing

pex pipes in new plumbing system

What do you ask when you buy a home?

When you buy a home, you ask about the roof. When was it last replaced? Does it leak? What roofing materials are used? You ask about the air conditioning system. You probably look at the state of the flooring and the appearance of the façade. But what about the plumbing system? Do you know if the plumbing is made with the right pipe?

Plumbing is essential. Providing water to toilets, showers, tubs, and sinks on demand requires a sound infrastructure made with strong, long-lasting pipes. Here’s what you should know about the pipes in your plumbing system.

Types of Pipes

Outlawed Materials:

Lead Pipes:

When cities began to install plumbing around 1900, the material of choice was lead pipe. Resistant to corrosion, lead was soft enough to bend and very durable. Unfortunately, we discovered later that lead was toxic, causing troubles with brain, respiration, reproduction, and digestion. The Federal government outlawed the use of lead pipe in plumbing in 1986.

Surprisingly, though, because lead is so durable, many cities still have working lead pipes. The Environment Protection Agency believes that six to ten million lead service lines still exist in America.

Galvanized Steel

When indoor plumbing became common in the 1930s, the pipe was galvanized steel. But they were problematic. Galvanized steel corroded and rusted. The build-up of rust blocked pipes and made the water look brown and taste nasty. No surprise that it fell out of favor.

Modern Materials:

Copper Pipes:

Copper pipes have long been a staple in residential plumbing systems due to their durability and reliability. They are resistant to corrosion and if properly maintained, can last for well over fifty years without problems. For decades, they’ve been a preferred choice for water supply lines in homes.

However, copper is the most expensive of all the pipe options, and with the emergence of PEX piping, the use of copper pipes has decreased.

PEX Pipes:

PEX stands for Cross-linked Polyethylene. PEX is durable, flexible, affordable, and needs fewer fittings than other materials. According to industry reports, PEX plumbing pipe market was valued at over $6 billion in 2019, with steady growth projected in the coming years.

CPVC Pipes:

CPVC stands for Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride. While using CPVC for plumbing was popular at one time, its use has drastically declined in recent years.

CPVC pipes are more susceptible to cracking and damage in freezing conditions, making them less suitable for cold climates. They are short-lived. In fact, manufacturers have decreased the warranty from twenty-five years down to ten, no matter whether they’re installed in cold climates or warm ones, like ours. Not only are they not strong enough to last for years, but they can potentially allow chemicals into the lines.

Watch this newscast for an understanding of why CPVC pipes are bad news – and why if you’re buying a home with those pipes in the plumbing, you should ask for a retrofit before buying!

Why PEX is so popular

There are reasons that PEX is so popular and why CPVC is considered a peril in the plumbing industry.

Flexibility and Ease of Installation

PEX pipe, with its remarkable flexibility, has revolutionized the plumbing industry. Unlike rigid CPVC pipes, PEX can bend and maneuver around obstacles, reducing the need for fittings and joints. This flexibility not only simplifies installation but also minimizes the risk of leaks and failures at connection points. Whether navigating tight spaces or retrofitting existing plumbing systems, PEX's adaptability makes it a preferred choice for plumbers.

Freeze Resistance and Durability

In regions prone to freezing temperatures, the durability of plumbing systems becomes paramount. PEX boasts exceptional freeze resistance, capable of expanding and contracting without compromising structural integrity. This resilience not only safeguards against burst pipes but also extends the lifespan of the plumbing system, reducing maintenance and repair costs over time.

Corrosion Resistance and Longevity

PEX's resistance to corrosion and scaling is one compelling advantage over CPVC. Unlike metal pipes, which are vulnerable to rust and deterioration over time, PEX maintains its integrity even in aggressive water environments. This corrosion resistance translates to a longer service life, providing homeowners with peace of mind and minimizing the risk of costly pipe replacements in years to come. In contrast, CPVC pipes may degrade over time when exposed to certain chemicals or water conditions, potentially compromising performance and safety.

Versatility and Adaptability

From residential plumbing systems to commercial applications, PEX's versatility makes it a versatile solution for many projects. Whether used for hot or cold water, radiant floor heating, or hydronic heating systems, PEX excels in diverse applications. Its compatibility with various fittings and connection methods further enhances its adaptability, allowing for seamless integration into existing plumbing infrastructures. CPV lacks the versatility and adaptability of PEX in complex plumbing projects.

Cost-Effectiveness and Efficiency

Beyond its technical advantages, PEX offers compelling cost-effectiveness and efficiency benefits. With lower material costs and faster installation times compared to CPVC, PEX can result in significant savings for homeowners and contractors alike. Moreover, PEX's superior energy efficiency can reduce utility bills and long-term operational savings. When considering the overall lifecycle costs, PEX emerges as a financially savvy investment that delivers exceptional performance and reliability.

As the demand for efficient and reliable plumbing solutions continues to grow, PEX stands poised to lead the way, shaping the future of plumbing for generations to come.

How ServiceOne Can Help

No matter what your pipes are made of, ServiceOne Air Conditioning and Plumbing can help.

Retrofits, repipes, and repairs.

Inspections, installations, and innovative plumbing solutions.

Water filtration, garbage disposals, drain cleaning, finding and fixing leaks.

Whatever you need, the professional plumbers at ServiceOne can help.

Call us.


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