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Comparing Copper And PEX Plumbing Pipes

by Ryan Wright

When looking to install new plumbing, there are a number of different materials that you can choose from. Two of the most common types of materials used to fabricate plumbing pipes are copper and cross linked polyethylene, abbreviated as PEX. Both of these types of plumbing offer different advantages over each other, and knowing the features of each can help you make an educated decision about which type of plumbing is the best fit for your house.

Copper Plumbing

Copper plumbing has been used for decades as a material for plumbing in buildings, and for good reason. It is extremely durable, and can last for over a hundred years, and can also hold up to weather exposure extremely well, which means that it can be used both inside and outside. Copper pipes won't begin to rust, and will even survive fires.  There is very little that can be done to damage your plumbing if it is made out of copper. Additionally, copper is naturally resistant to bacteria and fungi, which means that you will never have to worry about mildew growing in your plumbing.

However, there are a few downsides to consider. Copper plumbing can be quite expensive, and the installation of copper plumbing can take a lot of time and money, due to the fact that copper plumbing is rigid and requires a good deal of experience to install correctly. However, this is somewhat offset by the fact that copper plumbing will last decades, and should not need to be replaced within your lifetime.

PEX Plumbing

A more recent development in plumbing, PEX pipes are flexible plastic tubes that are used in place of the more traditional copper plumbing. The two main advantages of PEX plumbing are the cost of the pipes themselves, which is quite low due to the fact that they are simply made out of polyethylene, and the cost and speed of installation, as the flexibility of the pipes means that your plumbing can be rapidly installed in a cost effective manner. PEX plumbing also tends to be much quieter than copper plumbing, as the softer material prevents clanging and banging to occur.

The main disadvantage that comes with PEX plumbing is the fact that it is not as durable as copper plumbing. It is easier for the pipes to come loose and for leaks to occur, and they won't hold up as well as copper pipes to weather exposure, which makes them less than ideal for exposed outdoor plumbing. Additionally, PEX plumbing is not corrosion or bacteria resistant, which means that you may have to have a plumber come in every few years to clean out the pipes for you.

Make sure to discuss your options with a professional from a company like Issler Plumbing in order to make the best decision for your specific situation.

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