Why Is PEX Such A Common Plumbing Choice For New Homes?

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For years, copper and PVC were the go-to options for plumbing. Lately, however, plumbers have begun using a new material known as PEX. This material, which is more formally known as cross-linked polyethylene, is especially common in new construction homes. But why?

PEX can be installed at almost any phase of construction.

When a home is being built, the various contractors need to work together to ensure each step is done on schedule. For instance, the framers need to be finished before the drywall installation team can come in. Typically, when copper or PVC are used, the plumber needs to come in at a very specific time in the construction process: after the framers but before the drywall contractors. PEX, however, can be installed at almost any stage of the construction process. The flexible tubing can be fed behind already-constructed walls, or it can be put in place before the drywall. It can be run before or after electric. This allows the plumber to be more flexible in their scheduling, which may help the whole construction project move along faster.

PEX does not react to acidic water.

Copper pipes, although they are generally sturdy, do not react well if the water is slightly acidic. They'll corrode, eventually becoming leaky. You could go through the trouble of having the local water pH tested to see whether it will pose a risk to copper pipes — or you could do what more and more plumbers are doing: just install PEX and don't worry about it. PEX doesn't react to acidic water; it will stay strong regardless of the water's pH and mineral balance. This eliminates the need for water testing when you're already juggling so many other aspects of building a home.

PEX conserves energy.

Over the past few years, people have become more and more aware of their energy use. There has been a push towards materials that save energy, and PEX is one of those materials. It is a much better insulator than copper. (Copper is actually a good conductor; it absorbs a lot of heat from the hot water.) As such, you can keep your water heater temperature a little lower with PEX, which helps you save energy. When placed in a new home, PEX can help that home meet various green energy standards.

PEX is a really popular choice for new homes, and for good reason. Talk to your plumber about PEX to determine whether it's the right plumbing choice for your new construction project.

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22 January 2021

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