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Old 06-24-2013, 12:25 PM   #1
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PEX vs CPVC & PVC


Getting ready to build a new single family home. I was going with PEX until I heard stories of PEX developing pin holes & metal connectors that fail due to oxidation or rust. Am I better off with old CPVC & PVC pipes. The water supply is from the town's water system & not a well. I don't know how the town treats its water supply so I can't say what might be in the water that could cause problems with PEX. My general contractor says he has never encountered a problem with PEX developing pin holes or bad connections. What would be the safer material to use? I'm a fan of copper pipe, but copper is now out of my reach due to costs. Can someone please advise me. I don't want to spend my retirement years fixing plumbing failures or having to worry about it in the time I have left on planet earth. Thanks!

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Old 06-24-2013, 12:50 PM   #2
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Getting ready to build a new single family home. I was going with PEX until I heard stories of PEX developing pin holes & metal connectors that fail due to oxidation or rust. .... My general contractor says he has never encountered a problem with PEX developing pin holes or bad connections.
Never heard of these issues with PEX, but they are the issues of Qest pipe- which is no longer installed.
Perhaps you have the products confused

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Old 06-24-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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PEX vs CPVC & PVC


Well....we know PVC is off the list...right?

Good questions by the OP...

I have a question.......How long has PEX been in use?

We know how long copper has been in use.....

The reason I ask is that new materials are coming out all the time..."New and Improved", "Cheaper"..."Quicker"....

I went through this when trying to decide how to do my shower pan.....While a lot of people said to go with Kerdi....that system has not been around that long....how do we know it's not going to fail in 20 years? How do we know that PEX is not going to have 'some issue' 10 years from now? Just like that other type of plastic pipe did that is now outlawed....

Copper? Been around for a long time....it has 'history'...
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Old 06-24-2013, 01:40 PM   #4
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Getting ready to build a new single family home... My general contractor says he has never encountered a problem with PEX
I'm no fan of PEX but a new build is about the best place to use it.
That said... if the layout is done well/simply there is no good reason to not go with copper.

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Old 06-24-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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PEX vs CPVC & PVC


I faced this same issue a while back when planning the plumbing for my log home. I looked into PEX but decided I didn't want to mess with it - it's too new and the tools needed cost a bunch of money. Thought of copper, which I have experience with, but that also would've cost a bunch. I ended up going with CPVC. Some are not fans of it, but in five years there's never been a problem, and it's a whole lot easier to install than copper.
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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Never heard of these issues with PEX, but they are the issues of Qest pipe- which is no longer installed.
Perhaps you have the products confused
E- To clear it up- I was asking about Pex & any known problems. Until you mentioned it, I never heard about Qest pipe. Is that similar to Pex in some way. Thanks.

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Old 06-24-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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E- To clear it up- I was asking about Pex & any known problems. Until you mentioned it, I never heard about Qest pipe. Is that similar to Pex in some way. Thanks.

Maddog1
Qest is polybutylene, Pex is cross linked polyethylene
Google qest pipe recall.
I have not seen or heard of PEX problems, but both issues you mentioned are associated with qest though.
You can get plastic PEX fittings and expansion rings though for PEX This will eliminate most brass fittings and metallic rings- but your plumbing contractor may have to retool for that
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:51 PM   #8
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So....how long has PEX been in use?
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
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E- To clear it up- I was asking about Pex & any known problems.
The only real problem with PEX (aside from certain fitting end & ferrule hardware & tool conflicts and of course being a general PITA to work with if you have a bad attitude) is when people confuse it with the truly awful QEST. hth
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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So....how long has PEX been in use?
Couldn't tell you. I first used it in 2001. It's all the residential guys use here now due to economics- plus, some of the guys are too dump to learn how to solder
CPVC is not used here at all. Copper is basically used on commercial projects or spec'd projects
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:13 PM   #11
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The issue of PEX durability etc. has been debated endlessly on this forum, just do a search, you will find dozens, perhaps hundreds of posts related to installation of PEX, types of PEX, durability, fittings, installation etc.

I installed PEX in my house about 6 years ago when the copper pipes (installed 1959) began to develop pinhole leaks due to the acidity of my untreated well water. I did a fair amount of research, and determined that PEX (which stands for cross linked polyethylene) has been in use as a piping material for over 50 years, beginning in Europe. There have been issues with fittings over the years, in particular certain brass fittings have corroded and failed, see the Zurn lawsuit.

I have not uncovered any credible information regarding premature failure of PEX tubing itself. However, it is well known that PEX will degrade in sunlight, so it is unsuitable for use in locations exposed to the sun (outdoor installations, sunrooms etc.) Improper storage of PEX pipe in sunlight will also lead to degradation of the tubing.

There are at least four possible systems for connecting PEX pipe, including crimping, expansion, and compression fittings. I have only used the Uponor expansion type fittings, which requires a tool that costs about $300 new for installation. I have had no issues with the PEX itself. I have had some issues associated with brass fittings that seemed to be corroding prematurely. I have switched entirely to plastic (polysulfone) fittings, and have had no other issues.

I do not own stock in any PEX companies. I used PEX because the cost of replacement copper was very high compared to PEX, even including the tool, and installation would have been difficult as this was a retrofit, and I do not have any chases in my house. PEX installation using the expansion tool is quick and relatively foolproof. I understand the crimp method requires calibration of the tool, although I have no personal experience using a crimp ring tool.

There are a few other issues with PEX that do not arise with copper. First off, I have heard stories (perhaps urban legends) of rats gnawing on PEX. I have not had this problem, but then again I have only a few small, brave field mice in my basement. Few survive my cats. PEX will also burn in a fire, but my guess is that any fire hot enough to burn through water pipes is going to take your house to the ground. Also, copper pipe is well known for antimicrobial properties, not shared by PEX.

Conclusion: I have been pretty happy with my choice of PEX. Aside from a few brass fittings I was unhappy with, no problems, no leaks, quick and easy install, low cost. In an acidic water environment such as my house, the resistance to corrosion is a key selling point for PEX.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:37 PM   #12
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Once again Daniel, thank you for a well rounded un-biased and objective post.

Important point.....don't use it outside where the sun hits it. Which actual goes for just about any non-metallic material that is subjected to ultraviolet rays.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:26 PM   #13
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it depends if you think spending a little extra money for having safe drinking water for your family matters or not. Pex is made with surprise petroleum base like all other banned products... Give it time.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
I installed PEX in my house about 6 years ago when the copper pipes (installed 1959) began to develop pinhole leaks due to the acidity of my untreated well water. I did a fair amount of research, and determined that PEX (which stands for cross linked polyethylene) has been in use as a piping material for over 50 years, beginning in Europe. There have been issues with fittings over the years.
Can you please tell me were you got this information just curious?
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:58 PM   #15
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Can you please tell me were you got this information just curious?
http://mrpexsystems.com/pdf/CIB.pdf

Here's a link to a pdf of a white paper they did investigating the pex at the 20 yr mark(1993) of approved usage. Some Scandinavian countries were using before then.

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Last edited by Canucker; 06-25-2013 at 10:59 PM. Reason: More info
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