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Old 01-01-2015, 06:53 AM   #1
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Copper or PEX? Cost Irrelevant


I should be starting my new home build this year and am considering options. My existing house that I'm knocking down was built in 1967 and the copper has held out fine with no leaks or broken joints.

I want to use the best plumbing system. Take material cost and labor time off the table.

Copper or PEX? Everyone says PEX. Don't know why.
(I'm a little nervous running plastic piping)
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:30 AM   #2
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To me the best is a mixture of both as they each have different benefits. I like copper for all of my stubs and fixtures so it can be mounted securely in the walls. With the pex you need to us high quality connections and keep them to a minimum.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:56 AM   #3
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My vote goes for Pex for many reasons.
Far less fittings needed. If I needed to I could make a 50' run with no fittings in the middle.
Takes about 1/3 the time to install.
Far less likely to burst if it ever freezes.
Once you get past the cost of the crimping tool the material cost will also be about 1/3 the cost of copper.
Pex has been around for a long time and they have worked past long ago some issues with the fittings.
Super simple to add onto or make changes.
No chance of fires working in tight quarters unlike soldering.
Only copper I use is for stub outs in the walls.
It's been many years around here since I've seen a plumber use copper in new construction.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:33 AM   #4
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I've said it before...

IMO... there are still unanswered questions with regard to pex. It's only been in use the last 10 years or so. It breaks down under direct sunlight, has problems with chlorine, and can be easily holed by a set of mouse/rat teeth, It can also mold up the inside of the pipework if left to stagnate for extended periods.

The only real advantage to pex is that it's cheaper and a bit easier to work with, so if cost isn't a factor, then it's a no-brainer.... copper is the answer.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:34 AM   #5
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Any real proof of that Bob?
Not sure how being effected by UV has any bearing on house plumbing, not likely it's going to be run on the outside of the walls.
How's mold suppose to grow in a closed system? Any water left standing long enough is going to become stagnant if left long enough.
What's the chance in a house someone's living in the waters not going to get used long enough to cause an issue even if that was true.
If chlorine is an issue then why is there no huge class action suite?
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:03 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Any real proof of that Bob?
Not sure how being effected by UV has any bearing on house plumbing, not likely it's going to be run on the outside of the walls.
How's mold suppose to grow in a closed system? Any water left standing long enough is going to become stagnant if left long enough.
What's the chance in a house someone's living in the waters not going to get used long enough to cause an issue even if that was true.
If chlorine is an issue then why is there no huge class action suite?
I have found algae in plastic tubing. Copper is poison to plant life. This and heavy chlorination are legitimate concerns.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
Any real proof of that Bob?
Plenty of paper work on the subject. You know how google works.

Quote:
Not sure how being effected by UV has any bearing on house plumbing, not likely it's going to be run on the outside of the walls.
Can you guaranty that the coil you buy from HD tomorrow hasn't accidentally been bathed in sunlight before it got to HD?

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How's mold suppose to grow in a closed system? Any water left standing long enough is going to become stagnant if left long enough.
Funguses and algae can grow anywhere where there is sufficient oxygen and humidity. The same would hold true for copper piping if it weren't for the fact that copper contains natural anti fungicides. Again there is paperwork on the subject. Google is your friend.

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What's the chance in a house someone's living in the waters not going to get used long enough to cause an issue even if that was true.
Beats me. But that's the point... the chance is there.. UNLIKE copper.

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If chlorine is an issue then why is there no huge class action suite?
Because so far it has not been a problem, and it will continue to be that way so long as chlorine concentrations are kept at the level they are at present. If for some reason your State or nation decides to bump the chlorine treatment levels up.... then all bets are off.

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 01-01-2015 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 01-01-2015, 01:33 PM   #8
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Copper:
Proven longevity under ideal water conditions
Better flow rates vs pex crimp piping
Durable material resists impact

Pex:
Easier installation and easier future repairs if necessary
Flexible tubing allows for fewer fittings
Resistant to freezing damage
Resistant to water hammer noise

I'd be comfortable with either material in my home. I will be re piping my house in the not to distant future and I will be using both materials. Copper for my mechanical rooms and main trunk lines, and pex tubing for my fixture runs.

My reasoning is the mechanical room & crawl space are visible and accessible so I want a material the looks good, can take a few bumps and offers exceptional flow rates. I'll use pex for my header take offs because I can use very few fittings, less likely to make noise due to water hammer, and any repairs/additions in the future can be done with minimal work.
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:31 PM   #9
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Thanks to everyone for all the responses thus far.

Food for thought.
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Old 01-01-2015, 04:57 PM   #10
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I am leaning towards PEX for my basement bath and possibly taking out my copper in the basement and redoing it in PEX. I have to either add strapping to my ceiling or move all the existing lines into my soffit and PEX will obviously be easier.

Does anyone have any suggestions to a specific PEX brand of pipe and fittings (Apollo @ Lowe's, Sharkbite @ HD, Sioux Chief @ HD, NIBCO @ Menards)?

I figured they would all work together however the NIBCO fitting said to be used with NIBCO PEX only!

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:29 PM   #11
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I'm watching this and learning---here PEX is not allowed---I wish it was,the freeze thaw properties and ease of runs makes it very appealing---

It has a long track record of safe and reliable service---I want to be ready when the code catches up with the 20th century here.
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:03 PM   #12
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Iam doing a 66 unit condo project.....been doing plumbing for 40 yrs now..it took me a long time to switch from copper to pex...but I did.. we went to wirsbo and I love it .. we do use pex and copper togeother its a good combination for what we do ...and reguardless of what we all may think its here to stay...approvals..icp of 2000...icbo evaluation service report NO.5142..the boca building code and code administrators along with the national plumbingcode/1993,, the southren building code1994,,,upc 2000,,...Iam sure there are other areas of approval as well....and yes I used it in my own home as well.... started another building here some pics
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Old 01-01-2015, 08:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I'm watching this and learning---here PEX is not allowed---
Your State is clearly playing it safe, and that's not such a bad thing.

It has cost people billions of dollars over the years to remove what we once THOUGHT was safe and good, from our homes.... Asbestos... knob/tube wiring... etc. I don't think hanging back a little just to see what happens is a bad thing. If it all works out then you simply start into the game a little late, but if it turns out to be a mess... then your State has just saved you a lot of heart ache.
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Old 01-01-2015, 09:22 PM   #14
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Pugsy- if cost or time is not a factor then go copper- seems like the direction you are leaning and I won't attempt to convince you towards pex. Your water chemistry seems fine for copper- use type L not M

Myself- it would be pex all the way. Personally, I have not heard a convincing argument or evidence against it.
As a diy project I'd still put a value to my time (pex installs fast), and the material cost savings are tremendous.
Just last week I worked on a pex system installed in '96- so simple to add new fixture run outs.....

If you plan on putting any water lines in the slab then definitely go pex as it can come in contact with concrete without any worries as to corrosion. You can transition easily to whatever top out material you like.
In my area, we have been replacing some underslab copper lines that were installed in the '90s- I believe it's the soil or imported slab fill in that neighborhood, but who knows......

Ultimately, time will tell us about pex, but I will also add that a service plumber does a good portion of his business repairing copper lines for various reasons.......no piping product is without issues.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:07 PM   #15
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http://failures.wikispaces.com/PEX+Plumbing+Failures

I assume you know what copper does.

I'm not against using either pipe.
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