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Household Handyman
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You asked, I'll give you my answer. IF it were my house, I would sit down and answer a few questions. 1) Can I afford the copper?, 2) Could I do this myself or would I have to job it out? From working with both of them> If this were my house I would find a way to use copper. Nothing wrong with PEX but I like copper for the long haul.
 

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Remodeling Contractor
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3,590 Posts
Pex... You can do it yourself and be assured nothing will leak. Water flow is better. Pex can handle colder temperatures without splitting more than copper. DIY'ers making Pex connections will not burn your house down. Pex installs are about 3 times less labor than copper.

Ask yourself this.... If you installed pex for years and then a salesman comes in and explains how you can now use this new stuff called copper. But it only comes in short lengths, does not bend, needs a torch in tight places next to your wood framing to make connections. You need to carefully clean and use flux for each connection. And is this is not done perfectly the system will fail. Would you ever even listen to this salesman?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
34 views and only 3 replies come guys no opinion on this subject? Thanks to those who have replied. Thurman I can afford the copper and can do it myself but was thinking more of the ease of pex and what other people who have used the product think of it. I did ask and thanks for the ansewer.
 

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HVAC / Plumbing
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1,801 Posts
Probably because no one else knows your house. Some times it's easier to run pex in a house that's already built than copper. Copper will take more time & sometimes hard to put back in some places.. I like copper ( old school) .. Some times, it's easier to run pex
 

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Civil Engineer
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5,832 Posts
PEX is far from a new product, it has been in use in Europe for close to 50 years. Copper has been in use for hundreds of years, but then so has lead pipe, so just because it has been around a long time does not necessarily make it recommended.

I have a house built in 1959, originally with all copper, used the standard 50/50 tin/lead solder mix. I bought the place in 1991, and almost immediately began getting pinhole leaks both in the copper and the solder joints. I am on well water, pH is about 5 - 5.5, so the acidity was eating up the copper and the solder. Eventually I replaced all the copper with PEX, except for a few pieces of copper where recommended by the manufacturer (shower valve was one of them).

So, based on my experience, I like PEX. It bends easily, the fittings go on quickly, no heat required, never leaks if you buy the required tool. Less labor than copper, and usually costs less per foot. Easier to splice in a new fitting, just turn off water pressure, cut the line, add the fitting. With copper, you have to make sure all the water is out of the line, or the sweat does not work.

Downsides to PEX: Zurn is involved in a class action lawsuit right now due to failure of their brass fittings for PEX. I used all Wirsbo tubing, and switched from brass to plastic (polysulfone) fittings. It has been over five years, so far no problems. There is a lingering controversy about leaching of toxins from PEX into potable water. If you Google California PEX regulations, you will get more information than you ever wanted regarding the safety of PEX as a potable water source.

Copper has well known antimicrobial properties, PEX does not. If you think there may be bacteria in your water, copper might be beneficial. However, if you are on well water and you have bacteria, you have a serious problem that probably requires a bigger solution than copper pipe, and if your municipal water supply has bacteria, then your whole community has a big problem.

Some people have argued that copper does not burn in a fire, while PEX could emit toxic fumes if it burns. That may be true, but if your house burns down, and you are in it, PEX water tubing is the least of your problems.

The tools to install PEX are not free, I paid about $300 for a slightly used PEX expander specific to Wirsbo fittings. This is an essential tool, no point renting it, since you are going to be using it for a long time. A torch, tubing cutter, copper fitting cleaner, spool of solder, and heat shield would probably cost less than $100, so the installation tools are less expensive for copper.

From what I have read, it appears that the actual flow for PEX tubing is about the same as for equivalent sized copper, i.e. 1/2 inch PEX vs. 1/2 inch copper. There are several different PEX fitting types available, some are barbed, some use expanders, some use press fits. I don't know if there is a significant difference in pressure loss per foot, but in a house run, this should make little difference.

I put i mainly 3/4 inch PEX, with branch lines to the bathrooms at 1/2 inch. Seems to be fine for water pressure.

Conclusion: I like PEX because it goes in fast, does not leak, requires no heat, is less expensive than copper, and is flexible.
 

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I had the sam options as you several years back.I went with Pex and am I happy I did.I drive truck for a living and was away when my furnece went out in the middle of a Pa. winter.When I got back not one pipe leaked and it was cold as all get out in here.I did all the installation my self( no paying a plumber) and got the whole place done in a day.I have had to move a few pipes here and there as I did more work on the house(added another bath) and it was so simple my wife could have done it( ok maybe not my wife).I would never go back to a copper pipe now that I know what pex can do.Everyone has their own opinion on what is best but most of the people I know and some were very resistant to pex have found that once you try it nothing will compare
 

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Remodeling Contractor
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3,590 Posts
is pex really good?
Yes... just avoid the cheaper fittings and buy the right tool for the pex you are using.. I have plenty of copper pipe and fittings to do several houses in stock. But when I work on my own house I use my PEX fittings. With pex you use less fittings so the actual flow rate to the end fixtures is greater not the same. Running 3/4 then branching to 1/2" is the old way needed using copper. With PEX I run separate 1/2" runs to each fixture from a central manifold. This allows one easy place to find every shut off valve and only one angled fitting at the very end of the run.
 

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Back in February I asked this forum which was the better pex system, expansion fittings versus compression fittings. The concensus was expansion and the Rehau Everloc system. I scouted out costs, materials and tools to do it myself but because of work commitments I ended up hiring a plumbing company. I kept some of the cost down by opening up the walls and floors as necessary for access and removing the old galvanized supply pipe myself. The plumber was excellent to work with and explained a better (cheaper, faster) way to do it than I had planned. He used the Everloc system and so far it has been great.
One cautionary note however. Two days after he finished I was cutting out some of the galvanized pipe with a reciprocating saw. The old pipe vibrated within the stud space and forced the pex pipe onto a nail jutting out from the panelling, causing a leak. I had to cut the wall open and apply a quick patch made with a piece of rubber and a hose clamp. The patch is holding but I'll have to get the plumber to come back with his tools to replace the damaged section. Live and learn.
 

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Hauki go to lowes get a sharkbite fitting and slip it on that section and forget about calling a plumber back out save ya some money
 
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