What is PEX Piping?
PEX (a.k.a. cross linked polyethylene) is a system that is normally for 3/8″ – 3/4″ domestic water piping systems. PEX piping utilities fittings that are held in place with a system of metal crimp rings secured by a crimping tool. The majority of runs, however, can be made with a continuous piece of flexible PEX tubing. Contrast this with copper piping or CPVC piping which requires a fitting for every bend or turn.
The disadvantage for the homeowner with the PEX system is the need to have the costly crimping tool and brass fittings to connect to different piping types. Unless you are doing a substantial amount of plumbing, many homeowners will not find it cost effective to purchase the tool for home use. In considering copper piping vs PEX tubing, however, you can save a tremendous amount in time and materials. The flip side of this is that if you have to do a lot of plumbing, the PEX plumbing system is one of the easiest to assemble and use. Many contractors now favor the PEX system because of the speed in which it can be installed and for the relatively low cost of the components (other then the initial tool investment). The piping is available in both 100 plus foot length coils and as convenient 8 – 16 foot stick lengths. The normal colors are white, blue or red. The colors are used to help identify the hot (red) or cold (blue) water and the white for universal applications.