Everything you need to know about plumbing with PEX

Views:109     Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2019-07-21      Origin:http://www.pexinfo.com

PEX (or crosslinked polyethylene) is part of a water supply piping system that has several advantages over metal pipe (copper, iron, lead) or rigid plastic pipe (PVC, CPVC, ABS) systems. It is flexible, resistant to scale and chlorine, doesn't corrode or develop pinholes, is faster to install than metal or rigid plastic, and has fewer connections and fittings.


PEX tubing is made from crosslinked HDPE (high density polyethylene) polymer. The HDPE is melted and continuously extruded into tube. The crosslinking of the HDPE is accomplished in one of three different methods.


PEX plumbing has been in use in Europe since about 1970, and was introduced in the U.S. around 1980. The use of PEX has been increasing ever since, replacing copper pipe in many applications, especially radiant heating systems installed in the slab under floors or walkways. Interest in PEX for hot and cold water plumbing has increased recently in the United States.

PEX Tubing

The terms PEX pipe and PEX tube have been used interchangeably, however some manufacturers distinguish beween the two by manufacturing to different inside/outside diameters. For example, PEX pipe may be manufactured to IPS-ID (iron pipe size, inside diameter controlled) sizes with varying thickness to meet pressure requirements, while PEX tube may be manufactured to CTS-OD (copper tubing size, outside diameter controlled) sizes, commonly with a standard thickness of SDR-9 (standard dimension ratio). 


The PEX tube manufactured to CTS-OD sizes is the most common, with available sizes including 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4" and 1". On this website, "PEX tube" refers to this common CTS-OD product.


Before extrusion, the HDPE can be pigmented to yield color-coded pipe. Common PEX tubing colors are "natural" (hazy clear, unpigmented), white, black, red and blue. The red and blue colors are used to help plumbers and homeowners distinguish between hot and cold water supply lines. The tube will be marked on the outside to show which standards it meets.


As it is produced, PEX is wound onto spools for storage and shipping. A typical spool of 1/2 inch PEX will hold 1200 feet of tubing.

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