PEX pipes or to be more precise cross-linked polyethylene pipes are pipes used for plumbing purposes. They are most commonly used in hydronic heating systems. Apart from that, PEX pipes are also used in electrical cables and offshore oil applications.
The size of PEX pipes range from one-fourth of an inch to four inch. Due to its relative cost effectiveness as compared to brass and copper plumbing materials, PEX pipes have become more and more popular over the last fifty years. Particularly in private residences, PEX pipes have seen an enormous growth in demand. Almost singlehandedly PEX pipes have taken over the monopoly of copper in plumbing industry.
Much of this has been owing to factors like its better temperature adaptability, resistance to dissolution, tensile strength and scratch resistance.
Present condition of Pex Pipes
Over the last decade, the percentage of home to which drinking water has been delivered by PEX pipes has increased by almost forty percent annually. In this regard, PEX pipes have replaced both galvanized steel pipes and copper pipes in the market.
While steel pipes are prone to rusting and copper pipes to bursting, PEX pipes show remarkable resistance to both. Initially it was used solely as pipe to be used in hydronic systems for underfloor heating. Before long, its ability to circulate hot water soon made it a commonly used item for general plumbing purposes. Various voluntary organizations as well as well known newspapers have given evidence in favor of using PEX pipes.
The growing popularity of PEX pipes can be seen as a result of the numerous advantages it has to offer. These pipes are much more flexible than their predecessors, allowing them to turn and bend in accordance to the layout of the land. Also, PEX pipes do not require as many joints as copper or steel pipes. This further increases the strength of the PEX pipes.
Also, owing to lesser number of joints, the pressure of water coming through PEX pipes is also much higher than those provided by other pipes. The longevity of this type of pipes also happens to be much greater and hence make them much more cost efficient.
Drawbacks of Pex Pipes
However, this does not necessarily mean that PEX pipes are without drawbacks. For one, these pipes cannot be used in appliances that are exposed to sunlight. Direct exposure to sunlight makes the pipe brittle.
Another noted disadvantage is the concern over it being detrimental to health, particularly because it is made of petroleum products. Irrespective of these drawbacks, the demand for PEX pipes continue to serge and is expected to be the major plumbing pipe by the end of next decade.