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PEX Piping vs. Copper or Galvanized Pipes

White, blue, and red plumbing pipes

The average homeowner isn’t too concerned about what kind of pipes run through their home so long as the water comes out of the faucets and not the walls and ceilings.

Still, it helps to have a basic understanding of the types of materials that are used. That’s especially true if you’re considering having piping replaced in the near future (or perhaps right away).

Plumbing pipes can be made from a variety of materials, most commonly copper and galvanized material. There’s another kind of piping that we at S & D Plumbing love to use: PEX piping.

If you’re interested in scheduling piping services, contact S & D Plumbing by calling 512-595-5341 today.

Types of Piping Before PEX Piping Was Invented

Galvanized Piping

Galvanized piping is really durable, lasting upward of 60 years. It’s also pretty cheap. So why did we stop using it? Galvanized piping rusts and corrodes. Not what you want in your drinking water, obviously. Rust flakes can even clog piping and wreak havoc on water pressure.

Galvanized pipes also struggle to handle hard water. Hardness is composed of different minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron.

When these minerals are in the water, they cause the galvanized coating to wear off slowly and eventually become a problem. When hard water reacts with the coating, the pipes corrode.

Copper Pipes

One of the reasons copper is so popular is its durability compared to other metals, such as galvanized pipes. It’s also longer-lasting than galvanized piping, and doesn’t have the concerns around lead, rust, and corrosion. Better still, it does a good job of dealing with hardness in water.

It’s also heat-resistant, a great quality in something that often transports hot water. It inhibits bacterial growth, it can withstand shaking in earthquake-prone areas, and it lasts a pretty long time.

However, copper is pretty expensive, costing significantly more than galvanized piping. Copper piping can also fail when the water temperature exceeds 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Copper pipes can also get clogged with condensation, which can reduce its effectiveness.

When the water inside copper pipes freezes, it can cause a blockage. There are some concerns about taste, as well. Still, copper piping is pretty much the “standard” for piping today. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better option out there.

PEX Piping

Invented in 1968 by German scientist Thomas Engle, “PEX” (short for cross-linked polyethylene) plastic started being fashioned into piping. Its initial use was mainly for radiant heating, which it’s still used for today. American homes first saw PEX piping being used in the ’80s and ’90s, and it’s attractive for many reasons.

PEX piping is affordable, extremely flexible, and incredibly durable. In its early days of use in the U.S., it took a while to become popular because high chlorine levels would cause the piping to deteriorate slightly. However, improved fittings and adjustments during manufacturing have resolved these concerns.

PEX piping is now used in more than half of new construction water systems for homes in the U.S. At S & D Plumbing, we have great success using PEX piping for all manner of jobs. Whether it’s an extensive pipe replacement or resolving a minor problem, PEX piping is a great option over copper for our team and our customers.

With no lead concerns, no worries about frozen pipes bursting, and easy installation, it simply makes sense as the solution in most cases.

Benefits of PEX Piping

  • It’s cheaper than copper to manufacture.
  • PEX doesn’t corrode over time like copper piping.
  • No soldering is needed with PEX piping (as it is with copper or galvanized steel piping).
  • PEX expands with temperature – no cracking from winter conditions.
  • Water flows virtually silently through the pipes.
  • It’s incredibly durable.
  • There are no lead concerns.
  • It’s easy to use for retrofitting older plumbing systems.

An additional benefit is that PEX piping is really flexible. Think about your typical metal pipe. Not so easy to bend, right? PEX piping is more like a garden hose, which makes weaving piping in and around tight areas (such as in walls) significantly easier.

Choose S & D Plumbing for PEX Piping in Austin, TX

Whether you’re trying to resolve an issue with a specific part of your home’s plumbing system or you’re looking to replace old galvanized, lead, or copper piping, PEX piping is a great option to consider.

We’ve been using this great technology with success for years, and continue to stand behind it as a solid choice for our customers. From repiping projects to fixing a leak, there’s always a chance for PEX piping to stand in and shine.

S & D Plumbing is proud to serve the Austin area with top-tier plumbing services. If you have any questions for our team about PEX piping or our services, we’re always glad to help.

Contact S & D Plumbing today to schedule piping services, or call our office at 512-595-5341.

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