Are you looking to make the switch from traditional pipe to PEX tubing? Perhaps you’ve heard of this alternative and want to learn more. Today we are going to talk about everything you need to know when shopping for PEX tubing.
PEX stands for Polyethylene cross – linked and it is a strong, flexible and inexpensive alternative to copper pipe. All PEX tubing sold on SupplyHouse.com is backed by at least a 20-year warranty. The flexibility of PEX allows you to run tubing continuously from the distribution point to a fixture without any splicing for elbows or other joints.
When you do need to make a connection, it’s fast and easy with no soldering required. There are 6 PEX connections currently offered on SupplyHouse.com and all are secure and reliable.
The important questions to ask when shopping for PEX tubing are:
1. Will the tubing be used for a plumbing or heating application? This will affect the kind of PEX you get.
2. Will the tubing be installed in a climate that reaches extremely cold temperatures? This will likely affect the grade of the tubing you purchase.
The main difference between plumbing and heating is an Oxygen barrier.
For hydronic heating applications, such as radiant heat and baseboards, you typically need to use PEX tubing that has an oxygen barrier in order to protect any cast iron components in your system from rusting. Other than preventing oxygen from entering your system, oxygen barrier PEX tubing has the same properties as non-barrier PEX.
You can also get PEX-Aluminum-PEX, or PEX-AL-PEX for hydronic heating. It has an oxygen barrier and is made up of two layers of PEX bonded together with a layer of aluminum in between.
This allows the tubing to hold its shape better than regular PEX during installation so you don’t need to tie it down every few feet. It also holds its shape at high temperatures. This is why it’s most common use is for outdoor applications, warmboard, high-temp fan coils and baseboard. The disadvantages of PEX-AL-PEX is that the tools and fittings are more expensive, and your choices are limited.
Potable PEX is the type of tubing used for drinking water and all plumbing applications. It comes color-coated in red white and blue, making it easy to color code your system to distinguish the hot and cold lines clearly. White can be used instead of one or both colors since all three colors are made of the same material. Potable PEX does not have an oxygen barrier and is often much cheaper.
Once you have determined the type of PEX tubing you want to use, you will have to select the grade.
PEX-a tubing is the highest quality tubing on the market because it is the most flexible and easy to work with as a result of the manufacturing method used to create the cross-linking. It has thermal memory, which means it can be heated and returned to its original shape if it gets bent or expanded.
PEX-b is also strong and reliable, but is less flexible, making it more difficult to work with during installation, and more susceptible to bursting if your pipes freeze.