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The Pros and Cons of PEX-AL-PEX

Tom

PEX-Aluminum-PEX (PEX-AL-PEX) tubing contains a layer of aluminum embedded between two layers of PEX. SupplyHouse.com carries standard PEX-AL-PEX made by Rifeng and Uponor. The aluminum serves as an oxygen barrier and makes the tubing more rigid. See the chart below for some of the the advantages and disadvantages associated with PEX-AL-PEX relative to standard PEX tubing.

Advantage Disadvantage
  • PEX-AL-PEX has a larger inside diameter than standard PEX, thus causing less of a reduction in flow
  • Fittings for PEX-AL-PEX are difficult to find. While PEX works with five to six different types of fittings, only two types of fittings are compatible with PEX-AL-PEX.
  • PEX-AL-PEX expands less than standard PEX linearly as fluid heats up. Its expansion coefficient is closer to that of copper pipe.
  • PEX-AL-PEX is generally not approved for use with potable water
  • PEX-AL-PEX normally has higher temperature and pressure ratings than standard PEX
  • Applying heat does not help fix kinks in the pipe
  • No EVOH oxygen barrier is applied to the outside of the pipe. Standard oxygen-barrier PEX with a non-friction layer (a feature that not all styles have) is necessary in many types of joist installations to minimize noise.
  • PEX-AL-PEX normally costs more than PEX

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