Water leaks in your home can ruin more than your day. They can cause substantial damage to the structure of your home and your possessions. If not quickly addressed and resolved, leaks and damaged pipes can cause mold, structural damage, and more. While some leaks can be patched, others may require fully repiping your plumbing system. Copper and PEX are two common materials for home plumbing systems. Here are the benefits of each.
Benefits of Copper Piping
Repiping your home with copper pipes has a number of benefits. For starters, most plumbers agree that copper pipes are the standard. Copper itself is an ideal material for piping. It naturally creates a biostatic atmosphere which reduces the risk of dangerous bacterial growth. It doesn't corrode quickly, meaning copper piping could last a lifetime. However, corrosion is possible depending on the pH of the water. Ultraviolet rays will not affect the integrity of copper piping, which means it works well in outdoor applications.
However, copper is a finite natural resource. In recent years, the price of copper has risen substantially. Repiping your home with copper pipes will likely cost more than it would to perform the same task with PEX piping.
Benefits of PEX Piping
Since the 1980s, PEX pipes have become increasingly common in modern plumbing systems. People use PEX pipes for radiant heat flooring, as well as repiping projects and repairs to existing plumbing systems. One of the biggest benefits of PEX piping is, its affordability because it is typically a less expensive but still effective alternative to copper.
Unlike copper, which can cause substantial thermal loss, PEX piping doesn't lose heat in the same way. Even better, these pipes are flexible, making them less likely to freeze and burst in the colder months. You can even buy color-coded PEX pipes, with blue pipes rated for cold water, red for hot and white for any temperature. The installation process for PEX piping is also simpler, taking less technical knowledge than copper pipe fitting.
The downfalls of PEX pipes include their vulnerability to ultraviolet light. Degradation caused by UV light makes PEX piping less useful for outdoor applications. Also, because it is plastic, it is susceptible to kinds of damage that copper pipes aren't. Rodents, in particular, could find your PEX pipes a tasty snack if they lack other food sources. Some people are also concerned about the potential for chemical leaching when treated water interacts with PEX piping. More research is needed to determine if this will prove to be an issue as PEX pipes age.
If your home needs repiping services, Pioneer Plumbing is here to help. To learn more about our services or to ask an expert which material is best for your home, contact us today.