PEX Tubing installation details (C) D FriedmanPEX Tubing & Piping
Cross-Linked Polyethylene PEX Piping Installation, Inspection, Safety

  • PEX PIPING INFORMATION - CONTENTS: properties, installation, safey. What is PEX pipe, where is it used, & how is it installed. PEX properties, PEX history & key dates, PEX failure class action information, PEX compared with copper piping, PlumbPex class action settlement, Kitec class action settlement. PEX piping leaks, reliability, & PEX used for building water supply piping, radiant floor heating & other heating applications. Update on Pex fitting de-zincification problems reported from the field. Pex dezincification research citations.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about PEX polyethylene plastic supply and drain piping, gas piping, etc.
  • REFERENCES
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

PEX cross linked polyethylene piping guide:

This article describes the properties of Pex Tubing or Piping, Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX). We discuss the uses of PEX tubing for water supply & in heating applications.

We describe the several differnt types of PEX tubing connector systems used including PEX crimp fittings, PEX compression fittings, PEX expander fittings, PEX Press-Fit connectors, and PEX Shark-Bite fittings and connectors.

We also discuss the ongoing debate of Pex versus Copper or other piping choices, with the pros and cons of each, and we include a literature review of and comment on the question is PEX tubing or piping safe to use or does it leach contaminants into our water supply. This article also includes the history of the development, use, & standards for PEX piping.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.

Pex Tubing or Piping, Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX)

PEX Water Piping installation (C) D Friedman Galow Homes

PEX and PB plastic pipe are used for water supply in buildings use mechanical fittings (crimp and compression type) and we have found some installers using PEX tubing in low temperature heating applications (see below). PEX piping is also referred to as "cross-linked polyethylene" piping or just "PEX".

Our photo (left) illustrates PEX water supply piping being installed in a New York home.

Photo courtesy Galow Homes.

[Click to enlarge any image]

 

Article Contents

Applications & Properties of PEX Piping

Installing both building water supply piping and heating supply piping (and radiant heating) can be significantly faster using PEX tubing because of its ability to bend around turns, avoiding some elbows, 45's and other fittings.

PEX piping is used in both hot and cold water applications (see the blue and red colors below). By convention the builder uses blue PEX for cold water and red PEX for hot water supply piping lines.

Generally you will find PEX piping or tubing marked with the nominal pipe size, wall thickness, and pressure rating and other information (see the illustration just below).

Temperature and pressure ratings for PEX, according to Zurn Manufacturing's engineering specifications is 160 PSI at 73°F, 100 PSI at 180°F, and 80 PSI at 200°F.

PEX piping marking guide (C) Zurn Manufacturing

Illustration of PEX tubing markings - courtesy Zurn Manufacturing (permission requested 12/2010). [Click any image or table to see an enlarged, detailed version.]

When installing PEX piping, care must be taken that the pipe does not contact heating ducts.

If the pipe freezes, it is less likely to burst than and copper piping. Also, most types of plastic water pipe tend to sag and should be well supported by hangers

Watch out: PEX plastic water piping should not be installed outdoors or exposed to sunlight for long periods. The red and blue PEX piping shown below (right) were delivering hot and cold water in a newly-constructed home. The larger black ABS plastic pipe is probably a drain line.

Watch out: do not use plastic piping nor any other type of piping in applications for which it was not intended, or the result could be dangerous. For example, do not use PEX tubing for LP or natural gas piping.

Plastic piping (C) Daniel Friedman Polybutylene water piping guidelines Carson Dunlop Associates

PEX Tubing Connectors: Types, Tools, Requirements

Watch out: a variety of patented PEX tubing push-fit and clamp connecting fittings (at least six types) and connector crimping tools are on the market. You may not obtain a proper and secure PEX connection if you mix tubing connector fittings and crimping tools improperly. We recommend choosing a specific connector type and crimping tool and using it consistently at a given plumbing installation.

Examples & Photographs of the various types of PEX fittings and the special tools used include:

PEX Clamp fitting installation (C) D Friedman

 

 

 


PEX Clamp fitting installation (C) D Friedman

 

 

 



Shark Bite type PEX fittings (C) D Friedman

PEX Tubing installation details (C) D Friedman


Shark bite push fit plumbing fittings (C) D Friedman

 

Types of PEX Cross-Linked Polyethylene Tubing

Four methods of creating cross-linked polyethylene, each possibly imparting different properties to the PEX piping or tubing, include

  1. PE-Xa = using peroxide, developed by Engel, PAM, Frankische and others
  2. PE-Xb = using silane, developed by DOW Corning / Sioplas
  3. PE-Xc = using electronic irridiation
  4. PE-xd = using AZO (Gustavsberg-Lobonyl) - not currently in production

- Bean (2007)

Standards, Listings and Approvals for PEX Plumbing Systems

The following standards and building codes list at least some elements of PEX plumbing systems.

Pex Tubing / Plumbing use History & Dates

In the United States the use of PEX tubing in residential buildings for water supply & heating piping has been approved for use in all fifty states and in Canada in all of the provinces.

PEX Pipes vs Copper Piping: which is preferred?

Reader Question: Pex vs. Copper Water Supply Piping - which should I use?

Question: my daughter is doing extensive renovations on her house and the question has come up whether to use PEX or copper in the plumbing.

I did a google search and the informations is conflicted; see below. [We read & also expanded the writer's original four web link citations in the article below - Ed.] Do you have knowledge of, and opinions about, this controversy? Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks. Elisha Fisch, New York 2/17/2013

Reply:

PEX hot and cold water piping installed during new construction (C) Daniel Friedman Eric Galow 2012 2013Elisha I've moved this discussion on Pex pipes vs copper pipes to its own article at

We will continue to monitor the PEX health and contamination question and will update here. Contact Us by email to send field reports or to report on new studies.

Copper Water Supply Piping

The same PLASTIC vs. COPPER article above lists propertie of copper water supply pipes when used in buildings and compares copper pipe performance with that of plastic.

A bottom line opinion is that each plumbing material has its own vulnerabilities as well as advantages & disadvantages.

We discuss types of copper piping and their intended uses and copper fittings beginning at COPPER PIPING in buildings.

Plumb-PEX Plumbing System Class Action Settlement - PEX piping leaks

In March 2012 people who own or previously owned a building where Plumb-PEX plumbing components were installed are notified of a proposed class action settlement involving Radiant Technology, Inc. and Uponor, Inc who sold Plumb-PEX insert fittings and stainless steel PEX tubing clamps.

Details about this PEX plastic piping failure are now at PlumbPex® PEX LEAKS & LAWSUIT

Kitec Brass Fitting & Related IPEX Plastic Pipe Leaks: Class Action Settlement

The Kitec system was a collection of brass plumbing connectors intended for use with PEX type plastic piping. Kitec, also in some sources spelled Kyetec is a brand of brass plumbing fitting that was recalled in 2005 by its manufacturer, IPEX, due to its tendency to quickly corrode. - Wikipedia [30]

Kitec plastic pipe and fittings has agreed to settle class-action suits in the United States and Canada for $125 million. The piping system that is the subject of this action was used in roughly 292,000 U.S. and Canadian homes beginning in 1995.

Details about the Kitec plastic class action suit are given in a link just below.

Question: is PEX the same as Kitec® ?

Is PEX the same as Kitec? How does one tell distinguish between Kitec and PEX? - Anon

Reply: Kitec was an individual brand of PEX pipe subject of a class action settlement

Anon,

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene piping) is a general term for a type of plastic piping used in water supply, heating, and other applications.

Kitec® is a specific brand of PEX tubing that was subject of a class action settlement with an end-date for filing claims of 31 March 2012.

  1. Details about plastic pipe leaks by pipe type & brand are in this topic home page:
    PLASTIC PIPE LEAK CAUSES
  2. Kitek® PLASTIC PIPE LEAKS, CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT discussion is found within that article.
  3. PEX PIPING INFORMATION gives details about PEX across the product range
  4. Information about all types of plastic piping used in buildings starts
    at PLASTIC PIPING ABS CPVC PB PEX PVC.

Pex De-zincification Update & Research: field failure photographs of Brass PEX Pipe Fitting Corrosion & Leaks

Brass PEX pipoing fitting corrosion (C) 2014 InspectApedia.com & Anon

[Click to enlarge any image]

Above left: brass tee corrosion appearing both on the Tee-fitting body (red arrow) and around the end of the PEX tubing (green arrow) on water piping in a 2009 home.

Details about corrosion, leaks, & possible dezincification problems at brass connectors used in PEX piping systems are
at PEX BRASS CONNECTOR LEAKS

Research on PEX Piping vs Drinking Water Contamination

...


Continue reading at PEX BRASS CONNECTOR LEAKS (discussing de-zincification and leaks at PEX connectors) or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see PLASTIC PIPE LEAK CAUSES including

Suggested citation for this web page

PEX PIPING INFORMATION at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.

INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES: ARTICLE INDEX to PLUMBING SYSTEMS

OR use the Search Box found below at Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Support InspectApedia.com & See Fewer Advertisements

From Google's Contributor website: Contribute a few dollars each month. See fewer ads. The money you contribute helps fund the sites you visit.

Google-Contributor supports websites while reducing advertisements. You can support InspectApedia with a contribution of any amount you wish. Or you can contribute nothing and we'll still keep our website free to all readers - supported by advertising. Either approach is OK.