PEX Piping vs Copper Piping

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re not a plumber. You’ve probably heard pipes are usually made of copper in the US, but it’s likely PEX pipes are unfamiliar to you. That’s understandable. PEX pipes have been used in Europe for decades and have demonstrated excellent performance and numerous benefits. In order to make an informed decision about your home piping, we’ll provide you with the basics on PEX and copper piping.

First of all, PEX is an abbreviation that means cross-linked polyethylene pipe. The plastic undergoes processing, which makes it long-lasting and able to withstand extreme high and low temperatures. It can also endure creep deformation resulting from stress exposure and chemical deformation that acids and alkalis can cause. As a result, PEX piping is great for both hot and cold water. PEX pipes also use a coloring code – red pipes for hot water, blue pipes for cold and white for any.


PEX is a flexible material, it feels like a hardened garden hose. It can resist breaking in cold temperatures and doesn’t have as many joints as copper, which relieves your budget for piping.

Copper is also flexible and long-lasting and it has the benefit of reducing bacteria, because of its biostatic atmosphere, which is an important consideration. It’s also generally corrosion-resistant and can withstand ultraviolet rays unaltered. For these reasons, it can be used outside, as opposed to PEX pipes that don’t have this option. However, the only scenario when copper can corrode is when the quality of water is conducive to that, when it’s too acidic or basic. (Then again, just because it corrodes, it doesn’t mean the water is bad for use.)

Having in mind both the advantages and disadvantages of PEX and copper pipes will give you a better understanding of what would fit your needs.

The good sides of PEX are that it’s installation-friendly and flexible, in terms that it can be used with hot and cold water and that it can go with metal and PVC pipes. PEX has fewer joints so the installation is quicker and leakage chances are reduced. The installation cost is also lower because PEX needs fewer fittings due to its elasticity. Because PEX can expand and contract in response to stress and temperatures, it’s less likely it will burst. Every supply line is valved, which comes in handy when you need to have some repair work. PEX can have an optional pressure balance system.

The downsides of PEX are that it cannot be used outside because of ultraviolet rays. It’s also got a shorter life and isn’t recyclable. Because it acts as an impenetrable membrane, water may get contaminated. When the pipes are left outside for a longer while, they could get damaged.

Advantages of copper include durability, flexibility and an easy installation. It’s resistant to bacteria, so the quality of water is ensured. It’s weather-resistant and withstands corrosion and ultraviolet rays, making it a good choice for outside use. It’s flame retardant and doesn’t give off toxic fumes in a fire. It’s safe in natural disasters, for example earthquakes, because its elasticity doesn’t allow it to snap easily. Lastly, it’s eco-friendly because it can be recycled.

Copper has a few disadvantages including priciness, possibility of corrosion, a possible metallic taste of water and possible breakage during extremely low temperatures.

With PEX pipes you get a lot of advantages, but the tools used have to be right. The soundest idea is to call in a professional plumbing service like Plumbing Plus to make sure the job is done properly. Plumbing Plus has the expertise and the equipment needed to install PEX pipes. The products we use are always the highest quality and you can rest assured that your investment will be worthwhile. If you are considering doing repiping in your home and if you live in San Diego and the neighboring counties, don’t hesitate to call us right now.