If you have had any recent plumbing work completed on your home or commercial property, you may have noticed the plumber didn’t use the copper water pipes you were expecting. Instead, you may see plastic supply pipes running to your newly installed faucet, and you may be wondering why your plumber chose to use plastic instead of copper. To help you understand the difference between copper water pipes and plastic, and which one is best for certain applications, take a look at the brief comparison below.
What is PEX Piping?
PEX water pipes are a recent addition to the world of plumbing. Unlike copper piping, they are flexible, lightweight and far easier to install. The question is whether or not these PEX pipes made from PVC plastic are a better alternative to copper. The short answer is yes. PEX is a better alternative to copper, for many of the reasons just described. PEX is easy to install, and far cheaper to buy compared to copper. Although it may seem newer compared to copper, PVC plastic has been used for numerous plumbing applications for a while now. If you have a fridge that makes ice and produces drinking water, it is likely the pipe that runs this water through the fridge is made from the same PVC plastic used to make PEX.
Visual Appeal Copper VS Plastic Pipes
Although PEX has a number of practical benefits, when it comes to aesthetics, there is really no better choice than copper pipes. PEX is usually grey in colour, or in some cases is either red or blue depending on whether it is used as a hot or cold supply. If you’re just running water lines under a sink or behind walls, PEX is an ideal choice. If you are looking to create a more industrial aesthetic in your home or commercial property however, then copper is likely going to be worth the time and expense to have installed.
Household Water Applications
One major point where copper is superior to PEX is exterior use. PEX cannot be used outside in any conditions. The plastic is susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Copper however can easily stand up to prolonged outdoor exposure, making it the perfect option when you need to run water lines outside. Beyond exterior use however, copper is really second tier compared to PEX. Even the DIY enthusiast at your home with little plumbing experience can work with PEX. The connections require zero soldering, and the pipe can easily be shifted and moved thanks to its light weight and flexibility.
One thing to note about PEX is the fact that it is made of plastic polymers, which is a petroleum based chemical compound. Although the risk is minimal, PVC plastic can potentially leak chemicals into your drinking water. This is extremely rare, but it is worth noting, especially since copper will never contaminate your water supply. Also, the water from copper pipes seems to taste better, so if you have the time and the money, copper is still a great option. When it comes to cost and convenience however, PEX is far superior. To learn more about how the plumbing experts at Lillie Family LTD can help you choose between copper and PVC piping on your next plumbing job, be sure to contact us directly to discuss the job and get a quote today!