PEX Plumbing – 3 Things Every Buyer and Agent Should Know

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Published: September 13, 2015 Last Updated: July 16, 2017

Buyers often ask if the house is plumbed with Galvized, Copper or PEX. What do you say?

Test yourself – can you answer these questions ?

1. What does PEX  look like

2. Name 4 key features about PEX

3. What are two important things that an owner needs to know about PEX

1. What does PEX look like ?

PEX piping looks a little like a plastic hose material. It comes in different sizes and can be bent or curved in gentle circles or bends. The two most common colors are red and blue. Usually red is for hot water lines, and blue is for cold water lines.

2. Tell Your Buyer What’s Good About PEX

Tens of thousands of new homes are being plumbed with PEX piping

PEX piping, crosslinked polyethylene, is being used by many track home builders and individual plumbers for a number of reasons.

  1. It’s easier to install then copper piping.
  2. Less skilled labor is needed to install it. With copper piping a person has a lot of time consuming precise measurements to make and needs to be able to solder pipe, which is a skill.
  3. Cost savings. PEX is less costly.
  4. Stands up to cold or freezing temperatures better than copper
  5. Doesn’t corrode like copper or galvanized.
  6. More chemical resistant than copper piping

Older homes are being re-piped with PEX – WHY ?

The biggest reasons is cost and it’s easier. It is usually much cheaper to repipe a home with PEX than copper; plus the other advantages listed above.

3. What are two very important things that every owner should know about PEX ?

Sun light on PEX is BAD

PEX piping should not be exposed to direct sun light. It will deteriorate. When PEX is exposed to sun light for a period, say 60 days, the manufactures usually recommend that it be discarded and not used.

NOT for outside use where it will be exposed to the suns UV rays.

Sometimes home owners will use it for outside hose bibs or other exterior water lines. It will fail rather rapidly when exposed to the UV rays.

Rodents may chew on PEX

PEX will not stand up to rodents like copper piping does. When a home has PEX piping, it is probably wise to have a good rodent control program. Also, if PEX is running through the attic, a home owner should make sure that there is no damaged attic vents, holes or damaged attic screens where rodents could access the attic.

Even all PEX plumbed homes may have copper or brass

There are a few areas where it is very common to use copper, PEX and other materials combined. The water heater is one of these areas, because code requires that PEX not be connected directly to the water heater, but a minimum of 18 back from the connection to the  water heater. Also, at some stub out areas where a valve may be attached, a plumber may use copper or brass.

Ever opened a panel door in the garage or see many PEX lines going into one spliter box?

If so, then you have discovered a “Manifold“. The purpose of the manifold is to be able to shut off water going to just one special area, rather than shutting off all the water to the house.

You may be able shut off the water to one bathroom only should there be a leak in that bathroom. The advantage is that you still have water to the other bathrooms, kitchens, etc. A real plus or selling point for the house.


Bottom Line

PEX is in wide use in the plumbing industry. It has so far been performing well and is being used more and more. Generally it is considered to be equal or better than copper, however, both PEX and copper are great products.

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