Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Plumbing With PEX

Even though I haven't worked with PEX, It's pretty fascinating stuff. It's just another success story of the capitalist system that we enjoy. Profit motive + highly-educated research scientists + investment cash = innovative products that can adapt to many facets of life.

In this case, chemical engineers in the 50s were looking for a material to modify the polymer chains in polyethylene so that it wouldn't soften as the temperature rises.

They found it and as a result we can now install plumbing with PEX. It's got many things to recommend it:
  • It's totally flexible, so it can go right around corners. No more having to deal with rigid 45 and 90 degree connectors.
  • It uses a variety of connectors. Since it doesn't expand or contract with temperature changes, the connectors don't leak, and no more sweating copper pipe or gluing up PVC.
  • Manifolds are available for splitting off water distribution. Some even have shutoff valves that allow you to be flexible (no pun intended).
PEX is great for kitchen and bathroom remodel projects. The work goes fast and inexpensive. Some of the connectors do not require a plumbing license. I know this is important since all of you DIYers pull building permits, right?

Wink, wink, nod, nod...

But if rather have a contractor handle it for you, the smart money calls Angie's List.

One cool thing is that you can buy the tubing in blue and red for color-coding cold and hot lines. Takes the guesswork out of it. Now if they would just put braille on it...

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