PEX is a copper substitute for domestic plumbing. And while today’s post title might be a bit of a hyperbole, the stuff is still pretty nifty. The word PEX comes from its formal name “Cross Linked Polyethylene”. It’s a convenient substitute for copper because the connection points do not require ‘sweating’ (a process that involves torch, flux, and solder.)
My first experience with PEX went well. For whatever reason, I envisioned this stuff working with all slide and lock connectors – in fact most joints require a crimping tool (otherwise the plumbing components cost about 5 bucks a piece – compared to 2.50ish) Still, it’s a pretty easy to use.
PEX joints are made with small rings of metal which need to be crimped to provide a water tight connection between the plastic PEX tubing and the brass elbows and connectors. Since this was a small job, I cheaped out on the crimping tool. While it was the fiscally intelligent decision, this choice resulted in a lot more muscle to crimp the fasteners together.
It took about five hours to get all of the equipment from Home Depot and install the plumbing. Now that I’ve done it once, I could probably do it in about half that time. An expert could do it in 45-60m.
Verdict: Use PEX wherever possible in home plumbing applications.