PEX is a popular choice for home water line plumbing because it costs less to install than metal pipe and requires less energy to manufacture. But it’s important to understand how different types of PEX tubing are made before you buy it. When you look at a roll of PEX in a store, it may be labeled A, B or C. These letters indicate the manufacturing process but do not reflect any differences in quality, performance or ratings between products.
There are three basic methods to connect PEX tubing: crimp, clamp or thermal expansion. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, but a good rule of thumb is to use a crimp connection when connecting to copper piping, a clamp connection for rigid tubing and a thermal expansion connection for flexible tubing.
In general, PEX is easier to work with than copper pipes, even for a beginner DIYer. But like all plastics, it’s vulnerable to freezing and thawing conditions that can cause deterioration and leaks. The good news is that the flexible nature of PEX tubing means it can bend rather than crack, minimizing costly repairs.
PEX is available in lengths ranging from convenient 10-foot sections, which are ideal for repairs or hose bib installations, to 500-foot rolls that can be used for building an entire home water supply system. If you’re replacing old plumbing, opt for 3-quarter inch PEX because it provides sufficient flow for most home uses and meets the minimum requirements of the National Plumbing Code. For optimal performance, choose a product that has been tested to CSA B137.5 and is rated for chlorine resistance, like SharkBite PEX. pex tubing