The Advantages of PEX Tubing

In recent years I have moved across to using PEX tubing (cross-linked polyethylene,) when installing a water supply piping system. I favor this system because it is flexible and easier to install than metal or rigid plastic tubing. It is also resistant to scaling and the effects of chlorine; it tends not to corrode or develop fissures or faults and has fewer connections and fittings, making it faster to install and therefore more cost-effective to the customer. I save time; they save money…everyone’s a winner! I use PEX tubing when installing central heating because it carries water far more quietly than copper pipes and doesn’t allow the transfer of heat as readily as the old copper pipes used to. This makes it a better prospect for the conservation of energy, which is something we all need to concern ourselves with.

Oxygen Barrier PEX.

Oxygen Barrier PEX Tubing

I now use Oxygen Barrier PEX in radiant or hydronic heating applications where iron, (or other ferrous components,) may be present in the system. When there are ferrous parts in the system, the oxygen molecules in water can result in a build-up of rust; by using oxygen barrier PEX I have found that it helps to prevent this corrosion. If you have gone for plumbing supplies and are not too sure which PEX tube you have, check out the surface appearance. If it has a shiny surface then it’s oxygen barrier PEX; while if the surface is matte, it’s normal PEX.

Non-barrier PEX Tubing.

Non-Barrier PEX Tubing

When there’s fresh water from a water main, I find it okay to use Non-barrier, (or normal,) PEX tubing for potable water plumbing applications. When I use non-barrier PEX, I’m always careful to ensure that every component in the system is non-ferrous (meaning that it contains no iron). There are only a few systems which do utilize non-barrier PEX and these are open systems. Non-barrier PEX for plumbing applications comes in red, white, and blue. Usually, red is used for hot water and blue is used for cold so I can easily tell which line goes where when I’m looking at a manifold.

Pex-Al-Pex Tubing.


Pex-Al-Pex (this has an aluminium layer sandwiched between the two PEX layers,) is a multi-layered pipe which I use in the installation of under-floor heating applications. One of the reasons I find it better to use is that it’s easily bent into tight corners and it maintains its shape without springing back. It also has much higher working and burst pressures than ordinary PEX and has better thermal conductivity. I find this results in enhanced heat transfer from the aluminum fins and through the PEX and into the water.

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