PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, is tubing used in both hydronic radiant heating systems as well as domestic water systems. It has a number of advantages over metal piping or rigid plastic pipes. The tubing’s functionality comes from its flexibility and overall resistance to very high and low temperatures. It can also be routed with high-radius turns from a distribution point or a manifold to the fixture without needing to cut or splice the tubing. Flexible piping systems are also quieter than rigid systems which experience “water hammer” sounds when water quickly changes direction in the metallic piping. PEX tubing maintains its strength at below-freezing temperatures all the way up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit by expanding and contracting as water temperatures change.
PEX tubing also costs around 25% less for installation than alternative piping systems. Many times, home owners even manage to install their own systems with PEX tubing. In a home, the colors of the tubing are usually indicative of what the tubing is used for; either hot or cold water. PEX tubing also resists the buildup of chlorine and scale that normally occurs with copper piping. PEX also works fine with acidic water where copper piping would corrode. The expected lifetime of the tubing is around 50 years and, depending on the manufacturer, most of the lifetime could be covered by the warranty. PEX tubing does however degrade when exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light over extended periods of time and so cannot be used outdoors.
To work with PEX tubing, you’ll need certain tools. A pipe cutter is used to make clean and square cuts before inserting the tubing onto the fitting. A crimping tool is used to crimp a ring onto the PEX to make a secure connection to the fitting. And a de-crimping tool is used to remove the crimp ring should anything go wrong and remove the tube from the fitting.
They recommend the use of PEX Tubing
PEX Universe is the biggest online PEX Tubing Store in the heating and plumbing industry—and the premiere supplier for the HVAC professional.
Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association
National Association is the oldest trade association in the construction industry—and the premiere organization for the p-h-c professional.
National Association of Home Builders
NAHB is a trade association that helps promote the policies that make housing a national priority. Since 1942, NAHB has been serving its members, the housing industry, and the public at large.
Radiant Panel Association
An association of manufacturers, distributors, designers, dealers and installers of radiant panel heating and cooling systems and components.
U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation.