We are all looking to save money these days and I am sure that I am not alone in that. Because the price of copper has been consistently rising more of us have been trying to find plastic options for piping and one of those I have spent considerable time researching is PEX tubing for plumbing use. As more of us are starting to use plastic tubing installations, the NAHB Research Center have recently been in partnership with other organizations to look at the pros and cons of both and to create a comparison report so that we can all see the differences between the two.
What did the report cover?
The report looked to compare average installation time, cost, and the performance of both metal and plastic tubing in plumbing installations. Testing started in 2005 at Liberty Village, (an urban community,) in four newly built homes with the same blueprints and architectural plans. The houses were 1,500 square feet with two bathrooms, each housing a full bath. Floor #2 also had a kitchen with a sink, a powder room complete with plumbing and washer and dryer hook-ups. There were also two hoses which connected through to the outside of the ground floor of the building.
Man hours needed
Apparently, installation was looked at first of all. PEX tubing took far less time to install, I think due to the fact that it is more flexible and there are limited joints and connections. As is usual, copper piping took more time to install, and required many more man hours.
Water flow results
Copper and Pex both performed well when water flow was tested. And as I have also found, PEX can deliver hot water at a much faster rate. In fact they found that PEX tubing delivered hot water up to 30% more speedily even to the bathroom farthest away in the house.
Okay, I know the study was way back in 2006 and copper was less expensive at that time, but think about how the price of that has increased in today’s market. PEX tubing was becoming increasingly in demand at the time, which also meant that it cost more than it does now. The overall findings of the comparison study were that PEX tubing was 28% less costly than copper and this included the man hours required for installation as well as the cost of the tubing and other supplies. It’s easy from this to see why I now choose PEX tubing instead of traditional copper.