PEX plumbing pipe is becoming popular nowadays in both commercial and residential uses. For the hot and cold-water supply lines, this type of piping is used. This piping is popular for its flexible and easy connection method.
Classification & Different Types of Pex Tubing
Choosing the best type of PEX tubing is essential to build any connection. If you know all the different types of pex tubing, you can select the right one for your needs. PEX tubing can be classified based on the manufacturing process. The three manufacturing processes for PEX tubing are-
- Peroxide method which is used to manufacture PEX-A tubing
- The saline way which is used to make PEX-B tubing, and
- Irradiation method is used for manufacturing PEX-C tubing.
- The letters A, B, and C don’t indicate the grade of the PEX tubing, but these letters are used to understand the manufacturing process of the pipe.
Few things you will need to consider while buying a PEX tube
While choosing any of those PEX tubing’s, you will need to look for the international standard for installing pipes. Few more things you need to add are-
- Pressure and temperature rating:
The first thing you will need to look for while buying a PEX tube is the pressure and temperature ratings. This rating indicates how much pressure the tube can handle.
- Minimum bending radius
For connecting with the other tube, the pipe should bend well. So, before buying a PEX tube, you need to check the minimum bending radius of the pipe.
- The thickness of the pipe wall
The thickness of the pipe wall is another most essential thing which you need to consider. Along with pipe wall thickness, you will also need to look for the ID or OD dimension. These things are determined based on the manufacturing tolerances.
However, sometimes you will get those features only in some specific brands. Some brands might not match those criteria, and you will need to set some separate standards to buy those. One should buy a PEX tube based on the technical features, dimension, and rating of the product. In this article, you will get to know about the manufacturing process, features, and other vital specifications of PEX pipe.
Related – Find out the top pex crimping tools
Peroxide method is used in manufacturing PEX-A tube. The manufacturing process of this PEX tool is also known as the Engel method. Tomas Engel has developed the process of making PEX-A tubing. On the process of manufacturing PEX-A tube, free radicals are created through HDPE polymer. A cross-link between the molecules occurs when HDPE polymer is melted.
PEX-B is probably the highest manufacturing pipe among the companies. It is manufactured using the cross-linking method. The process of manufacturing PEX-B is also known as saline or moisture cure method. A cross-link between the molecules and HDPE polymer is created after an extrusion process. A catalyst is used for completing the process of extrusion.
PEX-C pipe is made of using the cold cross-linking method. Electronic irradiation is used for the technique. After the extrusion process, the cross-linking of the molecule is done. On the process of extrusion, a pipe is exposed to the electron radiation beam.
Video Credit – PEX Universe
What are the differences among different PEX pipes?
There are some apparent differences among the PEX pipes. For different reasons, different PEX pipes are being used. Here, I am describing the differences and pros and cons of different pipes.
- Among all kind of PEX pipes, you will get the highest flexibility and softness in this pipe. So, this pipe can easily be bendable.
- You can get the highest degree of cross-linking with this pipe.
- Coil memory will not be available in this piping.
- With a heat gun, all the kinks can be repaired.
- The price of this PEX pipe is higher than the other pipes.
- The bursting pressure of this pipe is lower than the PEX-B pipe.
- You will get many variations in the wall thickness of this pipe.
- There may be possible leakage of the chemical.
- The pipe has the highest oxidative resistance and manufactured with most top chlorine.
- The bursting pressure of this pipe is the highest.
- You can get this pipe on the lower price than the PEX-A pipe and PEX-B pipe.
- The dimensional tolerance of this pipe is most moderate.
- The pipe is a stiffer kind one which may create problems while joining with others.
- The cross-linking ratio of this PEX pipe is lower than the other ones.
- It has a noticeable amount of coil memory.
- The kinks of this piping can only be repaired with the splicing.
- PEX-C pipe is softer and more flexible than PEX-B pipe.
- It also doesn’t have any coil memory like PEX-A.
- The manufacturing process of this pipe is environment-friendly.
- The cracks can’t be repaired or developed quickly.
- The number of cross-linking is limited.
- The kinks can’t be repaired easily; it can only be fixed with coupling.
So, which PEX tubing you should choose?
It’s a hard choice to choose any piping material for your home or commercial places.
PEX-A tubing is a popular type of tubing for the flexibility and ease of use. The pipe can be used for over 50 years without any issue. The pipe is easier to install and repair also. With a heat gun, the installer can repair the kink quickly. As it has no coil memory, it is easier to fix with a heat gun.
But there are some drawbacks too in this type of piping. The rate of chemical leaching is higher in this type of piping. Sometimes the chemical leaching rate goes 50% to 200% higher than the other type of piping. Another drawback is the pricing. The price of this piping is higher than the other piping for the fittings and tools is has.
Coming to the PEX-B pipe, it is an ideal choice both in terms of price and quality. The PEX-B pipe can last long over 40 years. PEX pipe needs to have excellent resistance to oxidation for easy plumbing installation. The PEX-B pipe has better resistance than PEX-B. So, the pipe can be installed easily.
One of the significant drawbacks of the PEX-B pipe is the stiffness. It is not too stiff, so the plumber faces trouble while installing it. The existing coil memory also creates problem while establishing. It is quite difficult to bend the pipe. If any kinks occur during the installation of the pipe, the repairing process is complicated; it can only be repaired with the coupling.
PEX-C is less popular piping than the other two tubing’s. For the hydronic and radiant heating use, this pipe is suitable.
For the cold and hot water plumbing, both PEX-A and PEX-B are suitable. For radiant floor heating, baseboard, and radiators, any of the PEX pipes can be used. But PEX-B offers more safety, eco-friendly feature, and durability. Moreover, the price of PEX-B is even lower than PEX-A.
While purchasing a PEX pipe, you will need to make sure that the third-party certifies the pipe. The pipes must meet the international standard of water safety and plumbing.