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  • PEX vs copper

    I'm thinking about buying a modular home. They offer a choice of PEX or copper for supply lines. Is it worth the extra money for copper? I haven't gotten a price for the upgrade yet. Any comments on how much more copper should cost for a 2,500 sq ft, 2 1/2 bath home?

  • #2
    i have own a few trailer homes over the years and if i had a choice i would have went with copper as any repairs would have been much easyer also i would sujest that you get shut off valves at all your sinks and toilets so down te road if you need to repair or want to upgrade some thing you dont have to shut the whole home down i have ran into those problems often also if you live in an area that can freze i think you should get them to insulate and wrap it with heat tape as well.hope you enjoy your home
    9/11/01, never forget.

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    • #3
      Might be a toss up

      I'm a homebuilder that keeps some of my houses as rentals. I make more money renting than selling. I was a holdout. I remember the headaches associated with polybutelyene pipe and aluminum wire. It took a few years of work for my plumber to convince me to change from copper to pex. I changed two years ago, with no savings in cost. My thoughts were (and are):

      Some water is corrosive to copper. Over time (maybe a short time) the copper will fail. This same water will not damage pex.

      Some soils are corrosive to copper. These same soils will not damage pex.

      Concrete can be corrosive to copper, not pex.

      Freezing will destroy copper, not pex.

      Copper joints can appear fine though there is a minute leak. over time, that leak will erode the joint. This is less likely with pex.

      Because pex is flexible and expandable, you are less likely to get a water hammer with pex. Water hammers, aside from being an annoyance can be damaging.

      There is not a 50 year track record with pex. It may fail, I hope not. I don't believe that it will have problems greater than copper.

      Remember, many thought it was short sighted to switch from cast-iron waste to pvc or abs. Turns out the plastics, aside from being much cheaper and easier to work with perform better to.

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      • #4
        Although I agree with OSC on the repairs being easier, I still think that I would go with the pex. I am not an expert of any kind, but from what I have learned about the 2 in the past couple years and some basic research, I tend to lean towards the pex. Just my opinion.

        WWS
        Still enjoying all 10 fingers!

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        • #5
          Ahhhh the good ol pex vs copper debate. Both have their pros and cons no doubt! In a modular home I'd go copper. What type of pex system is offered? They're not all created equal.
          You will never expand your mind, if you do not challenge your beliefs.

          By the reading of this post, you acknowledge and agree that the poster shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any content contained herein.

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          • #6
            Hondahead: Pex wasn't around when I worked in the trades, so I am trying to learn a little about it. I'm curious why you say you would use pex in a modular home? Why should a modular be any different than a "stick built"?

            Jim

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            • #7
              pex must be kept out of direct sunlight. this can cause failure issues, as well as how hot of water is running thru it.

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              • #8
                Cant say one way or the other,
                I am a mechanical engineer dealing with Commercial/hospitals ME&P systems and we (the partners) have agreed not to allow "PEX" piping on any projects at this time. This does not mean we dont have faith in it, it just has not been around long enough for me to stick my neck out on it yet.

                On the flip side, I personally think it will be just fine with a few things considered; 1. keep out of sunlight (as mentioned earlier), 2. temperature must be considered a factor. the constant cycling of temperature on the heating water side bothers me and my brother (my brother is a Polymer Scientist , i.e. plastics know it all ) with it going from say 40 degrees to 140 degrees then back to 40 as showers, dishwashing etc take place during the winter. Time will tell on this. and lastly, it just has not been around long enough.

                On a personal note, I built a home in 1999 with all copper, I hope to start construction on a new residence sometime in late 2006 or 2007 and will probalby go with pex after stubbing in the wet wall. I will require copper within 4 feet of the water heater, but everything else will be all pex.

                Bottom line of my opinion, if cost is not a real issue, I would go with the copper, If the pex is a lot cheaper, I would question it as mentioned earlier, all "PEX" is not created equal. there is some cheap junk out there just waiting to cause problems.

                sorry to be long winded, been a long day and the beer is cold!..

                Good luck with the new home.

                Biscuit

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                • #9
                  Cant say one way or the other,
                  I am a mechanical engineer dealing with Commercial/hospitals ME&P systems and we (the partners) have agreed not to allow "PEX" piping on any projects at this time. This does not mean we dont have faith in it, it just has not been around long enough for me to stick my neck out on it yet.

                  On the flip side, I personally think it will be just fine with a few things considered; 1. keep out of sunlight (as mentioned earlier), 2. temperature must be considered a factor. the constant cycling of temperature on the heating water side bothers me and my brother (my brother is a Polymer Scientist , i.e. plastics know it all ) with it going from say 40 degrees to 140 degrees then back to 40 as showers, dishwashing etc take place during the winter. Time will tell on this. and lastly, it just has not been around long enough.

                  On a personal note, I built a home in 1999 with all copper, I hope to start construction on a new residence sometime in late 2006 or 2007 and will probalby go with pex after stubbing in the wet wall. I will require copper within 4 feet of the water heater, but everything else will be all pex.

                  Bottom line of my opinion, if cost is not a real issue, I would go with the copper, If the pex is a lot cheaper, I would question it as mentioned earlier, all "PEX" is not created equal. there is some cheap junk out there just waiting to cause problems.

                  sorry to be long winded, been a long day and the beer is cold!..

                  Good luck with the new home.

                  Biscuit

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As a plumbing/pipefitting foreman in So. California I am certified for and have installed Pex. My opinion is this:

                    I had no problems, but Honda is correct. There are a number of different Pex joining systems.

                    BigThom is correct that there is not a tract record to rely on.

                    My opinion as a plumber, would be to stick with copper at this time.
                    the dog

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for all the replys. You've been most helpful.
                      If I can afford copper, I'll get that. Especially since I'm asking for only rough in kitchen and baths. It would probably be easier for me to work with copper.

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                      • #12
                        I've been installing PEX now for years. When I first started working with it, I was skeptical myself, especially after the dismal track record of Quest products. But now after having worked with it for awhile, and most of the top brands (I install Vanguard, Wirsbo, Rehau depending on contract) and I've not yet had enough serious call-backs or leaks after jobs completed for me to worry about it anymore. I used to think that if I were to build a home for myself, I'd stick to copper since pex is'nt as tried and tested, but I've since changed my mind....I would'nt care if my house was plumbed with pex now. Matter of fact, depending on locale and hardness of the water supply, I'd PREFER pex, and also for scenarios where freezing of pipes may occur, since bursting is'nt a concern with pex but most certainly is with copper.

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