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Disadvantages of Pex Plumbing

PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material and is popular, along with copper, as a choice for piping in homes and for potable water. Problems with lead pipes and other materials led to many people choosing PEX over others. PEX has a lot of advantages such as 60% cheaper than copper for projects and it is flexible. Unfortunately, as with most things there are disadvantages.

What are the disadvantages of PEX plumbing? Since it is a plastic material, rodents seem to like to chew on it. Also, it can’t be used outdoors because it doesn’t like the UV rays or the cold weather, as well as it can’t be recycled (although you can paint the portions that are exposed to sunlight). Additionally, it cannot be connected directly to a water heater and must have a copper line to attach itself to.

Let’s take a look at why you need to know about these pipes, the advantages, the disadvantages, other options, maintenance, and when to call a professional.

Why Knowing About the Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing is Important

In life, we have a lot of choices to make. Some of them are related to our home, while others may be what we want to buy at the grocery store or what kind of car we want to drive. However, when it comes to piping inside the home, there are choices.

As mentioned earlier, the two most popular are copper and PEX. If you are looking for outdoor plumbing or worried about rodents getting a hold of your pipes, then PEX is not for you. We will discuss the advantages but also disadvantages of PEX plumbing and then you can decide for yourself what is best for you.

Advantages of PEX Plumbing

There are several advantages to PEX plumbing. Let’s take a look:

1. Adaptable and Easy to Use

It is a flexible material that can be used in long pipe runs, doesn’t require as many fittings as other pipes, and can make 90 degree turns without elbow fittings. It also has an advantage over rigid plumbing in that if there are freezing temperatures, then the pipes can expand and making it less likely to burst. Many new home construction and existing home contractors like this material to use. It can even be used in the exterior of a home that is cold if it has foam insulation wrapped around it.

2. PEX Connection is Easier

PEX can be connected easier than copper or PVC. While copper requires soldering and PVC requires glue, PEX uses a crimping tool.

Shut off valve on PEX

3. PEX Has a Shut Off Valve and More Resistant to Chemicals

Another advantage of PEX is the material is less likely to corrode from a humid environment. Unlike copper, which can corrode in salty environments and eventually leak.

4. Lead Free and Can Be Used in Hot and Cold Water

Not only is PEX lead-free, but it has the ability to be used in hot and cold water. Other materials don’t always perform well in both temperatures of water. Additionally, it can have an adapter attached to it to connect to the existing copper or PVC pipe.

Mouse in a pipe

Disadvantages of PEX Plumbing

As the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to talk about these.

1. The Material Does Not Work Outside in Freezing Temperature Climates

PEX plumbing is fine inside the walls of a home, no matter the temperatures as it can be covered with insulation. However, one of the disadvantages of PEX plumbing is it cannot be used outdoors in cold climates as there is no way to cover them and protect them from freezing temperatures.

2. Rodents Like the Plastic Pipes

Depending on where you live, your neighborhood may have a rule that says you can’t use PEX pipes. This is often seen in rural areas or in cities as trash around the city can lead to a large number of rodents.

The rodents then look for ways into a home and often chew through pipes like these. The good thing is you can call a professional to get rid of rodents before they cause too much damage. This is something to think about if there is a problem in your area.

3. Some Pex Types Have Had Issues

It is not entirely confirmed yet, but some professionals do not like Pex as it too closely resembles polybutylene. Ultimately, Pex is still relatively new so it has some time to officially prove itself as reputable piping.

Copper pipes

Other Options for Materials: Copper Pipes and CPVC

Copper and PEX are the two most popular materials for pipes, but ranking up there too is CPVC.

Here is a great video that compares Copper, PEX, and CPVC

Copper Pipes

Fifty to seventy years is a long time for pipes, but copper pipes can last that long, depending on the type of pipe. There are three types: Type K, L, M. Type L is used in residential homes and is more cost-effective than the other two. It has medium thickness and best for carrying drinking water. Also, it is highly recommended by plumbers and perfect for residential homes. Lastly, it also can last sometimes up to 100 years in ideal conditions.

There are two types of copper pipes:

Rigid Copper– this is a material that is used for the water supply in a house or building. It is cut into pieces and can be soldered together.

Flexible Copper Tubing – it is malleable, used in short runs, and is flexible.

Copper Versus PEX

Copper is different than PEX in that the pipe material can be recycled. However, the disadvantages are that it is expensive. This type of material costs about $285 for 100 feet of piping compared to PEX which is $30 per 100 feet. That is a big difference in price!

CPVC

Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride also known as CPVC is a lot like PVC except that CPVC is chlorinated and allows it to be able to deal with the extreme hot and cold temperatures that PVC cannot.

CPVC has a long life, is easy to use, and cheaper than copper at $1.24 per foot. It can also tolerate up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for the temperature of the water. The only negative is it is not flexible like Pex.

water leak in ceiling

Maintenance Around the House

We all spend a lot of time in our kitchen so when you are in there, check to see if there is a leaking kitchen sink drain. Often we don’t know unless we hear water or we reach under the sink and there is a puddle or the cleaning supplies are wet.

Check around the home for water leaks in the wall. If you see wet spots or mold or mildew or hear water running, you may have a water leak and need to call a professional.

Take a look at your homeowner’s inspection report to see what type of pipes you have. If they are polybutylene, then you need to replace the pipes. These will wear out quickly and cause leaks or they will burst.

Consult your water bill and check your yard for any signs of leaky pipes. Signs would be your bill is higher than usual, also that there may be cracked pavement or sinkholes.

Go over to your water heater and flush it every six months to make sure it stays clean. You will also want to adjust the temperature and reset.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you have questions about the type of pipes to use, what kind you have in your home or any other issues. They know what will work well in the home. If you hire someone with experience and has the credentials, the pipes should be installed correctly.

Conclusion

Knowing about the piping in your home is important. You want to know what what you have or plan to get is appropriate for where you live. Talk to a professional for recommendations. Waypoint Property Inspection East will inspect your plumbing system during your home inspection in South Florida and Boca Raton, FL.

Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain: How to Fix It

We use the kitchen sink all the time from putting water in a pot to washing dishes and hands to throwing away food particles. It is always in use. Noticing that the kitchen sink drain is leaking can be frustrating and instantly you are thinking, how much will this cost me.

Do you see water and are wondering why do I see a leaking kitchen sink drain? There are 7 different areas you can check and try before calling a professional. Those are: under the drain for a leak, the faucet, a loose connection under the sink, clogged P-trap, damaged O- ring, washers that are worn out, or a corroded valve seat.

Let’s take a look at why knowing the reason the kitchen sink drain is leaking is important, how to find the reasons why it is leaking, other maintenance, and when to call a professional.

You Need to Know Why Fixing a Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain is Important

As mentioned above, the kitchen is a popular place in the home. The sink in the kitchen is always in use so a homeowner will usually notice if there is an issue such as a leak. You want to get this fixed right away before there is expensive and possibly irreparrable damage. This is one of many reasons why it is important to fix it right away so you can continue to utilize the kitchen and the sink.

Reasons Why You May Have a Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain

Worn out Putty on the Drain

This often is too thin or worn out and needs replacing. If you put the stopper or drain cover in the drain and fill the sink with water, then add a few drops of food coloring. This will allow you to see where the leak could be coming from. Then, take the drain or stopper out and look under the sink with a flashlight to see if there is a leak.

How to fix it: Replace the putty. If you need to replace the sink drain, that will be difficult and you may need a professional to help.

Leak at the Faucet

You may notice puddles around the faucet when the sink is turned on. If you do, this may be where the leak is. If you don’t see water by the faucet, then check underneath the sink.

How to fix it: Usually this means that you have gaskets that are worn out or failed washers. These can be easily replaced.

Loose water supply connection

Loose Water Supply Connection

If it is a constant leak, it could be an issue in the water supply as sometimes it can spring a leak. There are two water supply connections and you may not notice water leaking unless you look under the sink and the cabinet is soaking or there are wet objects.

How to fix it: Replace the gasket or tighten the connections and coupling nuts

The P trap is clogged

The P-Trap is Clogged

The P trap is under the sink and is curved at the bottom. It prevents the gases from coming up and out of the drain. Over time, debris that goes into the sink will fill this up and cause it to leak. Since it is under the sink, it is often difficult to know right away that this has a leak.

How to fix it: Clean out the P-trap or replace it if there is corrosion from metal parts. There is a P trap also in the bathroom sink. If either one becomes dry, then the sewer gases can escape. It is important to keep it unclogged so this doesn’t happen. Did you notice that there is no P trap and it is an S trap instead? If yes, then you need to contact a plumber and switch it out for you!

O-Ring Wears Out

The O-ring holds the stem of the faucet on and can wear out, thus causing leaking to occur near the handle.

How to fix it: Replacing the O-ring should fix the problem.

Worn Out Washer Can Cause a Leaking Kitchen Sink Drain

Most common reason for a sink to leak. The washers push against the valve seat every time the faucet turns on, thus wearing it out quickly.

How to fix it: Replace the washers

Corroding of the Valve Seat

This is the part that connects the spout and faucet and it can corrode because of water at the valve seat and spring a leak.

How to fix it: clean the valve seat regularly.

Interested in fixing the kitchen sink drain on your own? Here is a video on how to do that. If it is too much for you, reach out to a professional

Other Maintenance

Dishwasher Hose

While you are under the sink, make sure your dishwasher drain hose is not too long. If it is, tie it as a high loop. It needs to be higher than the water level of the dishwasher to prevent water from back flowing into the dishwasher.

Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal can last 10-15 years if you are using it properly and only putting items that are biodegradable in there. Non-food items, nuts, citrus etc. all go in the trashcan and stay out of the garbage disposal. You may find that when you are under the sink there is water coming from the garbage disposal. This would be due to worn out gaskets, loose screws or drain line connections.

Check the Water

It is a good time to check the water to make sure it isn’t cloudy and doesn’t smell. If it is, it could be due to having a well, sediment, or water in the lines. Sometimes even a change in temperature can cause this.

When to Call a Professional

Call a professional if you are not sure why the kitchen sink drain is leaking. It can be a number of reasons and may be difficult to figure out. Also, they are trained to help you in diagnosis and also in replacement, if needed.

Conclusion

The kitchen is a well-used part of the home and you want everything to be working correctly. We will look at the kitchen sink during our home inspections in Boca Raton and surrounding areas. Think you might need our services? Comment below!