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2011-03-03 16:19:32

A new method for supplying hot and cold water to plumbing fixtures in homes is rapidly gaining greater acceptance by home builders and homeowners. Rather than the traditional method of running branch lines with many fittings and valves to each plumbing fixture, a manifold plumbing system has a central point for hot and cold water distribution, with individual lines running off of it. Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) piping is typically used with manifold systems.

PEX is a high-temperature, flexible, corrosion-resistant plastic pipe–not to be confused with polybutylene piping (PB). It is less labor intensive to install and makes use of mechanical connections, which eliminates the need for soldering. Its flexibility also makes it easier to install in both existing and new construction. PEX systems often stand out by the dark red and blue colored piping used by some manufacturers for the hot and cold water respectively.

Inappropriate comparisons of PEX to polybutylene piping (PB), which experienced problems with early generation systems in the 1970s and 1980s, has been somewhat of an obstacle to PEX’s general acceptance; but not all plastics are the same. While there have been problems with some fittings used for PEX pipe they generally have been more reliable than those used for the early PB systems. Also, current testing and installation requirements for PEX are much more stringent than when PB piping was first accepted and installed in housing.

While its use may still be locally restricted, it is currently approved for residential water supply systems in all model plumbing and mechanical codes across the United States and Canada. Expect to see more PEX piping in the future, particularly in new homes.

Provided by,

Doug Spiers / Associate Broker / Global Choice Real Estate / 801-726-7173

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