PEX Piping

PEX Repipe

PEX Repiping in Sacramento and Folsom

What is repiping? When your house is repiped, all the existing piping is replaced with new, upgraded piping, including the fittings and valves. This eliminates pinhole and slab leaks, creates better water pressure, eliminates dicolored water due to corroded pipes, and mitigates the risk of water damage from an unexpected pipe burst.

Why Do Sacramento Homeowners Repipe with PEX?

What are the main reasons for repiping your home? The number one reason for a repiping project is your water pipes is your existing pipes are at the end of their lifespan. Perhaps you notice low water pressure, or rust colored water, or you have read that your home has recalled piping. No matter the symptoms, if you have pipes that are end-of-life, corroded, or defective, they are in danger of spontaneously bursting. Often, pipes are hidden away behind walls, beneath flooring, or in out of sight places. This makes it difficult for homeowners to see corrosion, and know for certain they need a repipe project.

A repipe job is usually done because the pipes are old or defective, or have burst or are in danger of bursting. If you have rust-colored or bad smelling water, have low water pressure, notice visible oxidation on your pipes, or live in a home that has not had the pipes replaced in 50 years or more, you could be ready for a repipe.

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What is PEX Piping?

PEX is and abbreviation for cross-linked polyethylene. PEX piping is a polymer tubing that was initially created in 1968 by a German scientist named Thomas Engel. Early versions of PEX were used in the 1980s in Europe. It was not approved for construction in the United States until the 2000s, as earlier versions had issues with chlorine degradation and fittings. Since 2009, PEX pipe has been approved in California for residential, commercial, and industrial projects.

Today, there are three types of PEX piping, that are each manufactured in a slightly different manner. PEX-A is made using the “Engel method” and has the most cross-linking (about 85%), and is the most flexible, and also most expensive. PEX-B is most commonly used for residential purposes, and has about 60 to 70% cross-linking. PEX-B is also slightly stiffer than PEX-A, and is cross-linked after the extrusion process using a moisture cure, usually a hot water bath or steam sauna. PEX-C uses an electron beam to cross-link after the extrusion process, and has about 70 to 75 cross-linking. PEX-C is the stiffest of the three varieties.

PEX piping usually uses a valve manifold, though it is not necessary. A valve manifold makes it easier to troubleshoot issues. PEX is color-coded: red piping carries hot water, blue piping carries cold water, white piping can carry either.

Though originally used for hydronic radiant heat applications, PEX has been used for water supplies in residential construction for well over a decade across the United States.

Advantages of PEX Piping

Cheaper Than Copper Piping

PEX is less expensive than copper pipes, which fluctuates in price based on the supply chain and supply.

Freeze Proof: Pipes Won’t Burst

Because PEX is flexible, not rigid, it is far less less likely to burst from freezing in extreme cold.

Extremely Durable and Flexible

PEX is flexible enough to use in residential construction, but also is highly durable over time.

Fewer Fittings Means Easier Installation

One advantage with PEX is it requires less fittings than copper or other metallic pipes.

Long Lasting for Decades

The average time interior PEX pipes are projected to last is about 75 years, the lifetime of your home.

Corrosion Resistant to High pH Water

In areas with high pH water, PEX will not corrode or degrade. It is resistant to alkaline water.

Are There Any Reasons Not To Use PEX Piping?

Heavily chlorinated water can cause the polymers in PEX to break down owner time, causing eventual piping failure. Some manufacturers add antioxidants to the inside of the piping for this purpose. Those anti oxidants get broken down first, but once they are depleted, chlorine will start degrading the chemical bonds in the polymers that make up PEX.

Another weakness of PEX is one that is inherent to nearly all plastics and polymers—sunlight and UV rays will eventually cause them to degrade. If the piping is going to be outdoors, or exposed to indoor fluorescent lighting, the best choice is to go with copper piping instead, as copper suffers no degradation from UV rays.

One last consideration is whether your piping will be in contact with ground water. In soil that has been exposed to pesticides or gasoline (and the additive MTBE), that soil may still contain these toxins. These contaminants can permeate PEX piping, and may contaminate your potable water supply.

If you have questions about which type of materials you should use for your home’s repiping, the team at Wise Monkey Repipe & Construction can help you make an informed decision on the best options for repiping your Sacramento area home.

What Are Signs Your Home Needs Repiping?

Here are common signs your Sacramento area home requires repiping.

  • Your home was built fifty years or more ago. In decades past, it was common for home to use galvanized pipes, which are steel pipes dipped in a protective zinc coating. The problem with these pipes is they go through a process called dezincification in which zinc is leeched from the alloy. The end result is pipes with mineral buildup, and pipes that fail structurally. If your home is 50+ years old, and you have any of the other symptoms on this list, your home may require repiping.
  • Low water pressure. If your home experiences low water pressure from the faucet, and the water does not run properly, you likely have old galvanized pipes that have residue and mineral buildup due to degradation of the zinc alloy in the pipes.
  • Pinhole or slab leaks. Slab and pinhole leaks are leaks in your home’s piping. Slab leaks are when they occur under your foundation; pinhole leaks are when they occur above ground. If you see either of these, have a contractor inspect your home to see if you need repiping. Slab leaks can damage your foundation, and pinhole leaks can lead to mold and mildew issues. Both issues are very serious.
  • Discolored or funny-tasting water. If the water coming out of your faucets is reddish, yellowish, or rust-colored, it means that your pipes are corroded from the inside out. Similarly, if your water tastes nasty or strange, this can mean your pipes are bad.
  • Scalding hot water in the shower when someone runs the sink, flushes the toilet, or runs the dishwasher. Your water system is built to service all rooms in your house at once. When you see a surge in hot water when cold water is being run in another room, this means there is inadequate water pressure to the shower, and the cold water is being pulled from the bathroom to provide water for the other rooms. Usually this means your home has galvanized pipes, and the alloy has lost the zinc, and those minerals are now building up in your pipes. This is why you have poor water pressure, and two water sources cannot run normally at the same time.
  • Your current piping is made from Kitec, Polybutylene, or PVC. These are all plastics or polymers that were installed in homes, and several have lawsuits due to pipe failure and spontaneous bursting. Kitec in particular was used in the construction of many homes in the Sacramento, Folsom, and Roseville area. A settlement of $125 million dollars was dispensed for homes built in the United States and Canada using Kitec piping, which is prone to premature failure, causing water damage to thousands of homes.

Ready for a Repipe Project?

The team at Wise Monkey Repipe & Construction can help you through the process of replacing the old pipes in your home.

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