Pex vs. copper pipe

PEX Piping vs. Copper Piping

Which plumbing pipe is better? Now you’re probably wondering what PEX piping is. Well, it is cross-linked polyethylene pipe. After going through several processes, the material becomes durable for extreme temperatures (hot or cold), creep deformation which happens from long-term exposure to stress, and chemical attack from acids, alkalies and the like. All of this makes PEX an excellent piping substance for hot and cold water systems, especially since PEX is flexible and well adapted for temperatures below freezing all the way up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

As mentioned above, PEX is a flexible and easy to install. PEX is also resistant to breaks in cold weather and has fewer joints, bringing your costs down. So PEX has a cost advantage.

Since copper piping has been around for decades, we know that the metal is durable and flexible, making it easy to install – especially compared to iron pipes. Copper piping also provides a biostatic atmosphere, making it difficult for bacteria to grow inside of it, which is an important health consideration.

Copper also resists corrosion and is unaffected by ultraviolet rays, which means it can be used for outside needs. This is unlike PEX pipes, which are affected by ultraviolet rays and therefore should not be used outside. However, copper can corrode due to the pH of the water if it is too acidic or too basic for the pipes.

The choice between PEX and copper is solely yours, but keep in mind a few of the advantages and disadvantages of each system before you decide.

Advantages of PEX:

  • Adaptable and easy-to-use plumbing system
  • INEXPENSIVE compared to copper
  • Can be used with hot and cold water
  • Can also be used with metal and PVC piping
  • PEX has fewer fittings, making it faster to install and with less of a chance to leak
  • PEX is more burst-resistant due to its flexibility to expand and contract
  • It has a shutoff valve at each supply line, making it more convenient for you when you have to get repairs done
  • PEX can have a pressure balanced system
  • Since it is flexible, the pipes can be bent around most corners and usually won’t need a coupling or fitting

Disadvantages of PEX:

  • It cannot be used outside
  • Cannot be recycled, due to its shorter life use
  • It provides an impermeable membrane that may allow the possibility of water contamination
  • The pipes may be damaged if left outside for a long period of time

Advantages of Copper:

  • Durable and flexible, making it easy to install safer in natural disasters and bacteria-resistant
  • Resists corrosion, more so than other metals
  • Unaffected by ultraviolet rays, so it can be used outside
  • Copper does not release toxic gases in a fire
  • Copper is recyclable, making it a more sound environmental choice

Disadvantages of Copper Piping

  • Can corrode
  • Has become expensive
  • With higher levels of copper from corrosion, water can have a metallic taste
  • Copper can freeze and break during cold water

We Asked Mike Duncan, Master Plumber and owner of Duncan Plumbing Solutions which he prefers and he said,

“I prefer PEX. Copper is expensive and can break in extreme temperatures. The polyethylene pipe (PEX) will give a little, so it’s not as likely to break as copper.  PEX is faster and easier to install and it is easier to drain the system since each line is independent to the incoming source of water. You can turn off each segment. Copper runs all together and is a lot harder to install since you have solder.”

Duncan Plumbing Solutions | Phone: 972-937-0040 | | | Cedar Hill Plumber 75104 | Duncanville Plumber 75116 | Desoto Plumber 75115 | Mansfield Plumber 76063 | Waxahachie Plumber 75165 | Red Oak Plumber 75154 | Waxahachie Plumber 75165 | Ennis Plumber 75119 Master License # M-39624



  1. wonderful post. Its really informative and will help me lot. Thanks for posting 🙂

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