Q: What’s the big hoopla about PEX plumbing?
A: In most cases, it’s much ado about nothing.
Plastic piping incorporating three layers of material, and referred to as PEX-AL-PEX has created a firestorm of attention in recent years, including a much-debated class action law suit involving trade names such as Kitec and PlumbBetter.
A layer of aluminum sandwiched between two layers of PEX (polyethylene, cross-linked) was designed to reduce oxygen and chemical leaching.
So, what’s the big deal?
Turns out the aluminum layer in certain water conditions, can cause “dezincification” and failure of the brass fittings used with this system… especially if they are substandard brass fittings.
Turns out also that if, and when PEX-AL-PEX is mistaken for common PEX, and incorrectly fitted with crimp rings or heat-shrink methods - it will be physically damaged and probably fail (not the fault of the product.)
So, how are we supposed to know the difference?
Follow these links to find information you can use to easily identify the type of hot and cold water piping in a home.
What The Heck is KITEC?
How do I spot KITEC?
More about PEX piping
When in doubt, call a licensed plumber or ask your home inspector.
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Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.
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