PEX Pipe FAQs
What is PEX?
SharkBite® PEX pipe is a cross-linked polyethylene tubing that provides an excellent option for plumbing, radiant and hydronic systems in both residential and commercial plumbing applications. When combined with our push-to-connect fittings, manifolds, valves and other supplies, PEX pipe offers the fastest way to plumb any project. PEX pipe is made from cross-linked HDPE (high density polyethylene). The HDPE is melted and continuously extruded into a tube to form a high-performing pipe suitable for a variety of potable and non-potable plumbing applications.
What are the differences in the red, white, blue, gray and orange PEX pipe?
There are no performance differences between red, white, blue and white PEX and all are intended for use in potable water systems. The colors can be used to easily distinguish between hot and cold distribution lines. Orange PEX pipe is an oxygen barrier PEX pipe used only for hydronic heating applications.
Can I use PEX pipe for compressed air applications?
No, PEX pipe is not intended for compressed air applications.
Can I use PEX pipe for radiant or hydronic heat applications?
Yes, PEX pipe is approved for radiant or hydronic heating applications. Since ferrous components are likely to be present in the system, it is important to use oxygen barrier PEX pipe to help prevent ferrous components from rusting.
Learn more: SharkBite Radiant PEX Tubing
Is PEX pipe freeze resistant?
Yes, PEX pipe is freeze-damage resistant. PEX pipe will expand if frozen and contract to its original shape when thawed. PEX pipe is not freeze-proof. You should use the same standard insulation precautions with PEX pipe to help prevent freezing.
Can PEX pipe be joined with solvent cement?
No. PEX pipe does not require glue or cement, and can simply be joined with push-to-connect fittings, metal insert fittings, or plastic insert fittings for a watertight seal.
Can I use PEX pipe outside?
PEX pipe is not approved for outdoor applications and is not approved for continuous UV exposure. PEX pipe should not be stored in direct sunlight.
Why is PEX better than copper pipe?
PEX pipe is easier to install than rigid pipe, and it is available in long coils that can eliminate the need for extra fittings. PEX pipe is flexible and can be navigated around obstacles. For more than 30 years PEX pipe has proven its durability and shown that it is not susceptible to problems found in metal piping systems such as reduced ID (occlusion), corrosion, electrolysis, filming, mineral build-up and water velocity wear.
Download now: Homeowners Comparison: PEX v. Copper
Why is PEX better than CPVC pipe?
PEX pipe is easier to install than rigid pipe, and it is available in long coils which can eliminate the need for extra fittings. PEX pipe is flexible and can be navigated around obstacles. PEX pipe doesn’t require the use of glue or cement, can be air tested and can be installed in wet or dry conditions. Additionally, PEX pipe is freeze-damage resistant whereas CPVC pipe is susceptible to cracking at temperatures below 50°F.
Download now: Homeowners Comparison: PEX vs. CPVC
Does SharkBite offer a warranty on its PEX plumbing system?
SharkBite PEX pipe carries a 25-year warranty against any manufacturer’s defect as long as the item has been installed per the installation instructions and complies with local code.
Learn more: SharkBite Warranty
What are the benefits of PEX pipe?
PEX pipe is part of a water supply piping system that has several benefits over metal pipe or rigid plastic pipe systems. It is flexible, resistant to scale and chlorine. PEX pipe doesn’t corrode or develop pinholes. Plus, it is faster to install than metal or rigid plastic and has fewer connections and fittings.
Can PEX be used under a concrete slab?
Yes, PEX pipe can be installed under a concrete slab. Since PEX pipe is supplied in coils, installation can be completed in one continuous length without the need for extra fittings. PEX pipe can also be encased within a slab, which is commonly used for radiant floor heating. In cases where PEX pipe penetrates a concrete slab, it must be protected with a nonmetallic sleeve at the penetration point.
How soon after installation can you pressure test PEX tubing?
PEX pipe can be pressurized for testing as soon as all necessary connections have been made.
Where is PEX pipe approved for plumbing use?
PEX pipe is approved for residential and commercial hot and cold water distribution systems, municipal water service lines, radiant panel heating systems, hydronic baseboard heating systems, snow and ice melting systems and building services pipe.
Can PEX save me money?
Yes, PEX pipe can save money in numerous ways. PEX pipe is more cost effective than copper. Plus, PEX pipe is flexible which makes it fast to install and requires fewer directional fittings. When SharkBite PEX pipe and fittings are used together, the labor savings are huge.
What is the difference between PEX-A, PEX-B and PEX-C?
The cross-linking method is the difference between PEX-A, PEX-B and PEX-C. Cross-linking is defined as polyethylene material that has undergone a change in molecular structure using a chemical or a physical process whereby the polymer chains are chemically linked. SharkBite non oxygen barrier pipe is manufacture as PEX-B and SharkBite oxygen barrier pipe is manufactured as PEX-C.
As background, the methods for cross-linking are:
- PEX-A: Peroxide – This method employs organic peroxides that, when heated, generate reactive free radicals that splice PEX chains together during extrusion
- PEX-B: Silane This method involves grafting a reactive silane molecule to the backbone of the polyethylene
- PEX-C: Electron beam This method involves subjecting the extruded PE pipe to a dose of high-energy electrons
What is the hottest water that can be run through PEX pipe?
The temperature of the water is dependent on the pressure setting:
- 74°F (23°C) @ 160 psi
- 180°F (82°C) @ 100 psi
- 200° F (93°C) @ 80 psi
Can PEX be exposed to sunlight?
No, PEX pipe is not approved for continuous UV exposure. PEX pipe should not be stored in direct sunlight.
Does SharkBite PEX piping affect drinking water quality?
Is SharkBite PEX chlorine resistant?
SharkBite PEX pipe meets the highest levels of chlorine resistance available.
Can SharkBite PEX pipe be buried?
Yes, SharkBite PEX pipe is approved to AWWA C904 which covers PEX pipe in regards to burial. Be sure to check with local, city or state codes to see if the pipe needs to have sleeves or any type of protective burial for your area. PEX pipe can be used as a service line based on its corrosion resistance to soil and water, its long life, and its oxidative resistance.
Learn more: American Water Works Association
Can I install SharkBite PEX pipe near a heat source such as heating appliances or gas flue vents?
Keep the PEX pipe a minimum of 12 in. vertically and 6 in. horizontally from sources of high heat such as recessed light fixtures, gas flue vents, heating appliances or electric motors. Forced air heating ducts are not generally considered sources of high heat. These areas of installation should be rechecked after further construction and other mechanical systems have been installed.
SharkBite PEX pipe is very difficult to uncoil, what is the best method for achieving this?
PEX pipe can’t be heated or exposed to a direct flame. The best method to the pipe for straightening is by soaking the pipe in warm water or running warm water through the pipe. Please make sure that the pipe is not exposed to direct UV rays.
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