Pex Pipe Basics: Understanding the Different Types of PEX Piping

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) pipe is a popular choice for plumbing systems due to its flexibility, durability, and resistance to corrosion. There are different types of PEX pipe available, each with its own unique features and applications. Here are the common types of PEX pipe:

1. PEX-A:

PEX-A pipe is manufactured using the Engel method, which involves cross-linking the polyethylene molecules using high-pressure and high-temperature conditions. PEX-A pipe is the most flexible type of PEX and has excellent shape memory, allowing it to return to its original shape even after being stretched or bent. This flexibility makes it easier to work with and suitable for various plumbing applications.

2. PEX-B:

PEX-B pipe is manufactured using the Silane method, which involves cross-linking the polyethylene molecules using a chemical process. PEX-B pipe is slightly less flexible than PEX-A but still offers good durability and resistance to cracking or bursting. It is a popular choice for residential plumbing systems due to its affordability and ease of installation.

3. PEX-C:

PEX-C pipe is also manufactured using the Silane method but undergoes an additional process called post-extrusion electron beam cross-linking. This process enhances the strength and durability of the pipe. PEX-C pipe is slightly stiffer than PEX-A and PEX-B but still more flexible than traditional rigid plumbing materials. It is commonly used in commercial and industrial applications.

4. PEX-AL-PEX:

PEX-AL-PEX pipe, also known as multilayer or composite PEX, consists of multiple layers of PEX and aluminum. The aluminum layer provides enhanced strength, resistance to temperature and pressure fluctuations, and improved oxygen barrier properties. PEX-AL-PEX pipe is commonly used for radiant heating systems, snow melting applications, and other high-performance installations.

It’s important to note that the availability and specific characteristics of PEX pipe may vary depending on the manufacturer and local building codes. When selecting PEX pipe, consider factors such as the application, installation requirements, and compatibility with fittings and other components. Consulting with a professional plumber or adhering to local plumbing codes can help ensure the appropriate type of PEX pipe is selected for your specific needs.