PEX and CPVC are two different kinds of water distribution pipes used inside a home. There are other options besides those two, but those are the main plastic solutions that are being put in homes today. They are definitely modern options, so if you have a really old home with original plumbing, chances are good that you have either copper or galvanized pipes. Let’s take a look at the differences and advantages of PEX and CPVC.
PEX is basically a flexible tubing that’s used for water piping. CPVC is more of a vanilla/cream color, and it comes in stick pipes where the fittings need to be glued together. (We have definitely done a lot of repairs on these types of systems.) One important point to mention about PEX is that not all PEX pipes are alike. There are many different brands, fitting systems, and grades of PEX.
For a little backstory about how PEX came about, it really was brought into the industry to replace QEST/Quest (polybutylene) pipes, which were gray-colored and a lot of trouble to deal with. There were many lawsuits and issues related to Quest pipes, and a different type of piping was overwhelmingly demanded.
There are two main types of PEX pipes: A and B. A type PEX is what our company uses to repipe homes. B type PEX is more mainstream, where the fittings are inserted on the inside of the pipe and crimped together. If you have a 1/2” pipe, the diameter would be noticeably reduced due to the internal fittings. This isn’t the case with CPVC, where you glue the fitting over the top of the pipe. You’d get the full 1/2” pipe all the way through and there would be no reduction to the flow of water.
The biggest difference between PEX A and B pertains to durability. A is much more durable and has a 25 year warranty. Some of the other products just aren’t going to have a comparable lifespan and warranty. We feel that PEX A product is highly superior to PEX B, which is why we prefer to use it in your home. All of our repipes are done in type A PEX because it’s a no-brainer as far as longevity and quality. (However, we have done CPVC piping before.)
Plastic is a good material to use for a home’s pipes, especially when it comes to places with poor water quality. Some water is corrosive, and if metal fittings/piping like copper, galvanized, or brass were used, they would eventually become eaten away. This is especially true with copper if you have low pH or acidic water. A copper pipe wouldn’t be able to hold up, while plastic pipes like PEX or CPVC would do just fine.
If you’re thinking about repiping your home and want to consider what option would be best, I definitely encourage you to give us a call. We can educate homeowners on the different types of piping that are out there. To learn more, reach out to us today by or giving us a call at 540-483-9382.