Pipes are not built to last forever, which means you will need to replace them at some point. These Houston plumbing repairs are common for older homes. In many cases, you might not even know that you need to replace worn out pipes until they start leaking. However, if you do find yourself in this situation, consider replacing old, damaged pipes with newer PEX piping. In this article, we’ll discuss why you should consider PEX to repair worn out pipes and some details homeowners should know about PEX piping.
Signs You Need Houston Plumbing Repairs for Leaking Pipes
Before we get into the details about PEX piping, first let’s talk about why you might need to replace your pipes. Often, pipes need replacement after they start to leak. These leaks can be major, causing flooding throughout your home due to things like a burst pipe. However, often pipes will start with small leaks that you can detect early on to prevent major damage to your home through timely Houston plumbing repairs.
These smaller leaks are often hidden from sight, but can cause noticeable signs in many homes. Some of these signs include:
- Dripping sounds behind the walls
- Water damage on the walls
- Warped flooring
- Mold growth in your home
If you notice these issues, call your Houston plumber to help identify the source and fix the problem.
Why Pipes Leak from Deterioration
Pipes can leak for many reasons, but often it’s due to normal pipe deterioration. All pipes have an expected lifespan. After that, they can start to degrade and corrode. This may lead to things like pinholes in the pipes that cause small leaks or catastrophic failures like burst pipes. If your leak is due to pipe deterioration, then the best option for Houston plumbing repair is to replace the pipe with a new one.
Older water supply pipes are frequently made of either copper or galvanized steel. Copper pipes can last up to 50 years, but there are several things that can reduce this expected lifespan. For example, acidic water, popular water disinfectants called chloramines, high sediment content, contact with other metals, and high water pressure. Galvanized steel pipes generally last between 40 and 50 years in ideal conditions, but, once again, conditions like hard water and sediments in the water cause them to rust and corrode from the inside out.
Why Consider Houston Plumbing Repairs with PEX Pipes?
Many homeowners choose to replace old, deteriorated pipes like copper and galvanized steel with new PEX pipes. These types of pipes are made of a special type of plastic and offer many benefits for your home. In fact, most newly built homes use PEX for water supply in the plumbing system instead of copper, galvanized steel, or other types of pipes. There are several things to know about PEX and whether it’s a good option for your Houston plumbing repairs for deteriorated pipes.
What is PEX?
PEX is short for cross-linked polyethylene. It is a type of flexible plastic that doesn’t melt the same way normal plastic does. Because it’s flexible and can withstand normal water conditions, including hot water supply, it’s quickly becoming a preferred type of plumbing pipe. PEX was first used in the ‘80s for radiant heated floors, which use hot water running through tubing under the flooring. In the last 20 years or so, PEX is becoming more popular for water supply lines in plumbing systems.
Pros and Cons of PEX in Residential Plumbing
As with any plumbing material PEX comes with many pros and cons to consider. Your Houston residential plumber can walk you through some of the pros and cons based on your specific plumbing system and home. However, here are some key pros and cons to know about PEX piping:
PEX plumbing comes with many advantages for homeowners, such as:
- Lower Cost: PEX often costs half of what copper pipes cost, so it can save you money to use PEX instead of copper for water supply lines.
- Doesn’t Corrode: PEX doesn’t corrode the same way metal pipes like galvanized steel and copper do. Therefore, there’s fewer risks of leaks over time.
- Long-Lasting: PEX pipes can last up to 50 years or more.
- They’re Flexible: Since PEX pipes are flexible, they are easy to install practically anywhere and need fewer connections compared to rigid pipe materials like copper. Since connections are weak points that can leak, this means fewer leak risks.
- Good Insulation: PEX pipes are better at insulating hot water compared to copper. This means that the water stays warmer as it travels through the pipes and there’s less heat loss, which could reduce energy use for water heating.
- Quiet: These pipes are quiet and don’t experience the same noisy vibration as many other metal pipes.
- You Can Connect Them to Other Materials: With metal pipes, often you can’t connect different materials to each other because it can speed up corrosion. With PEX, you can connect to other materials with special fittings.
- Color Coded: PEX often comes in several different colors, including blue and red, to help with color coding for different uses, like hot and cold water supply.
Of course, PEX pipes also have some disadvantages, so they might not be the right choice for your home’s Houston plumbing repair needs. Here are some of the cons of PEX pipes:
- Can’t Use Outside: UV rays break down PEX pipes, so you can’t use them outside or anywhere they might come into contact with the sun.
- Not Recyclable: Currently, there is no way to recycle PEX pipes once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan because they don’t melt the same way other plastics do.
- You Need Special Tools to Install: Using PEX isn’t a great DIY project because you often need several specialized tools specifically for installing PEX plumbing like PEX cutters, PEX crimpers, and specialized fittings.
- Keep Away from Extreme Heat: High temperatures can damage PEX pipes, particularly if your home’s water is 180°F or higher.
- High Chlorine Can Damage: If your water has a significant amount of chlorine in it, it might also reduce the lifespan of your PEX pipes.
- The Pipe can Kink: While flexibility is a major advantage of PEX pipes, it also means they can kink and reduce water flow. Sometimes this is repairable, but often kinked PEX pipes need replacement.
- Prevent Abrasion: Even minor abrasion like rubbing up against a stud in the wall can also deteriorate PEX piping, so your Houston plumber will need to protect against abrasion. The good news is that there are parts we can install that reduce abrasion.
When to Use PEX for Houston Plumbing Repairs
As we mentioned, PEX pipes are commonly used in Houston plumbing repairs where we need to replace a deteriorated or damaged pipe. You can use them in practically any plumbing system, even if you leave some of the old pipes rather than getting full-home repiping services. Use these pipes for replacing hot and cold water supply lines in your plumbing, but they’re not suited for drain lines.
When to Have Your Houston Plumber Replace Steel or Copper Pipes with PEX
Many homeowners are proactively replacing their aging pipes with PEX piping to prevent leaks and other issues with their plumbing systems. This is a type of maintenance to help avoid needing Houston plumbing repairs later. This might be a good idea if you’ve already experienced a leak in one part of your home, as it might signal that the rest of your plumbing system is reaching the end of its expected lifespan. If your home is older and has the original pipes, then it may also be a good time to consider repiping with PEX throughout your home.
Choose Professionals to Provide Houston Plumbing Repairs with PEX
If you’re considering Houston plumbing repairs with PEX pipes, then it’s important to call a professional team for help. Installing PEX plumbing requires knowledge of plumbing codes, experience installing PEX, as well as many special tools. Hiring a plumber gives you peace of mind that your plumbing is installed correctly so it will last and avoid unnecessary repairs and leaks.
Santhoff Plumbing – Trusted Plumber in Houston for 48 Years
Our experts at Santhoff Plumbing are here to help you with all your plumbing needs. Whether you need immediate plumbing repairs for a leak or need plumbing services for a remodel, we are your number one choice for plumbing in Greater Houston. We have been a family owned and operated company since 1973 and are proud to have a reputation for excellence and superior service. Get in touch to request service or call our plumbing emergency line for immediate help at (281) 759-5000 day or night, 365 days a year.