PEX well on the way to overtaking copper pipe
Within three years, PEX will be the most-used residential water-supply pipe in the country, manufacturer predicts
By Steve Payne
If you’re a plumber who is still installing copper piping rather than PEX, you might soon be in the minority.
First introduced in Canada more than 25 years ago, PEX piping has since that time increased to about 40 per cent market share, with copper still in the lead.
But now, thanks to improvements in the connection methods, the PEX market is growing at 25 per cent a year.
“Within three years we will see the tipping point” at which PEX is more commonly installed than copper, nationwide, said Charlie Harte, general manager of Uponor Canada, a leading manufacturer of premium quality PexA piping.
In its earliest years, plumbers were slow to switch over to PEX, perhaps because they associated it with more difficult to use plastic pipe, such as CPVC, which requires glue. But the highest-grade types of PEX (crosslinked polyethylene), with their patented ProPex connector system (in the case of Uponor) are now widely trusted by plumbers. For example, Uponor PEX comes with a 25 year guarantee against failure when it has been used properly by a qualified installer.
Harte said his company’s products, with its patented connectors, can be installed 30 to 40 per cent faster than copper. Easy of handling (a 300 foot roll of PEX can be carried easily over a contractor’s shoulder) and low material costs are additional benefits.