Sometimes, choosing PEX tubing for your project is a hard task, especially with a today's variety of types and brands.
To start, lets outline some of the major types available today,
This type of PEX is manufactured with Peroxide method, also known as "Engel" method. It is a process, where cross-linking between molecules occurs at a temperature above the one that is for polymer decomposition temperature. That is, due to the free radicals which are created in the process of melting the crystals.
The method used to manufacture PEX-B tubing is called Silane or "Moisture Cure" method. This process is actually a secondary, post-extrusion process, where cross-linking occurs after extrusion with the help of a catalyst and exposure of pipe to water.
Made with Electronic Irradiation method using "Cold" cross-linking.
With this method, cross-linking between molecules is done after the extrusion process by exposing the tubing to electron beam, which produces radiation necessary to break bonds between molecules of the polymer and initiate cross-linking process.
Advantages and disadvantages
Below is a comparison table, where PEX tubing types are compared side by side and points are awarded for the best and worst in the category. Points are 1 through 3 where 1 is the worst (minimum points) and 3 is the best (maximum points). At the end of the table is a summary, based on the total amount of points gained by each type.
|Long-term life expectancy||3||2||1|
PEX-A is proven to be the most flexible and durable of all three types of PEX, however it is not available everywhere and is priced very high.
PEX-B is the most affordable and widely distributed type of PEX. It is also very flexible and durable, however due to chemicals involved in a process, it is a least nature friendly way to produce PEX tubing.
PEX-C is the most environmentally friendly way to manufacture PEX, however such tubing is kinky and proven to be the least durable of all three types.
Dozens of brands are available to choose from, and it is important to find the right combination of price and quality.
Unfortunately, where there's a good product, a fake will find its place too. And with popularity of PEX tubing, it is no exception.
Big brands, big prices.
Brand has always been a synonym for quality, and where there's "big" quality, there's a big price. What it means is that most of the big brand name companies spend lots of money on advertising, marketing and promotion of their product, and to make up for all that, they increase the price of their product.
Alternative brands, affordable prices.
It is the case when a company has a high quality product that was not highly promoted, and the money saved on advertising goes into consumer's pocket. Such products tend to be more local and distributed in certain areas only.
No brand, bargain prices.
Or in other words, a fake at bargain prices. In that case, low quality is compensated by a very low cost of the product. However, it is only at first the cost seems so low. It all starts to add up when the problems with this product occur. And even if it is not due to the poor quality, then due to the lack of warranty to cover it.
It is up to every homeowner or plumbing contractor to choose the type of PEX they prefer for their project. But whatever the choice is, it should never compromise the quality of PEX tubing.