Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?
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A. Spruce
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

However, more recently studies of chemicals leeching from plastic products into water
Jack

That was the rant that I wasn't going to go to. We are slowly polluting our planet and killing ourselves with our insane use of plastic. It's everywhere and used for everything, and it's causing health and environmental problems, from plastic drink containers and water bottles to plastic lined canned goods, let alone food wrappings and storage containers.

Plastic is NOT save and it is NOT inert, as its manufacturer's would have you believe, particularly when it comes from some countries known for toxic components used in it's products.

dlh3354
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?

I am first of all, really OCD. Really. Diagnosed years ago as an adult. Second, I am a recycling Queen and proud to be so. So in the final analysis, I have to go the copper route. I simply gag on the plastic burning process involved here. A bit more labor but I can then sleep at night. Thanks for all your thoughts. And thinking about this from a recycle and envirnomental stand is well worth it. Hope it gave you all food for thought.

Fencepost
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) are essentially the same substances, except that the molecules in PEX are more securely bound, making it stronger. Milk jugs are made out of HDPE.

I hope that you are consistent in your advocacy by not buying milk in plastic jugs if you are against the use of PEX in potable water systems. Oh... did you notice that your paper milk carton has a PLASTIC coating on the inside? Too bad almost nobody delivers milk in glass anymore.

By the way, copper may not be a suitable choice in all water systems. Imbalanced pH and/or the presence of some otherwise harmless contaminants can cause corrosion of copper, and potentially release undesirable copper compounds into the water.

"Though a small amount of copper is required by the human body as an essential nutrient, long-term exposure to elevated levels of copper in drinking water may cause serious health problems. Research has shown that short periods of exposure to high levels of copper can cause gastrointestinal disturbance, including nausea and vomiting. Using water with elevated levels of copper over many years may cause liver or kidney damage." --Environmental Protection Agency

A. Spruce
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?

Not to continue off topic, however, yes, I do know that plastic is in those items and I buy milk in glass. To NOT buy plastic items is like trying to NOT buy products from China, it's extremely difficult, expensive, and ultimately futile. There are a number of ways to reduce contact with plastic. Anyone interested in such endeavors can do their own research on the ill affects of plastic and other toxins that surround us every day.:cool:

thedudeabides
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?

Copper isn't exactly an environmentally-minded DIYers dream either. Open-pit copper mines are the largest in the world, and it's really important for a lot of other stuff as well.

When you consider the carbon footprint of PEX vs copper, copper isn't the clear winner here. PEX isn't exactly made from shed bunny rabbit fur, but a gallon of oil will produce about as much PEX as 1000 gallons of diesel required to mine, refrine, and transport a heavy cargo like copper.

Plus, if you're not a plumber, and just really want to move water to a different spot in your house, PEX is much less intimidating than gambling with a copper solder that I learned from YouTube that Richard Trethewey makes look so effortless on TV but's really kind of a bitch to get right. I don't want elbows and solders and drilling hole after hole through studs because the damn thing refuses to bend. I want to fish a little PEX through like a surgeon, connect one to the sink and the other to water line and know that the two simple connections that I made will never fail me so long as I did it right. If that saves me $1000 in time and labor I'll forgive it's origin and happily accept a "diminished" 25 yr lifespan.

Timothy Miller
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?
Fencepost wrote:

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) are essentially the same substances, except that the molecules in PEX are more securely bound, making it stronger. Milk jugs are made out of HDPE.

I hope that you are consistent in your advocacy by not buying milk in plastic jugs if you are against the use of PEX in potable water systems. Oh... did you notice that your paper milk carton has a PLASTIC coating on the inside? Too bad almost nobody delivers milk in glass anymore.

By the way, copper may not be a suitable choice in all water systems. Imbalanced pH and/or the presence of some otherwise harmless contaminants can cause corrosion of copper, and potentially release undesirable copper compounds into the water.

"Though a small amount of copper is required by the human body as an essential nutrient, long-term exposure to elevated levels of copper in drinking water may cause serious health problems. Research has shown that short periods of exposure to high levels of copper can cause gastrointestinal disturbance, including nausea and vomiting. Using water with elevated levels of copper over many years may cause liver or kidney damage." --Environmental Protection Agency

Howdy thanks for the infor ad i got a good laugh out of your-i'm not and expert. My dad told me years ago "an expert was a man away from home talking because nobody knew him enough to know if he knew what he was talking about"

A. Spruce
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?
thedudeabides wrote:

When you consider the carbon footprint of PEX vs copper, copper isn't the clear winner here. PEX isn't exactly made from shed bunny rabbit fur, but a gallon of oil will produce about as much PEX as 1000 gallons of diesel required to mine, refrine, and transport a heavy cargo like copper.

You're certainly entitled to your opinion, however that doesn't make your comments.true or accurate. For instance, did that gallon of oil for the pex just magically appear in a jar or was there a massive fleet of vehicles and equipment behind it that had to find it, drill it, pump it, and refine it into a product that is suitable for converting to pex?

thedudeabides wrote:

Plus, if you're not a plumber, and just really want to move water to a different spot in your house ...

Which is exactly why most folks should hire professionals rather than attempting to do things themselves. I commend and encourage folks to do what they can for themselves, but when something is beyond their abilities, it's time for a call to the pros.

thedudeabides wrote:

If that saves me $1000 in time and labor I'll forgive it's origin and happily accept a "diminished" 25 yr lifespan.

It is this exact short sighted attitude that has lead to the considerable decline in the quality of products and services. Why build something to last when it can be built to last just long enough to become someone elses headache? Speaking of carbon footprint, the footprint of your pex just doubled when it must be replaced due to age and failure.

Copper may not be the answer in all situations, neither is steel pipe, galvanized pipe, PVC, ABS, or pex..

Fencepost
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?
A. Spruce wrote:

Copper may not be the answer in all situations, neither is steel pipe, galvanized pipe, PVC, ABS, or pex..

Which was exactly my point. Life is not about avoiding or eliminating risks, but is about managing them. In everything we do, we must consider the consequences, both short- and long-term. We need to make ourselves aware of the risks we face, and decide what to do based on the riskiness of the choices.

This means accepting the responsibility for the risks we take, and not demanding that society compensate us for our ills. There may not be a perfect solution. Nobody said life would be fair.

Anytime someone attempts to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt by only listing the bad things of product A and only the good things of product B, I cannot trust their recommendation. There is no product out there that can be said to be perfectly safe or have no impact on health, society, and the environment.

Personally? I don't have a problem with PEX. Or copper, either. I believe that the risks of using plastics are overstated and are no greater (though different) than the risks of using traditional materials.

Jim Minnick
Re: Copper vs CPVC vs Pex - which to use?

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