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 HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Anonymous User

I need to replace the water line from the meter to the house. I wanted to go with Wirsbo PEX but none of the plumbers around here seem to use it. Quit a few recommed using HDPE (high density Polyethylene). I originally wanted copper but now think that other options are more cost advantagous.

Any thoughts appreciated,

Mike

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: westchester plumber

Bid the job to a couple/few licensed plumbers.

Get their opinion on what materials would be best for your situation based on water quality issues and what is allowable according to plumbing codes in your area.

Good Luck. *westchester plumber*

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Dunbar (KY)

Number one thing you mentioned "cost advantageous". Couple that with "quality advantageous" and see what most plumbers use and you will find your answer really quick.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Scott D. Plumber (VA)

HDPE is common in this area for the water main into the house. I don't know of any problems with it.

I do think that PEX is better and Wisbo is top quality PEXa stuff. Hard to beat it.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Barry (MI)

Check with the local water department. They will tell you what can and can't use.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Gary Slusser

PE is not only less money than the other two, it has a proven 30+ year record of very long term service free use while being incapable of adding anything to the water; the same as PEX and unlike copper. Copper can not meet the NSF Standard 61 if the pH of the water to be run through it is <6.5. Acidic and otherwise aggressive water deteriorates copper from the inside out while adding copper to the water. Copper used underground 'has' to be protected from the soil and/or cement or it can deteriorate from the outside in and cause pinholes leaks.

That does not mean PEX or PE tubing is perfect They both require being laid without coming into contact with sharp edges below or above them. UV can damage them both as constant exposure to high chlorine content of the water can harm PEX although I do not know about PE in that regard. I don't know about PEX but PE can allow the infiltration of certain comtaminates through its wall if they are present in the soil. But on avaerage and if you look at the quality of water exiting the 'pipe', PEX and PE have the advantage.

I suggest 200 PSI rated PE. It comes in coils; usually 100', 300' and 500'.

Gary
Quality Water Associates

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: HytechPlumber (LA)

What is the type of the existing pipe now ? If it is an iron pipe and you decide to go with plastic be sure that their are not any ground wires connecting to the water pipes. Often the phone, cable or electrical wires may be grounded to the water pipes. Most fridges and washers have these ground wires. Just something you may want to question about. GOOD LUCK

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: hj (AZ)

I do not know how they do it in your area, but here, any plastic service line has to have at least five feet of copper at each end. Some plumbing contractors will spend more time and money making the transitions to a short piece of plastic than it would have cost to install copper all the way. They will never allow the plastic to be exposed to the air or sunlight.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Gary Slusser

Never heard of that (here in Pennsylvania). My house was built in 1953, we have PE tubing coming through the cellar wall to the meter. I suppose originally it may have been copper and it was replaced. I know the PE is at least 30 years old. We've had acidic water, pH in the 5.7 range for years and since the LEad and Copper Rules it is 6.5 with a TDS of between 55 and 90 ppm. That eats copper (all metals actually) very quickly. But if PE has worked here as service lines for all these years, any reason specific to your location that would cause it not to work there?

Gary
Quality Water Associates

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: PLUMBILL

Yes, we have had contractors do what hj is saying they will install copper from the main to the curb box (per city spec's) then plactic to within 10' of building then copper the rest of the way. The final 10' of copper pipe meets the requirements as an electric ground to the water service.

P.S. Just yesterday doing street work we came across a copper water service installed in 1940, and the pipe looks better then the new stuff they are selling us today.



Post Edited

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Dunbar (KY)

I agree with plumbill. Copper piping is durable. More positives than ever negative, and there is a reason why water departments use it everyday.

Anyone that is trying to fix a water problem by changing the piping because of its acidity rather than address the REAL issue, should consider why it is so important to look over this important factor.


Because if it can eat through copper, I can only imagine what it does to the human body.


A 63 year old water service says volumes in this forum.



Post Edited

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Always be aware of cross-connections in your potable water systems---They could one day harm you and your loved ones.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: hj (AZ)

What can be confusing with PEX and all the other plastics that are installed to avoid problems with copper is that the fittings are copper, and very thin copper at that to minimize flow restrictions. Logic says that these fittings should also fail if copper tubing, which is much thicker, is eaten by the water.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Gary Slusser



Copper is a good choice where it is able to be used without causing it or water quality problems. I don't know how anyone can know what future water quality wil be run through the line though. IMO the negatives of copper are not well known by way too many plumbers, homeowners, inspectors and codes folks.

Anyone that is trying to fix a water problem by changing the piping because of its acidity rather than address the REAL issue, should consider why it is so important to look over this important factor.

As to fixing water quality problems before they cause copper lines problems.... how do you do that when the water is supplied by a water company from their underground (never copper, mostly plastic) line in the street? Or with well water before it gets into the house? I know of no way to do that in either situation.

When you say "if" it can eat through copper, does that mean you question whether it does? It does and what it does to the human body AND coper tubing, can be found on the internet.

Lead pipe is still in the ground and being used around the USA. Some of it is older than 63 years. Does that change all the negatives that mankind knows concerning humans ingesting lead? Chicago is full of lead service lines that uninformed and biased folks required to be installed until about 1987. But note that all lead service lines are required by law to be removed over time.

Gary
Quality Water Associates

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Gary Slusser

You sure they aren't actually lead free brass? I've never seen copper insert fittings. And what about the plastic insert fittings?

Gary
Quality Water Associates

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Anonymous User

Existing pipe is 3/4" galv. The plumbers I talked to said they would connect to my new 1" coppoer under the house, come under the footing and extend a minimum of 2 feet outside before connecting to Poly/PEX/PVC. That should take care of the grounding issues.

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: Gary Slusser

The only way to insure a good connection to 'ground', or that a water service line is actually a good ground, is to have it electrically checked by an electrician.

Understand that the use of the water service line as the building's electrical system ground electrode can cause water quality problems and deterioration of the service line if the right soil etc. conditions are present or, the metal is not protected from the environment/possiblity.

Gary
Quality Water Associates

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 Re: HDPE (Poly) Vs. PEX or Copper
Author: ami elec (LA)

Make sure to have an electrician add another ground rod to your electrical system to make up for the loss of the water main ground!

Code calls for 2 ground electrodes, normally a coper water pipe and a ground rod. The water pipe is the primary and the rod is secondary. A rod is second best, and even with a 2nd rod (required by the code if no metal wate main is avaiable) it won't be grounded as effectivly.

Clay
Master Electrician city of New Orleans

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