Dealing With Dezincification In PEX Tubing Installation
As we’ve detailed in several other posts PEX installation has many advantages over other types of plumbing.
Whether you’re repiping an entire house or constructing a brand new heated driveway, PEX is more affordable, faster to install, and generally more durable than both CPVC and copper piping.
However, as PEX tubing is still a relatively new plumbing material in America, many home insurance companies are skeptical of construction jobs that want to utilize it.
Insurers Are Skeptical Of PEX Tubing Installation
Insurance companies are most concerned with their bottom line in the event of a catastrophe, and when it comes to disasters, the water-related kind are one of the most expensive.
“In the engineering profession, we understand that it is rare for one single problem to cause a failure; rather, it is the combination of two or more problems that lead to the major accidents. Many times, accidents occur when one party does not communicate with another. With PEX, the owner, contractors, builders, maintenance personnel, etc. must be aware of the system configuration and have a plan for interacting with the system,” explains InsuranceThoughtLeadership.com.
The Issue With Brass Fittings
One of the most common but avoidable problems with PEX tubing installation (especially for DIY jobs) is the tendency to cut corners on the fittings. Cheap brass fixtures made overseas and sold in giant home improvement stores may save money in the short-term but they’re known to lead to an expensive problem: dezincification.
This term simply means that zinc content in the brass fittings (an alloy of copper and zinc) is too high and corrodes away during frequent exposure to water. When this happens, the brass fittings are weakened significantly and more likely to leak or burst, causing significant property damage.
How To Avoid Dezincification During A PEX Tubing Installation
While dezincification is a very serious problem that must be avoided at all costs, it shouldn’t drive you away from the use of PEX tubing all together. All plumbers must do to avoid dezincification is to insist upon the use of low-zinc brass fittings or “engineered plastic” fitting components.Once you’ve got the right fittings in hand, remember to do yourself a favor and order a PEX GUN to make installing PEX tubing up to five times faster.