Plastic vs. Copper

Old 03-22-07, 10:31 AM
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Question Plastic vs. Copper

I posted this in the "Swamp Cooler" section but didn't get any replies, so thought I would try it here. What do you plumbers think?

Has anyone tried this, good or bad?

I had to repair the 1/4" copper water line going to our cooler. However, since I wasn't the only one that had this line freeze and split over the winter, the stores around here were all out of copper tubing. Besides the cost of the stuff and not being able to get any, I decided to try using the 1/4" irregation line instead. The line I replaced is all outside, so a leak isn't going to cause any damage and will be easy to see.
I am just wondering if anyone has used this instead of copper? Any drawbacks? I figure I can get 100' of plastic for about $3.00 vice about $12.00 for copper.

Anyone see any problems with using plastic vice copper?
Old 03-22-07, 03:19 PM
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Hi, Sounds good to me. Maybe the only drawback would be how tht plastic reacts to sunlight. If leaks would not cause any damage I'd give it a try.
Good Luck Woodbutcher
Old 03-22-07, 03:50 PM
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I ran this past a guy behind the desk at the mechanical supply house I frequent: I asked him if it is possible that plastic PEX could actually be *better* than copper or galvanized, when it freezes, because both of those can split. I said I heard that when water freezes it expands 7% by volume. I asked him if PEX expands 7%. He said he actually believes it does and believes it will withstand freezing better because of this.

Anyone else know for sure if this is fact?
Old 03-23-07, 09:04 AM
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Yes, PEX stretches and can easily handle freezing without breaking, but it weakens it over time and will fail eventually if it happens repeatedly. So, you still want to install them to minimize exposure to freezing temperatures, but if that pipe happens to freeze up once every couple years, it's OK.

Last edited by grover; 03-23-07 at 11:28 AM.
Old 03-23-07, 09:26 AM
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Most here are going over to PEX for water lines. On that 1/4"we have use it for years on most of the humidifiers we put in. Dont know how the plastic reacts to a U/V. Just make sure you use the right sleeve and compression fitting for the plastic.

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