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Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) manifolds cost less than half of what conventional rigid piping systems cost. But what are PEX manifolds used for? Let’s get into what you need to know.
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What Are PEX Manifolds Used For?
PEX manifolds are plumbing hubs installed in modern residences to facilitate water distribution throughout the property. Manifolds look like plastic boxes with tubular chambers that feature multiple connection points for outflowing lines. They need to be connected to the main incoming water line and are often located in the garage, basement, or utility closet.
These manifolds are typically paired with a variety of ball valves and flexible PEX tubing but can also be used with any other kind of tubing. PEX tubing can be cut and assembled quickly without messy soldering and gluing. Additionally, they enable residents to turn off the water supply for individual fixtures without needing to turn off the entire supply.
What are the Disadvantages of PEX Manifolds?
While installing PEX manifolds offers several advantages, here are the disadvantages you must consider:
- PEX manifolds are made from plastic and can leach BPA and other toxic chemicals into the main water supply. Of the three types of PEX, only the “B” type doesn’t have the leaching problem – but research hasn’t been carried out on this matter. If you decide to install PEX manifolds and plumbing, it’s best to purchase and install type B.
- PEX is sensitive to UV light, which means in addition to keeping the plumbing away from direct sunlight, you will also need to protect them from the bulbs in your home. While limited light exposure is considered harmless, most experts recommend installing the manifold and piping where completely dark.
- PEX is susceptible to pest damage, and many pest control experts advise against installing PEX plumbing and manifolds for this reason. Mice can chew through the pipes causing all kinds of problems. But many homeowners write this off as a rodent issue rather than a PEX issue.
- PEX plumbing cannot be installed in areas with high heat, such as near recessed lighting. Additionally, PEX piping cannot be directly connected to water heaters. Using a connecting material is usually recommended.
- PEX material is semi-permeable, and since the material is not anti-bacterial, it encourages the growth of microbes and germs and can last for a long time. This is one of the main reasons many prefer copper piping to PEX piping. The plastic material can allow water to seep into tubes, which may result in contamination and spread disease.
PEX manifolds are among the most common water distribution methods used in residential buildings today, and can also help in improving water pressure. They are compatible with all kinds of piping in standard sizes. PEX has become the standard plumbing solution in most homes across the USA. However, some localities do not permit the installation of PEX for the disadvantages it offers.