Over the years we have been used to getting our drinking water through galvanized metal pipes. However, PEX a new entrant in the market has drastically changed this phenomenon due to its flexibility and adaptability. It has actually become a hearty issue for most Americans.
This notwithstanding, not all states have allowed this transformative plastic wonder. This leaves your hands tied no matter how much you try those red and blue pipes.
Now, where and why is PEX banned?
Surprisingly, PEX has continued to receive a nod from a majority of the states as we speak. However, there are areas that still prohibit the use of plastics for local plumbing. Now, let’s try to find out if your location is safe for some PEX connections or not.
Is PEX Legal In All States?
Yes! PEX is allowed in all states now.
Be careful however as you head to the hardware as there could be local policies that do not fall under state laws.
What are the Challenges with Approval?
Over the years, PEX has gained popularity in most households. The first trials were done in the 1960’s after the initial introductions.
Most people looking for options with their heating issues and water supply quickly jumped into the PEX world due to its easy fitting compatibility and ability to expand under crucial temperatures.
The main challenge came with the supply of drinking water. This arose because the American water supply and drinking water filtration works differently compared to the European standards.
The technical personnel in most states believed that the PEX pipes quality didn’t meet their water safety and water supply code. For these reasons, a number of states failed to approve the PEX crosslinking for their buildings.
Legal By Major Codes.
All the major building codes have approved the PEX tubing for use in residential plumbing. This has however been as a result of many years of PEX argument and thorough assessments.
This approval has essentially made PEX Legal in all states for commercial and domestic use. Though there is a hidden but with this approval. The main states have approved the use but some local codes in some areas still don’t approve the use of polyethylene tubing for water supply and heating.
So Where is PEX Banned in The USA?
When the question is asked on where PEX Is banned in the USA, the first state that comes in mind is California. This is the state that has had numerous discussions on the ban.
The Longest Ban
The state of California is known for making rules that favor the interest of the locals. Drinking water has always been a great concern in the state due to its location and the high profile emergency. The state has been in constant testing of the pipes since they were first introduced in the 80’s.
After the installations, the decisions kept changing based on the outcomes. The last time the California Plumbers Union demanded a ban on all polyethylene tubing systems, PEX was banned in the state for the longest period.
However, in 2021 there was a ruling on PEX in California that lifted the ban. Now PEX is allowed in California.
Different states welcomed PEX in different breathes. In New York and Florida it took some time before the plastic alternative was accepted.
Why is Pex Still Banned in Some States in the USA?
Let’s clarify first that as per the state laws, PEX is Not Banned in any of the states in the USA. Its only a few areas that are yet to change their laws to allow the use of plastic pipes to supply hot or cold water.
What was the reason for the delay to accept PEX plumbing in some States?
Florida is the latest state to lift the ban on PEX. The main reason for their ban was chemical leaching from the pipes.
There was a lawsuit on the pex piping whose record show that the main trouble was with the older versions of PEX.
There were zinc coated fittings that came with losses with the leaching chemicals affecting their coating. This caused leaks and contamination in the plumbing system. This was a rampant problem that led to the insurance companies stepping down from insuring older PEX models.
It was claimed that the chlorine in the water used to oxidize the surface and contaminate the water,. There were also numerous complaints about strange smells in the drinking water.
The other complain was exposed pipes breaking and leaking if not painted properly. This made PEX the least preferred for outdoor plumbing.
For PEX cannot be used outside the house where it is exposed to the Ultraviolet rays for a long period. The Synthetic material used to make the pipes disintegrates slowly due to the direct sunlight. Even simple light bulbs have been known to reduce the lifespan of PEX pipes.
In the New York, the Labor laws prohibited the use of plastic pipes over the years. There were two main issues that arose in the discussions though the main reason for this prohibition was never disclosed.
Rat Problem and Legionella
Many people shelved the idea of drinking water supplied through plastic pipes due to the fear of chemical contamination. These concerns were numerous with the New York residents.
The state of New York has a known problem of rodents and it was oftenly assumed that the mice and rats would chew on the plastic pipes.
The next thing was the legionella outrage. There were several studies that suggested that use of plastic pipes use caused more flu attacks over the years compared to other thermal sources. These complains and research findings made the state to disapprove the use of PEX in residential areas and for corporate purposes.
However, it was identified that the PEX materials were never the core issue in the problem but other errors in the overall plumbing system.
When Should You Not Use Pex Pipe?
The PEX invention is a milestone in the plumbing world and it has numerous advantages. Actually the states would not approve it if there wasn’t something that stood out about the pipes.
But does PEX beat copper on all fronts? Is it the ultimate choice in plumbing Today?
Absolutely No. There are some downsides that you should be aware of when using PEX pipes.
UV-Ray Exposure Risk
Simply put, Do not use PEX plumbing outdoors! PEX pipes start breaking after sometime of UV light exposure and this is something you can’t avoid under the sun.
You can Paint a heavy coat on the installed PEX pipes to protect them, however, this might still not be enough.
Chemical Leaching Issues
Some states were hesitant to lift the ban on PEX-A and PEX-B pipes as they were known for chemical leaching.
Although this may not be the case today, it is important to buy pipes only from Approved companies as this is the only way you can be assured of the quality.
PEX Can’t Be Melted.
Unlike your common plastic, the PEX structure cannot be melted so it cannot be recycled. Though the pipes do a great job in the supply of water, it would be key to ensure that they can be reused in future.
Pex Cannot Withstand Extreme Environments
PEX is not a preferred material for tropical environment where there are extreme environments. The polyethylene structure easily melts and is extremely sensitive to high temperatures.
The material is sensitive and it easily deteriorates or it’s oxidized when exposed to certain chemicals.
After all is said and done, we are glad that all the states have accepted and allowed this miraculous plastic invention.