Water line replacement has become one of the most frequently requested plumbing services today.
Due to the water disasters in Flint, Michigan, and other U.S. locations, homeowners no longer take clean, healthy water for granted. Although many residential water line replacement projects are done with copper today, home builders and flippers may cut corners to save money.
The Importance of Replacing Old Pipe
For older homes especially, concerns are rising about the materials that were used to build the plumbing systems.
In Flint, corrosive materials in a new water source began to erode iron water mains as well as the service or main lines that run from the street to supply each home. Because more than half of Flint’s homes were constructed with lead mains, the corrosive water began stripping lead from inside the pipes and carrying it straight to the taps of Flint residents.
For that reason, homeowners from coast to coast are calling in residential plumbing contractors to evaluate their pipes. Many are choosing to replace some or all of the pipes as well.
Is Flexible Plumbing Pipe Safe for Water Line Replacement?
A lot of contractors have begun using crosslink polyethylene (or PEX) plumbing pipe, but homeowners are skeptical.
PEX is a flexible tubing product that’s easier to work with than rigid piping. It’s versatile and resistant to freezing and rupturing. It can be manipulated easily to go around corners and do things copper pipe cannot do.
The questions most homeowners have involve the safety and durability of PEX.
PEX has been around only since the 1980s. And although people have differing opinions about it, no clear evidence about its safety (or lack thereof) has emerged yet. As for its durability, it may have some vulnerability to chlorine, especially if sun exposure is involved.
If a home was constructed with PEX water lines inside or out, some experts suggest having the plumbing system flushed regularly as well as installing a filtration system for water used for drinking and cooking.
Experts warn that even copper can produce toxicity in the water supply under certain conditions as well. However, because copper has been used for decades without any significant problems, it may be the option of choice for most homeowners.
Testing and Consultation Can Provide Better Insight
Concerned homeowners are having their tap water tested to verify its safety. This is the only way to know for sure whether your tap water contains toxic substances that may cause harm.
As for which types of pipes, connectors and fixtures are safest, a licensed plumber can provide a professional opinion on a case-by-case basis. Every home is different, and depending on the geographic location, water quality can vary by city.
If your tap water does not contain toxins or harmful substances, replacing the line may not be necessary today. But, since many substances break down over time, problems can develop.
For maximum peace of mind, homeowners may wish to consider an investment in their family’s safety, and use copper pipe for a full water line replacement. Call American Plumbing Services today for a whole home pipe evaluation.