Electrical systems have a breaker box that allows you to control what happens with the different circuits in your house. If you have a problem with one circuit, you can shut it off simply by turning a switch on the breaker box. Plumbing systems, on the other hand, simply have a main shut-off valve. Thus, if you have a leaky pipe that needs fixing, you have to shut off the water to your whole system to make repairs—at least that is the case if you have a traditional system. However, if you have a PEX system, you have other options.
What Is PEX?
Cross-linked polyethylene, or PEX, is a type of plastic that is very flexible and will not react with water. In contrast, copper and other metals can corrode with prolonged exposure to water. This corrosion can taint your water and create leaks. PVC is another choice for water pipes, but PVC will degrade when exposed to hot water, so it can't be used for hot water lines. Because PEX is so stable, it can be used to help cut costs on intake lines and to preserve the quality of your water.
Using A PEX Manifold
Just using PEX is a good thing, but if you only have one shut-off valve, you still have the same problem you would have had with any other plumbing system. When you use PEX lines, you can install a manifold, which is a single unit which has multiple valves leading off of it. You attach a PEX line to each valve and then run the line to where it is needed. This allows you to isolate each water fixture and each PEX line. Thus, when you have problems with one of the fixtures or lines, you can still continue to use all of the other fixtures in your house.
PEX is a very useful material. It eliminates problems that plague other plumbing materials, and it does so without significantly increasing your costs. Often when you want to use the latest and greatest material on the market, you have to be willing to pay a pretty penny to get it. This is not the case with PEX. Rather than risk hard water down the road and deal with situations where you have a leak that shuts off the water to your whole house, you should definitely consider using PEX in your home.
For more information, contact a specialist like The Drain Doctor.