Home »

Literature Review Problems With PEX

Prepared by: Dan Robles, PE
Community Engineering Services, PLLC


<This Literature Review Problems With PEX  is Currently Under Development>

Literature Review Problems With PEXIntroduction: PEX has significant advantages over copper piping system.  However, recent problems have been encountered in some brass fittings (dezincification) as well as some water quality issues.  Apparently, not all PEX is created equally and it is important to know what type of material is being introduced into the building.  The following articles and references collect standards and articles related to the PEX piping products and installation

Upinor PEX promo video:

Water Distribution Systems using PEX:  This educational video demonstrates the innovation, flexibility, and many benefits of using PEX to create highly customizable water distribution systems for homes and apartment units:


Literature Review Problems With PEX

1. Wikipedia Provides a good lay/technical introduction to PEX (Cross Linked Polyethylene)

2. The Following Link goes to a wiki on a Plumbing Site related to Concerns About PEX piping:

Abstract: Recent failures and the lawsuits that have followed those failures lead to the idea that PEX plumbing systems aren’t as good as once assumed. PEX systems can fail in either the pipe or in the fitting. The most notable failure occurs when the fittings fail and water starts leaking and causing visible damage. This article will examine the failure of PEX plumbing systems by studying the history, use, and production of PEX as well as the types and causes of failures and the lawsuits that have ensued.

3. The PEX Design Guides

Plastic Pipe Fitter Institute: Pex_designguide

Uponor Design Guide: ProPlumbingInstallGuide_10_07


The following collects the ongoing literature review related to PEX and associated Problems and failures as well as benefits and advantages.  This review is not exhaustive; credit due to this link to a strong summary of PEX Problems by Cadell Calkins, BAE/MAE, Penn State, 2011.


Bellis, Mary. (2010). “The History of Plastic.” History of Plastics. About.com. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://inventors.about.com/od/pstartinventions/a/plastics.htm>.
A timeline of the history of plastic. This source was used to determine when HDPE was invented.

Clark, Robert A. “RE: Use of PEX for Potable Water Plumbing.” Letter to California Building Standards Commision. 29 June 2005. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. <http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/bsc/pex/exhibit_e_clark_pex.pdf>.

D. Castagnetti, G. Scirè Mammano, E. Dragoni, Effect of chlorinated water on the oxidative resistance and the mechanical strength of polyethylene pipes, Polymer Testing, Volume 30, Issue 3, May 2011, Pages 277-285, ISSN 0142-9418, 10.1016/j.polymertesting.2010.12.001. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0142941810001960>.

Eckhouse, Brian. “Kitec Maker Agrees to Pay $90 Million over Pipes.” Las Vegas Sun. 2008. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. <http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/sep/06/kitec-maker-agrees-pay-90-million-over-pipes/>.

Enslow, Thomas. “Comments of Coalition for Safe Building Materials on the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Adoption of Statewide Regulations Allowing the Use of PEX Tubing.” Letter to Valerie Namba. 14 Nov. 2008. California Department of General Services. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/bsc/pex/ABJC%20PEX%20RDEIR%20Comments%20(11-14-08).pdf>.

Haenftling, T. (2010). Sitting in the sun. PM Engineer, 16(10), 16-16. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/874654802?accountid=13158

Office of Transportation and Air Quality. “Drinking Water | Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) | US EPA.” US Environmental Protection Agency. 5 Feb. 2009. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. <http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/water.htm>.

“PEX Products – History.” (No Year). PEX Products – History. Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association. Web. 21 Oct. 2011. <http://www.ppfahome.org/pex/historypex.html>.

“PEX vs. Copper Comparison.” Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. <http://www.ppfahome.org/Attach/PPFA_PEX_copper_final.pdf>.
A small report detailing the comparison between PEX and copper, in particular the water hammer effect.

PHR Consultants (2008). “Section 1 – PHR Consultants Report.” The Current Status of PEX Piping in California, Santa Cruz, CA. Retrieved fromhttp://www.sbaypipe.org/assets/pdf/pex_report_08.pdf

Reid, Thomas. “Re: Comments on California Department of Housing and Community Development Consideration of the Use of PEX as Potable Water Pipe.” Letter to Thomas Enslow. 15 July 2005. MS. Retrieved from http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/bsc/pex/exhibit_b_reid_pex.pdf.

Rotella, K. (2003). Plumbing with PEX. Plumbing & Mechanical, 21(1), 62-62. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220797491?accountid=13158

Snyder, Daniel. “Facts About PEX Tubing and PEX Fitting Dezincification.” Knol. Google, 24 Oct. 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://home-safety.knoji.com/problems-with-pex-fittings-the-class-action-lawsuits/>.

United States. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Toxicology Program. NTP Technical Report on the Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of T-butyl Alcohol (CAS No. 75-65-0) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F₁ Mice (drinking Water Studies). Research Triangle Park, NC: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 1995. Print.

The Zurn PEX Advantage. (2003). Zurn Plumbing Products Group. Zurn. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.zurn.com/images/pdf/ZPM03100.pdf>.
manufacturer brochure that describes in the frequently asked questions section many different failures of PEX.

Zinc Oxide BuildupThe Danger of Dezincified Brass Fittings. SageWater, 2009. Web. 13 Dec. 2011. <http://www.sagewater.com/justfacts2.php>.

Brown, J. (2008). NSF standards require stringent testing for PEX piping. PM Engineer, 14(9), A14-A14,A13. Retrieved fromhttp://search.proquest.com/docview/203678064?accountid=13158

Holohan, D. (2002). Concerns about PEX and chlorine. Supply House Times, 45(4), 60-60,62. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/220019041?accountid=13158

“In Re Kitec Fitting Litigation.” KITEC® Class Action Informational Website. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.plumbingdefect.com/lawsuit.html>. HTML


“Kitec Failures.” South Bay Piping Industry. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.sbaypipe.org/assets/pdf/pex_rehau_failures.pdf>.

Mader, R. P. (2003). PEX blamed for failures. Contractor, 50(3), 1-1,44+. Retrieved from http://contractormag.com/news/cm_newsarticle_221/.

Volkert, L. (2007). Faulty plumbing fittings found in treasure valley homes. The Idaho Business Review, (87504022), n/a. Retrieved fromhttp://search.proquest.com/docview/219086548?accountid=13158