Question

I am looking for a kitchen faucet that does not have flexible plastic supply lines. I want all copper. How do I find one?

Asked by Will Elwell, Shelburne Falls, MA

I am looking for a kitchen faucet that does not have flexible plastic supply lines. I want all copper. How do I find one?

Answer

Timothy Montgomery

Answered by Timothy Montgomery

Maryland Heights, MO

TMA Architects, LLC

September 4, 2009

I suggest that you reconsider and purchase a faucet with connecting lines made not of copper but of PEX (cross-linked polyethylene).

  • Copper corrodes over time, and drinking water with high levels of copper can cause short and long-term health problems.
  • The environmental impacts from copper mining, transportation, refining, and soldering are significant.
  • On top of that, copper is quite expensive.

Increasingly, PEX is being installed by homebuilders as an alternative to more traditional copper piping. PEX offers cost savings on materials and labor, and it allows for smoother transitions (fewer 90-degree fittings), which reduces friction and pump sizing. PEX may also be more resistant to freeze damage than copper.

PEX is not without its drawbacks. It is a petroleum product, with all of the environmental concerns that implies. But I know of no health concerns to date on the product, and it is approved by major building codes.

As far as other plastic piping products, I would avoid PVC lines—most codes prohibit the use of PVC for incoming water lines, though it is okay for drains.

 

For More Information:

To learn more about PEX, download the free Design Guide: Residential PEX Water Supply Plumbing Systems, developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center.

Copper piping versus PEX tubing is a matter of some debate among building professionals. Read more about the pros and cons of both materials on the Plumbing Networks website.

Tagged In: green plumbing, pvc safety, healthy water

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