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Water piping system

daniellecorwin | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

We’re currently looking at two options for our water piping system. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated:

1. As an alternative to PEX, we are considering using Aquatherm as it is only made of carbon and hydrogen so nothing toxic can leach from it. Downside would be installation as it’s a rigid pipe vs flex.
2. If we move forward with PEX, we are considering using a whole house water filter to filter out chlorine as the water is entering the house to prevent chlorine degradation in the tubing running through the house. Ideally, we would then install water filters at the kitchen sink and shower heads to remove contaminants from the city water as well as harmful chemicals leached from the PEX Tubing  – MTBE, TBE & BPA. 

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  1. Tom May | | #1

    " well as harmful chemicals leached from the PEX Tubing – MTBE, TBE & BPA". .......this doesn't make you think?

  2. daniellecorwin | | #2

    ....yes, this makes me think...that's why I'm asking the question. There aren't really many other alternatives to PEX. I'm not open to using copper.

  3. Expert Member
    Zephyr7 | | #3

    I’ve used Aquatherm before on chilled water systems, but not the kind made for potable water. It’s a composite pipe, poly(ethylene or propylene, can’t remember which) and fiberglass. It’s a good product but BE SURE your contractor does all the thermal fusion splices correctly. That’s where they have the most problems with the product, according to my rep.

    PEX is made from only carbon and hydrogen. It is an HDPE resin, not modified the way flexible things are. The stuff that leaches from plastics tend to be plasticizers, which are used to modify polymers to make them flexible. This is why you have flexible PVC used for extension cords and rigid PVC (it’s natural state) in pipes. PEX is basically polyethylene, and is a VERY stable material that is NOT going to leach things into the water. PEX is not modified to be flexible, it’s polyethylene in its natural state.

    Other things made from “only carbon and hydrogen” include methane (natural gas), gasoline, and if you add in oxygen to the mix, MTBE (C5H12O). It is the ARRANGEMENT of the atoms that determines most of the molecular properties. If anyone tells you their product is safe because it’s only made from atoms that sound safe, don’t believe them! Sodium cyanide, for example, a very potent poison, is comprised only of carbon, nitrogen (which is 70% of the atmosphere we breath), and sodium (which is part of table salt that we eat).

    Why are you against the use of copper pipe?


    1. daniellecorwin | | #5

      Thanks for your reply, Bill. My concern with copper is corrosion. If anything attacks it's natural corrosive protective layer, such as chlorine and overlay acidic and alkaline water (especially in hot water), it disrupts this layer. Also because of it's vulnerability if it comes in contact with other metals. 
      The installation process I'm not so keen with either. Not only can the soldering/flux become corrosive, but it also can emit hazardous vapors, gases & metal dust. The gases can also contain Formaldehyde. Even lead free substitutes in the the solder require higher solder temperatures which mean more hazardous fumes. I'm not a metal expert by any means, however the above are my concerns.

      1. Tom May | | #7

        Do you plan on buying plastic faucets? What material is the main water line coming into your home? If your water is to acidic or alkaline that alone would scare me. What corrosive protective layer on the copper are you speaking of? There are more inhibitors in plastic. Does your hamburger become vulnerable when it touches the metal frying pan? Any good plumber will wipe his joints so there shouldn't be any corrosion from the flux or the silver solder. Hazardous fumes? How long do they last? Just be grateful you have water coming into your house no matter how it gets there.
        Try drinking some hot tea or coffee out of a plastic cup....tell me how it tastes.

  4. Walter Ahlgrim | | #4

    You may find this fact sheet interesting it is form the NSF about what their testing of PEX piping.

    I did install a reverse osmosis water filter for drinking and cooking. I see no need to filter water going to toilets, washing machines, and showers.


  5. daniellecorwin | | #6

    Thanks, Walter. I appreciate the fact sheet, however NSF certification doesn't really ease my concerns. Specifically where the article states, "the toxicological assessment of the daily dose of the contaminant which a person may safely consume where no adverse health effects would occur." This might be true if this was the only toxin in a person body.

    As NSF defines, "A safe threshold for allowable concentration of xylene in drinking water, and scientific data supports these contaminants are below NSF threshold", the data doesn't take Epigenetics into consideration. My perspective is that everyone has different genes therefore some people may detox up to 70% less efficient than others, which also means these contaminants, as well as others in our environment and food can build up in a body over time and far exceed their allowable threshold. Considering the amount of water we use/consume every day, these contaminants could theoretically be the tipping point.

    After all my research on safe PEX alternatives, even given the above argument, it may prove that PEX is the safest option. As we know all materials have pros and cons ...just doing my homework and weighing out my options!

    Above are my personal beliefs which I understand may have no relevance to others.

  6. Walter Ahlgrim | | #8

    I could be wrong but I think the NSF test is the most unbiased test you are likely to find.

    It is all too easy get sucked into conspiracies because every so often one turns out to be true but it is ten thousand faults ones for one true one.


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