When it comes to setting up an air compressor system, the choice of piping material is crucial. Two popular choices in the industry are PEX A and PEX B pipes. Both provide unique benefits, but knowing when to use each can significantly impact the efficiency and longevity of your air compressor system.
Understanding PEX Pipes
Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is a high-density, flexible plastic tubing that has become popular in a wide variety of applications, from plumbing to radiant heating and, of course, air compressors. PEX is lauded for its flexibility, durability, and cost-effectiveness.
However, not all PEX pipes are created equal. There are three different types of PEX: PEX A, PEX B, and PEX C. The difference lies in their production method, which influences their characteristics and best applications. For this article, we’ll focus on PEX A vs PEX B.
PEX A Pipes
PEX A pipes are produced using the Engel method. This manufacturing process results in pipes that are more flexible and expandable. They can withstand extreme weather conditions, making them an excellent choice for outdoor air compressor installations.
Moreover, PEX A pipes offer the most flexibility, reducing the need for extra fittings and making the installation process easier. This flexibility also means less likelihood of kinks or breaks, translating into lower maintenance and repair costs over time.
However, PEX A is generally more expensive than PEX B, making it less cost-effective for budget-conscious users.
PEX B Pipes
PEX B pipes are manufactured using the Silane method, which results in a slightly stiffer product. While this means they’re less flexible, it also makes PEX B pipes more resistant to chlorine, a feature particularly important in certain commercial or industrial settings.
PEX B pipes are also typically more affordable than their PEX A counterparts. The cost-effectiveness and chlorine resistance make them a popular choice for indoor applications, where weather resilience is less of a concern.
Deciding Between PEX A and PEX B
When deciding between PEX A and PEX B for your air compressor setup, consider the following factors:
Location: If your air compressor system is outdoors, the weather resilience and flexibility of PEX A can outweigh the cost difference. For indoor systems, PEX B’s affordability and resistance to chemicals might be more advantageous.
Budget: If cost is a major concern, PEX B can be a more affordable choice without sacrificing quality or durability.
Installation Complexity: If your system requires complex routing, the added flexibility of PEX A can make the installation process easier and reduce the need for additional fittings.
Maintenance: While both types of PEX are durable, the added flexibility of PEX A can reduce the risk of kinks or breaks, potentially resulting in lower maintenance costs over time.
The choice between PEX A and PEX B pipes for air compressors comes down to the specific needs of your installation. Both offer excellent durability and performance, but understanding their unique characteristics will help you make the best decision for your air compressor system. Regardless of the type you choose, always ensure proper installation and regular maintenance for optimal performance and longevity of your air compressor system.