Do you know what’s behind the drywall in your home? Unless you’ve ever had a home custom-built or have personally worked in construction, you might be unaware of the vital systems hidden within the walls of your home. But knowing how those systems work can help you make smart, money-saving decisions when building or renovating.

Typically, when builders construct a house, they conceal electrical wiring, air ducts, insulation, home-networking wires and plumbing within the walls. It’s important for all those systems to be well-made and high-functioning, but in the case of plumbing, it’s especially vital.


When you’re thinking about plumbing as part of a renovation or a new build, what you don’t want it to do is almost as important as what you do want it to do. Ruptured or leaking pipes can cause massive damage to other parts of your home, so it’s important to choose a type of pipe that can withstand decades of rigorous use — even in harsh water and soil environments.

In the past, builders of American homes used metals that ranged from lead (obsolete now) to copper (the most common metal pipe found in homes today). These days, plastic is the go-to material for home plumbing. Cross-linked polyethylene products (commonly called PEX) offer many advantages. Flexible Uponor PEX can last longer (rated for 100 years of use), are quieter than metal pipes and resist corrosion, freezing, scale buildup and harsh chemicals. When used with properly installed expansion fittings using a PEX-a ring, Uponor systems also resist leaking at joints and connections.

If you decide to use PEX, it is best to hire a plumbing professional trained to install this material. That’s because PEX requires slightly different installation techniques compared with copper or even rigid plastic systems such as CPVC.


Also, be sure to check the warranty: Some PEX manufacturers offer up to a 25-year warranty if their systems are installed by a trained professional.

PEX plastic tubing has been proven to be more effective in plumbing systems than copper, CPVC and other materials because of several factors.

One such reason is that PEX tubing provides better insulation than copper, so less heat is lost from the hot water moving through the plastic tubing. Less heat loss means less energy is needed to keep water hot.


When it comes to assessing what’s behind your home’s drywall, opting for a plumbing system made of quality products of proven reliability can help save you money on water and energy, while keeping your home comfortable and safe for as long as you live there.

For more information on PEX, visit “Plumbing Systems for Homeowners” at