For a long time, copper pipes were very popular for home plumbing, mainly because they are not as corrosive as lead pipes. However, since PEX pipes were introduced in the market, their popularity has soared, especially among DIY lovers.
PEX pipes come in various sizes for different home fixtures. The sizes of PEX pipes range between 3/8 of an inch to 1 inch.
The best sizes for showers are ½-inch and ¾-inch PEX tubes. These dimensions will ensure that water flows adequately. Still, some factors come into play in determining the best PEX size for the shower.
Sizes Of PEX Pipes
As mentioned above, PEX pipes come in different sizes, ranging from 3/8 inches to 1 inch. The pipes are flexible and come in rolls of between 50 feet and 1000 feet, so you can choose the length that best works for you.
Usually, the pipe size is represented in two numbers. The first number indicates the bore of the pipe, and the second number stands for the pipe’s outside diameter.
Still, the most crucial number representing the size of a PEX tube is that which indicates the ‘nominal’ size.
PEX below 1/8 inches are usually too small for showers. If you want to install a pipe for bathroom fixtures such as the toilet or the sink, the ½-inch PEX pipe is the most appropriate.
However, the ¾-inch PEX performs best for appliances that require a lot of water pressure and, therefore, is the best for supplying both hot and cold water to showers.
You can also use it for other appliances that require pressure, like washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.
What Factors Determine the Size of PEX Pipes in The Shower?
Different factors come into play when choosing the most appropriate size of a PEX pipe for the shower. These factors include water pressure, the inner diameter of your shower, the design of your home, and the desired water flow.
Water conservation is a big deal for many people, so they try to choose a size that will save on water, depending on water pressure and convenience. Narrow pipes tend to conserve water better than wider pipes, but it still depends on the fixture or appliance.
For instance, using a narrow tube for a bathtub may conserve water, but filling the tub will take awfully long. So, you may want to install a ½-inch PEX pipe for your bathtub.
Since showers and sinks tend to consume a lot more water, a 3/8-inch PEX will help conserve the water while also providing the required water flow.
The distance between the manifold and a fixture also determines the PEX tube’s size; the longer the distance, the wider the PEX pipe should be. As a rule of thumb, if the distance between the manifold and the appliance is up to 250 feet, then the best size of a PEX pipe is 3/8 inches.
Similarly, 350 feet would require ½ inch PEX, and a 500-feet line would need a ¾-inch PEX pipe to provide adequate water pressure. If the pipe runs along a surface, support it every 20 inches to prevent sagging.
It is imperative to check for the maximum length as the manufacturer recommends. Different brands tend to have varying directives. Therefore, it is best to work with the same brand for fittings and connectors to avoid problems arising from mixing and matching.
New to PEX pipes? Watch this video for further insights:
What Is the Best PEX Size for Shower?
Depending on how much time you spend in the shower and the water flow, the best PEX size for a shower is either a ½-inch PEX or a ¾-inch PEX pipe. Typically, the bigger the size, the more durable it is.
Thus, if you often use a hot shower, then the ¾-inch pipe is the most appropriate. Smaller showers that are not used often, such as outdoor shower booths and RV showers, can do with smaller pipes.
Also, the gallons per minute (GPM) of a shower dictates the size of pipe that you should get. Most showers nowadays have a GPM of 2.5, so a ¾-inch PEX pipe is the most suitable.
Moreover, if you are replacing a copper pipe with a PEX, it is advisable to replace it with a PEX tube one size bigger. For instance, if the copper is ½ inch, then upsize to a ¾ inch PEX pipe. This is because PEX is flexible and can expand or contract as per the weather.
Why Does the Size of The Shower PEX Pipe Matter?
The size of the pipe determines the pressure of the water. Moreover, the size determines the rate at which water flows in your shower. A slight difference in the pipe size causes a relatively more significant difference in GPM.
You want the right amount of pressure and water flow for your shower, so size matters. Also, you should be aware of the basics of the PEX you are buying, so you choose the best size.
Installing A PEX Pipe for Shower
PEX tubes are not only flexible but also continuous. Thus, you can run a PEX pipe from a water source to its fixture.
Before installation, measure the length of the PEX tube required, then get a pipe that fits those measurements.
You should also check the sizes of the valves on the manifold, as those show the largest compatible size of a PEX pipe. For instance, if a manifold has a valve size of ¾ inches, then it is compatible with a ¾-inch pipe or smaller.
What Are the Benefits of Using PEX Tubes for Shower?
One of the benefits of PEX tubes is that they are more affordable compared to other lines, such as copper lines. Also, they are more long-lasting than standard plastics, so a PEX will serve you for longer.
PEX tubes will not contaminate your water, which is more than can be said about copper and lead lines. If anything, most of them are marked BPA-free, so you know the water will be safe to shower with and even brush your teeth in the sink.
Moreover, PEX lines are flexible and super easy to work with. As such, they are suitable for DIY lovers.
Even a novice can do a good job installing the pipe provided they have the right tools and sufficient instructions. What’s more, PEX lines are easy to run through floors and walls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you buy straight PEX pipes?
Yes, you can buy straight PEX pipes. The pipes are available in both straight lines and coils. While the coiled ones can be quite rigid, you can still straighten them by using heat, laying them in the sun for a while, or by using a straightener.
Can you bend a PEX pipe?
Yes, you can bend a PEX pipe but to a certain limit depending on the size of the tube. The rule of thumb is that you should not bend the pipe rounder more than a radius six times its size. For instance, you should only bend ½ inch pipe up to a radius of 3 inches.
PEX pipes are popular for home plumbing and come in different sizes to fit different fixtures. Ideally, the best pipe sizes for showers are ½ inches and ¾ inches.
If your shower has a water flow of 2.5 GPM and has hot water, then the ¾ inch is the most suitable. Follow the manufacturer’s directives on the best way to install the pipe.