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PEX Colors

What Do PEX Colors Mean?

Polyethylene cross-linked (PEX) pipes have recently gained a lot of popularity across the world. It has become a useful tubing in most plumbing applications, from water piping, radiant heating, and electrical cables to cooling systems. It’s estimated that PEX is used in more than 60% of new construction residential water supply systems. Generally, most homeowners and plumbers are slowly moving from conventional copper and galvanized pipes. It is a result of PEX’s durability, ease of installation, affordability, and flexibility.
PEX pipes are available in various lengths, sizes, and colors. Color coding is one of the concerns for most people. What does a certain color of PEX pipe mean? Does color serve a certain purpose in plumbing? It is precisely what this article answers.

PEX Tubing Color Codes and Their Meaning

Color coding of different pipe systems is a common practice applied across different industries. Pipes are assigned a particular color to differentiate the content in them, especially where there is more than one pipeline. It also applies to PEX pipes, and each color is essential in the plumbing system, as discussed below:

1. Blue PEX tubing

A blue color on PEX pipes shows that a pipe should be used for cold water distribution lines. Therefore, a plumber or homeowner can easily ensure cold water lines are properly connected when doing a pipe installation or maintenance.

2. Red PEX tubing 

A red color on PEX pipes shows that a pipe should be used for hot water distribution lines in a plumbing system. Similar to blue PEX tubing, the red indicates that the pipe should be connected to accommodate the flow of hot water.

3. White PEX tubing 

Unlike red and blue PEX pipes, plumbers often use white PEX pipes, which are used for both hot and cold water distribution lines. It’s a versatile option that supports flexibility in plumbing designs, especially in non-residential applications. It’s also commonly used for single-color systems. However, how white tubing is used may differ from one PEX manufacturer’s recommendation to the other.

4. Orange PEX tubing 

An orange color on PEX pipes shows that a pipe is meant to be used in radiant heating systems or hydronic heating systems in buildings. Most orange PEX pipes are categorized as oxygen barrier PEX pipes, thus making them an ideal option for closed-loop space heating applications.

Importance/ Benefits of PEX Color Coding

A. Visual identification

Often, the color coding on PEX pipes is mainly meant for visual identification, such that when a plumber or homeowner looks at the color of a PEX pipe, they can easily determine its intended use.

B. Standardization 

PEX pipes are coded with standardized colors, ensuring consistency across different facilities and industries.

C. Improved safety and efficiency 

The color of a PEX pipe helps a plumber or an emergency responder with an idea of the content inside a pipe by just looking at the color of the PEX pipe. Consequently, they’ll have an idea of how to approach an emergency properly while observing safety measures. Also, PEX color easily helps a plumber or technician identify the correct pipes and components, thus saving time and reducing the risk of error or accidents during maintenance.

Note: PEX colors are more of a convenience than a compliance aspect. While plumbing codes in some jurisdictions and industries may require color coding to identify the content of piping systems, in most places, it’s not a compliance requirement. More importantly, the color coding of a PEX pipe doesn’t necessarily affect its performance, provided it’s used as the manufacturer recommends. 

Bottom line

Are you undertaking a plumbing project as a plumber or a homeowner? Understanding the various colors used on PEX tubing is essential for identifying the appropriate pipe to use or work on. As a result, you’ll have a smooth installation, ultimately enhancing the reliability of your plumbing system. Having the proper tools when working with PEX pipes is also essential. iCrimp is a reliable platform for all your tools and fittings, such as PEX expansion, PEX pipe cutters, PEX pressing, and PEX crimping tools.






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