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Can Pex Be Used for Compressed Air Lines? (Answered)

PEX is a flexible plastic that is gradually replacing copper and steel pipes. It is utilized for water, gas, and air distribution, among other things, just like its predecessors.

You might wonder if PEX is suitable for compressed air lines. Allow us to assist you in determining whether PEX can be utilized for compressed air lines and to share some more pertinent information as well.

Can PEX be used for compressed airlines?

PEX can be used for compressed air lines. Although PEX is not rated for compressed air lines and is rated for water transmission, it is, however, commonly used by various users for compressed air lines. Besides, it is certainly safe and usable for the purpose within certain parameters.

PEX is a kind of pipe that is made with a special kind of polyethylene that is a bit modified in terms of its molecular structure. It is affordable compared to other piping solutions. It is made for water transmission in residential and commercial structures.

But it is commonly used for compressed air lines. As it is affordable and popular, it is preferable by everyone. It can be used in outer compounds without any significant issues.

There are various types of PEX available in the market. Let’s look at some of the many types of PEX that are available on the market and see if they can be utilized for compressed air lines.

PEX tubing:

Yes, PEX tubing can be used for compressed air lines. PEX tubing is commonly used where flexibility is required. But PEX tubing is considered to have one of the least pressure ratings, therefore users need to keep that in mind and use it accordingly.

Uponor PEX:

Yes, Uponor PEX can be used for compressed air lines. Uponor PEX is called a PEX-A-type. It is flexible and can be bent a bit. It has an overall PEX rating to be used for compressed air lines.

PEX pipe:

Yes, PEX pipe can be used for compressed air lines. Although PEX pipe is not intended for this kind of work and is moreover made for carrying water, it can be used for compressed air lines as it has a good pressure rating.

Viega PEX:

Viega PEX can be used for compressed air lines. This is considered to be more robust compared with Uponor PEX in the PEX-A category. It has a better pressure rating but is not high. So it can be used for compressed air lines within a certain margin.

What PSI is PEX piping rated for? Will PEX hold air pressure?

PEX piping is rated for 80 – 160 PSI based on the temperature and pressure rating. The rating will vary if the conditions change. Such as, at around 73 degrees Fahrenheit it is rated for 160 PSI. On the other hand, at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it can take around 80 PSI.

Yes, PEX can hold air pressure. PEX is made of modified polythene molecules that can withstand a certain amount of air pressure for compressed air lines. Thus, people use PEX for certain needs where air pressure is an important fact.

PEX can hold a blow up pressure of around 800 PSI depending on some criteria. The key criteria behind this calculation are the ASTM F876 law. It is said that PEX exceeds these criteria and has twice the capacity to hold compared with the law. 

Other factors that are responsible for this calculation are the size of the pipe, the temperature, and many more.

Although PEX has a high standard of holding air pressure, as it is flexible and prone to stretching. Therefore, it will start cracking also. This may cause the PEX to experience various kinds of damages and cause failures in the compressed air system. 

Thus, it is a good idea to keep the pressure in line with a certain level.

3 reasons to use PEX for compressed air lines

Nowadays, PEX is commonly used for compressed air lines. There are several reasons why PEX is used for compressed air lines. Here are 3 highlighted reasons for you to use PEX for compressed air lines:

Affordable solution for compressed air lines:

PEX is an affordable solution for residential or commercial places that require a system for compressed air transmission. It can cost much less to set up a system for supplying compressed air. Thus, PEX is an ideal choice for compressed air lines.

Resilient against temperature differences:

Temperature causes a lot of pipes and transmission systems to fluctuate or lose their shape. But PEX is resilient against these kinds of issues. It can withstand high temperatures and can hold its length and saves a lot of money of maintenance as well.

Lightweight and flexible:

Compared with other pipes available in the market, PEX is lightweight. It can be easily fitted at any place or wall with the least amount of support. You do not even have to properly distribute the weight of the pipe as this pipe is lightweight.

On the other hand, PEX is also flexible. It can be easily bent according to the need of the user. Thus, it can be really useful to place lines at congested places where frequent bends are required.

How do I connect my PEX to my air compressor?

If you want to connect your PEX to your air compressor in your garage or any other place, here are the steps that you have to follow to do that in the easiest possible way:

Purchase the necessary equipment and fittings:

Before you start connecting your PEX to your air compressor, you should purchase the necessary items to do so. Therefore, make a list and purchase them accordingly.

The mandatory thingsare- a 1/2 or 3/4 PEX pipe, female and male PEX fitting, adapter, air compressor fitting, and Teflon tape.

Prepare the air compressor fitting with the female PEX fitting:

Join and tighten the female PEX fitting with the air conditioner fitting by using an adapter. UseTeflon tape on the adapter and air compressor fitting where the fittings will connect to avoid any kind of air leakage and tighten them together.

Fit the female PEX fitting on your PEX:

Take your PEX and put a copper ring in it. Insert the threaded part of your female PEX fitting in your PEX. Now use crimpers to tighten the copper ring on the PEX so that no air can leak from the joint of the female PEX fitting end.

Fit the male PEX fitting on your air compressor:

Fit your male PEX fitting with the regulator of your air compressor. Use Teflon tape to properly tighten the fitting on the regulator.

Connect your PEX to the male PEX fitting:

Just like connecting the female PEX fitting on your PEX, you need to connect the PEX to your male PEX in the same way.

Get a copper ring and put it in the other open end of your PEX pipe. Then connect your PEX with the male PEX fitting and then use crimpers to properly set the copper ring to avoid any leaks.

What kind of PEX is used for compressed air?

PEX-AL-PEX is used for compressed air. This PEX is a pipe made with polythene that is sandwiched with aluminum. Aluminum is an element with strong materialistic properties. This can help the pipe prevent any kind of stretching or expansion. 

Therefore, this doesn’t crack in the high pressure of compressed air.

This PEX is lightweight. So, this is easily movable from one place to another according to the user’s need. As it is made using a layer of aluminum, it doesn’t corrode.

Therefore, this can withstand a lot of water damage and can reduce yearly maintenance costs. So, PEX-AL-PEX is ideal to use for compressed air.

1/2 or 3/4 PEX for air lines – best PEX pipe for air compressor lines

Yes, 1/2 or 3/4 PEX for air lines is the best PEX pipe for air compressor lines. While the lines are connected with air compressors, they can be used in high air pressure. 1/2 or 3/4 can withstand that pressure. Therefore, it is ideal for air lines.

The main reason behind this is the width of the wall of the pipe itself. As 1/2 or 3/4 PEX has a thick wall around the pipe, it can hold a lot of pressure.

Holding a maximum of 800 PSI is more than enough as garage air compressors can provide a maximum pressure of around 200 PSI. Thus, 1/2 or 3/4 PEX for air lines are considered the best option for users.

Final Thoughts

PEX can be used for compressed air lines. Among all the PEX pipes and tubes available in the market, PEX-AL-PEX is ideal for this kind of air line. But the user has to keep in mind that PEX has a limited pressure range and can not be used in the open as UV rays may cause issues.