What Does PEX Mean?

PEX stands for Cross-linked Polyethylene, which is a type of plastic commonly used in plumbing and radiant heating systems. PEX tubing is flexible, durable, and resistant to corrosion, making it a popular choice for both residential and commercial applications.

Here are a few key characteristics and advantages of PEX:

  • Flexibility: PEX tubing can bend and curve around obstacles, reducing the need for fittings and simplifying installation.
  • Durability: PEX is highly resistant to cracking, freezing, and bursting, making it ideal for both hot and cold water supply lines.
  • Corrosion Resistance: Unlike metal pipes, PEX is not susceptible to rust or corrosion, ensuring long-lasting performance.
  • Heat Resistance: PEX can withstand high temperatures, making it suitable for radiant heating systems embedded in floors or walls.
  • Cost-effective: PEX is often more affordable than traditional plumbing materials, and its ease of installation can save both time and labor costs.

Overall, PEX has revolutionized the plumbing industry with its versatility, durability, and cost-effectiveness.

PEX pipe definition

PEX pipe is a flexible plumbing material used for water supply systems and radiant heating. It is made from cross-linked polyethylene, which enhances its durability and resistance to chemicals and temperature extremes. PEX pipes are available in different colors to distinguish between hot and cold water lines. They offer several advantages over traditional materials like copper or PVC, including:

  • Flexibility: PEX pipes can be bent and curved, allowing for easy installation in tight spaces without the need for multiple fittings.
  • Corrosion resistance: Unlike copper pipes, PEX is not prone to corrosion, ensuring long-term reliability.
  • Freeze resistance: PEX pipes can expand and contract, making them resistant to freezing and minimizing the risk of bursting in cold climates.
  • Cost-effective: PEX pipes are generally more affordable than copper and require fewer fittings, reducing installation time and expenses.

Overall, PEX pipes provide a versatile and reliable solution for residential and commercial plumbing systems.

PEX pipe materials

PEX pipes are commonly made from three types of materials, each offering unique characteristics and advantages:

  1. PEX-A: This type is produced using the peroxide method, resulting in a highly cross-linked structure. PEX-A pipes have excellent flexibility, making them easy to install even in tight spaces. They also have exceptional freeze resistance, as they can expand without breaking.

  2. PEX-B: Manufactured using the silane method, PEX-B pipes are slightly stiffer compared to PEX-A pipes. However, they are still flexible enough for most installations. PEX-B is more affordable and widely used in residential and commercial applications.

  3. PEX-C: Also produced using the silane method, PEX-C pipes have a lower cross-linking density than PEX-A and PEX-B. They are the most affordable option and have good flexibility and durability. PEX-C is often used in budget-friendly installations where cost is a primary consideration.

Each type of PEX pipe material has its own advantages, allowing for versatile applications in plumbing and heating systems.

Advantages of PEX pipe

PEX pipe offers several advantages over traditional plumbing materials:

  • Flexibility: PEX pipe is highly flexible, allowing for easy installation around obstacles and reducing the need for additional fittings. It can be bent and curved without the risk of kinking, making it ideal for retrofitting and tight spaces.

  • Durability: PEX pipe is resistant to corrosion, scaling, and pitting, ensuring a longer lifespan compared to metal pipes. It is also freeze-resistant, reducing the risk of bursting during cold weather.

  • Cost-effective: PEX pipe is generally more affordable than copper or stainless steel pipes. Its flexibility and ease of installation contribute to lower labor costs and reduced installation time.

  • Better insulation: PEX pipe has excellent insulation properties, helping to maintain water temperature and minimize heat loss. This can result in energy savings and reduced utility bills.

  • Fewer leaks: PEX pipe requires fewer fittings and connections, reducing the chances of leaks and improving overall system efficiency.

  • Chemical resistance: PEX pipe is resistant to chemicals and can withstand a wide range of water conditions, including acidic or alkaline water.

  • Quiet operation: PEX pipe is quieter compared to metal pipes, as it dampens water flow noise, providing a more peaceful living environment.

Overall, PEX pipe offers a versatile and reliable plumbing solution that combines ease of installation, durability, and cost-effectiveness.

Disadvantages of PEX pipe

PEX pipe has several disadvantages that should be considered before its installation:

  1. Not suitable for outdoor use: PEX pipe is susceptible to damage from UV rays, which can cause it to degrade and become brittle over time. Therefore, it is not recommended for use in exposed outdoor applications.

  2. Higher cost: While PEX pipe can be more affordable than traditional copper piping, it tends to be more expensive than PVC or CPVC pipes. The cost of fittings and specialized tools required for installation can also add up.

  3. Limited temperature and pressure tolerance: PEX pipe is not suitable for high-temperature applications, as it can deform or even melt under extreme heat. It also has lower pressure ratings compared to some other types of piping materials.

  4. Potential for chemical leaching: In rare cases, PEX pipes can release certain chemicals into the water supply, such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). While the levels are typically low and within regulatory limits, it is a concern for some individuals.

  5. Susceptibility to rodent damage: PEX pipes, especially those installed in crawl spaces or exposed areas, can be vulnerable to damage from rodents or other animals that may chew or puncture the piping.

  6. Limited availability of sizes and fittings: Compared to traditional copper pipes, the range of available sizes and fittings for PEX pipe can be more limited. This can make it challenging to find suitable options for specific plumbing configurations.

It is important to weigh these disadvantages against the advantages and consult with a professional plumber before deciding on the best piping material for a particular application.

PEX pipe applications

PEX pipes are widely used in various residential and commercial plumbing applications due to their flexibility, durability, and corrosion resistance. Here are some common uses of PEX pipes:

  1. Potable Water Systems: PEX pipes are commonly used for carrying hot and cold water in residential and commercial buildings. They are suitable for both main water lines and branch lines.

  2. Radiant Heating: PEX pipes are an excellent choice for in-floor radiant heating systems. Their flexibility allows for easy installation in concrete slabs, underfloor heating systems, or baseboard heating.

  3. Hydronic Systems: PEX pipes are used in hydronic heating and cooling systems. They are ideal for distributing hot or cold water to radiators, fan coil units, or air handlers.

  4. Snow Melting Systems: PEX pipes are utilized in snow melting systems to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice on driveways, walkways, and stairs.

  5. Fire Sprinkler Systems: PEX pipes are gaining popularity in fire sprinkler applications due to their affordability, corrosion resistance, and ease of installation.

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Overall, PEX pipes offer a versatile and reliable solution for a wide range of plumbing and heating applications.

PEX pipe vs. copper pipe

PEX pipe and copper pipe are two common options for plumbing systems. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Durability: PEX pipes are known for their durability, resisting corrosion and scale buildup, while copper pipes can corrode over time.
  • Flexibility: PEX pipes are highly flexible, allowing for easy installation around obstacles and reducing the need for fittings. Copper pipes are rigid and may require more fittings.
  • Cost: PEX pipes are generally less expensive than copper pipes, making them a more budget-friendly option.
  • Heat resistance: PEX pipes have excellent resistance to freezing temperatures and can expand without bursting, while copper pipes can be prone to freezing and bursting.
  • Water quality: Copper pipes have been used for decades and are known for providing clean, high-quality drinking water. PEX pipes are also safe and approved for use in drinking water systems.
  • Noise reduction: PEX pipes tend to be quieter than copper pipes, as they minimize water hammer and flow noise.
  • Installation: PEX pipes are typically easier and faster to install compared to copper pipes, as they require fewer connections and can be installed with crimp or push-fit fittings.

Both PEX and copper pipes have their advantages and are suitable for different applications. It’s important to consider your specific needs and consult with a professional plumber to determine the best choice for your project.

PEX pipe vs. PVC pipe

PEX pipe and PVC pipe are both popular choices for plumbing and other applications, but they have some important differences:

1. Flexibility: PEX pipe is highly flexible, allowing for easy installation around corners and obstacles. PVC pipe is rigid and requires fittings for changes in direction.

2. Cost: PEX pipe tends to be more expensive than PVC pipe, but the overall cost may vary depending on factors such as local availability and installation requirements.

3. Durability: PEX pipe is resistant to corrosion, scaling, and freezing, making it suitable for both hot and cold water systems. PVC pipe is also durable but may become brittle over time and is not recommended for hot water applications.

4. Installation: PEX pipe can be installed using fewer fittings, reducing the risk of leaks. It requires specialized tools like crimp or clamp rings. PVC pipe requires solvent welding or threaded fittings for installation.

5. Application: PEX pipe is commonly used for residential plumbing systems, while PVC pipe is often used for drainage, irrigation, and venting purposes.

Ultimately, the choice between PEX and PVC pipe depends on your specific needs, budget, and local building codes.

PEX pipe installation methods

PEX pipe installation can be done using various methods, each suited for specific applications. Here are some common techniques:

  1. Crimp Method: This involves using copper or stainless steel crimp rings, along with a crimping tool, to secure PEX fittings onto the pipe.

  2. Clamp Method: Similar to the crimp method, but instead of crimp rings, stainless steel clamps are used with a designated clamp tool.

  3. Push-Fit Method: Also known as the push-to-connect method, it involves using push-fit fittings that securely connect PEX pipes without the need for special tools.

  4. Expansion Method: This method utilizes an expansion tool to enlarge the PEX pipe, allowing for the insertion of fittings. As the pipe contracts, it forms a tight seal.

  5. Compression Method: In this method, compression fittings are used to connect PEX pipes. These fittings consist of a nut, a compression ring, and an insert.

It’s important to follow manufacturer guidelines and local plumbing codes when choosing the appropriate installation method for PEX pipes.

PEX pipe sizes

PEX pipes come in various sizes to cater to different plumbing needs. The diameter of PEX pipes typically ranges from 3/8 inch to 1 inch, with common sizes including 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, and 1 inch. These sizes refer to the outer diameter of the pipes. The inner diameter of PEX pipes is slightly smaller, allowing for better water flow.

The choice of PEX pipe size depends on factors such as the water flow rate required, the distance the pipe needs to cover, and the number of fixtures it will serve. Here are some typical applications for different PEX pipe sizes:

  1. 1/2 inch PEX: Ideal for residential plumbing systems, supplying water to fixtures like sinks, toilets, and showers.

  2. 3/4 inch PEX: Suitable for larger residential systems or light commercial use, providing water to multiple fixtures simultaneously.

  3. 1 inch PEX: Used for high-demand applications, such as commercial buildings or large-scale plumbing projects, where a higher water flow rate is necessary.

Remember to consult local plumbing codes and regulations to ensure compliance when selecting the appropriate PEX pipe size for your specific project.

PEX pipe fittings

PEX pipe fittings are essential components in plumbing systems that utilize cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipes. These fittings play a crucial role in connecting PEX pipes and ensuring a secure and leak-free system. Here are some key points about PEX pipe fittings:

  • Types: PEX pipe fittings come in various types to accommodate different connections, such as crimp fittings, push-fit fittings, and compression fittings.
  • Materials: PEX pipe fittings are commonly made of durable materials like brass or polymer to provide strength and resistance to corrosion.
  • Installation: The installation of PEX pipe fittings is relatively straightforward. Crimp fittings require a crimping tool, push-fit fittings can be installed without any special tools, and compression fittings require a compression sleeve and nut.
  • Versatility: PEX pipe fittings are versatile and can be used for various applications, including hot and cold water supply lines, radiant heating systems, and hydronic heating systems.
  • Advantages: PEX pipe fittings offer numerous advantages, including flexibility, ease of installation, corrosion resistance, and ability to expand and contract with temperature changes.

In summary, PEX pipe fittings are vital components in plumbing systems, providing secure connections, versatility, and durability.

PEX pipe connections

PEX pipe connections are widely used in plumbing systems due to their flexibility, durability, and ease of installation. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Crimp Fittings: Crimp fittings are commonly used to connect PEX pipes. They involve sliding a copper or brass crimp ring over the pipe, inserting a fitting, and then using a crimping tool to compress the ring onto the pipe and create a secure connection.

  • Push-Fit Fittings: Push-fit fittings offer a quick and straightforward method for joining PEX pipes. These fittings feature a specially designed O-ring or metal grab ring that securely holds the pipe in place without the need for any special tools or soldering.

  • Expansion Fittings: Expansion fittings utilize the unique properties of PEX to create a reliable connection. They involve expanding the pipe using an expansion tool, inserting a fitting, and allowing the pipe to contract and create a tight seal around the fitting.

  • Manifolds: PEX manifolds provide a centralized distribution point for multiple PEX lines, making it easier to control and isolate different plumbing fixtures. They typically feature individual shut-off valves for each branch, simplifying maintenance and repairs.

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Overall, PEX pipe connections offer versatility and convenience, making them a popular choice in residential and commercial plumbing applications.

PEX plumbing systems

PEX plumbing systems offer numerous advantages for residential and commercial plumbing applications. Here are some key features:

  1. Flexibility: PEX pipes are highly flexible, allowing for easy installation around corners and obstructions, reducing the need for multiple fittings and joints.

  2. Durability: PEX pipes are resistant to corrosion, scale, and chlorine, ensuring long-lasting performance and reducing the risk of leaks or failures.

  3. Cost-effective: PEX plumbing systems are often more affordable compared to traditional metal pipes, thanks to their lower material and labor costs.

  4. Easy installation: PEX pipes can be quickly installed using simple tools, such as crimp or push-fit fittings, reducing installation time and labor expenses.

  5. Excellent insulation properties: PEX pipes have superior insulation properties, minimizing heat loss and ensuring efficient water distribution throughout the plumbing system.

  6. Compatibility: PEX plumbing systems can easily integrate with existing plumbing infrastructure, making them suitable for both new construction and retrofit projects.

  7. Safe for drinking water: PEX pipes are approved for use with potable water, meeting stringent safety standards.

In summary, PEX plumbing systems provide flexibility, durability, cost-effectiveness, easy installation, insulation properties, compatibility, and safety, making them a popular choice in modern plumbing installations.

PEX radiant floor heating

PEX radiant floor heating is a popular and efficient method of heating homes. It involves the installation of a network of flexible PEX pipes under the floor, through which warm water circulates. Here are some key points about PEX radiant floor heating:

  • Comfort: Radiant floor heating provides a cozy and even heat distribution, eliminating cold spots and drafts commonly associated with traditional heating systems.
  • Energy Efficiency: PEX radiant floor heating is highly energy-efficient, as it operates at lower water temperatures compared to radiators or forced-air systems. This can result in lower heating costs.
  • Versatility: PEX pipes can be installed in various floor types, including concrete, tile, and hardwood, making it suitable for both new constructions and retrofits.
  • Silent Operation: Unlike noisy forced-air systems, PEX radiant floor heating operates silently, ensuring a peaceful environment.
  • Health and Safety: PEX pipes are non-toxic and resistant to corrosion, providing a safe and durable heating solution.
  • Compatibility: PEX radiant floor heating can be combined with other heating sources, such as solar or geothermal, for enhanced energy efficiency and flexibility.

Overall, PEX radiant floor heating offers a comfortable, efficient, and versatile solution for heating homes.

PEX hot water systems

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is a popular material used for hot water systems due to its durability, flexibility, and resistance to corrosion. PEX pipes offer several advantages for hot water applications:

  1. Flexibility: PEX pipes can be bent and shaped to fit various installation needs, making them versatile and easy to work with.
  2. Corrosion resistance: Unlike metal pipes, PEX is highly resistant to corrosion, reducing the risk of leaks and extending the lifespan of the system.
  3. Energy efficiency: PEX has low heat loss properties, which helps to maintain hot water temperatures and increase energy efficiency.
  4. Reduced noise: PEX pipes dampen water flow noise, providing a quieter hot water system compared to some other materials.
  5. Cost-effective: PEX hot water systems are generally more affordable than traditional copper or steel systems, making them a cost-effective choice for homeowners and builders alike.

Overall, PEX hot water systems offer durability, flexibility, and efficiency, making them a reliable option for delivering hot water throughout a building.

PEX cold water systems

PEX cold water systems are a popular choice for residential and commercial plumbing installations. Here are some key features and benefits of PEX cold water systems:

  1. Flexibility: PEX pipes are highly flexible, making them easier to install in tight spaces and around obstacles. This flexibility also reduces the need for fittings and joints, minimizing the potential for leaks.

  2. Corrosion resistance: Unlike metal pipes, PEX pipes are highly resistant to corrosion, ensuring long-lasting performance and water quality.

  3. Affordability: PEX cold water systems are generally more affordable than traditional metal piping systems, making them a cost-effective choice for plumbing installations.

  4. Fast installation: PEX pipes can be quickly and easily installed using compression or push-fit fittings, reducing labor costs and project timelines.

  5. Durability: PEX pipes are durable and can withstand high water pressure and temperature fluctuations without cracking or bursting.

  6. Reduced noise: PEX pipes have excellent sound-deadening properties, reducing noise transmission within the plumbing system.

Overall, PEX cold water systems offer a reliable, versatile, and cost-effective solution for a wide range of plumbing applications.

PEX pipe in residential construction

PEX pipe has become a popular choice in residential construction due to its numerous advantages. Here are some key reasons why PEX is widely used:

  1. Flexibility: PEX pipe is highly flexible, allowing for easy installation around obstacles without the need for additional fittings.

  2. Durability: PEX is resistant to corrosion, scaling, and freezing, making it a long-lasting solution for plumbing systems.

  3. Cost-effective: PEX pipe is generally more affordable than traditional materials like copper, and its installation requires fewer fittings, reducing overall project costs.

  4. Versatility: PEX is compatible with various plumbing systems, including hot and cold water supply lines, radiant floor heating, and even underground applications.

  5. Energy efficiency: PEX has excellent insulation properties, reducing heat loss and minimizing energy consumption.

  6. Leak resistance: PEX connections are typically made using reliable compression or expansion fittings, reducing the risk of leaks.

  7. Low maintenance: PEX pipe is easy to maintain, as it resists scale buildup and is less prone to corrosion-related issues.

Overall, PEX pipe offers homeowners and builders a reliable, cost-effective, and versatile solution for residential plumbing needs.

PEX pipe in commercial construction

PEX pipes have gained significant popularity in commercial construction due to their numerous advantages. PEX pipe offers several benefits that make it an attractive choice for plumbing systems:

  1. Durability: PEX pipes are highly resistant to corrosion, making them ideal for long-term use in commercial buildings.
  2. Flexibility: PEX pipes are flexible, allowing for easy installation around obstacles and reducing the need for fittings and connectors.
  3. Cost-effective: PEX pipes are often more affordable than traditional plumbing materials, helping to lower overall construction costs.
  4. Faster installation: The flexibility and lightweight nature of PEX pipes enable quicker installation, reducing labor time and expenses.
  5. Resistance to freezing: PEX pipes can expand without bursting, minimizing the risk of damage from freezing temperatures.
  6. Excellent water flow: PEX pipes offer smooth interior surfaces, reducing pressure loss and ensuring efficient water flow throughout the building.
  7. Chemical resistance: PEX pipes are resistant to chemicals and scale buildup, ensuring reliable performance and reducing maintenance requirements.
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Overall, the use of PEX pipe in commercial construction provides a reliable, cost-effective, and efficient plumbing solution.

PEX pipe in plumbing repairs

PEX pipe has become increasingly popular in plumbing repairs due to its numerous advantages. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Flexibility: PEX pipe is highly flexible, allowing for easier installation around corners, obstacles, and tight spaces.

  2. Durability: PEX pipe is resistant to corrosion, scale, and chlorine, which increases its lifespan and reduces the risk of leaks or bursts.

  3. Cost-effective: PEX pipe is generally more affordable than traditional copper or PVC pipes, making it a budget-friendly option for plumbing repairs.

  4. Easy installation: PEX pipe is lightweight and requires fewer fittings, resulting in quicker installation and fewer potential points of failure.

  5. Improved water flow: PEX pipe has a smooth interior, minimizing friction and improving water flow efficiency throughout the plumbing system.

  6. Freeze resistance: PEX pipe can expand and contract without bursting, making it more resistant to freezing temperatures compared to rigid materials.

  7. Compatibility: PEX pipe can be used with various connection methods, including crimp, clamp, and push-fit, offering versatility in repair scenarios.

In summary, PEX pipe offers flexibility, durability, cost-effectiveness, easy installation, improved water flow, freeze resistance, and compatibility, making it a reliable choice for plumbing repairs.

PEX pipe maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your PEX pipes. Here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Inspect for leaks: Check for any visible leaks in your PEX plumbing system. If you spot any, address them promptly to prevent further damage.

  2. Monitor water pressure: Keep an eye on the water pressure in your system. High pressure can strain the pipes, leading to potential issues. Install a pressure regulator if necessary.

  3. Prevent freezing: Protect your PEX pipes from freezing temperatures by insulating them properly. This helps avoid potential bursts and leaks.

  4. Avoid exposure to UV light: PEX pipes are sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) light. Ensure they are not exposed to direct sunlight or UV sources to prevent degradation.

  5. Clean regularly: Flush your PEX pipes periodically to remove any debris or sediment buildup. This helps maintain a smooth flow and prevents clogs.

  6. Avoid harsh chemicals: Refrain from using harsh chemicals or solvents that can damage the pipes. Stick to approved cleaning agents or consult a professional if needed.

By following these maintenance practices, you can keep your PEX pipes in excellent condition and prolong their lifespan.

PEX pipe regulations and standards

PEX pipe is subject to various regulations and standards to ensure its safety and reliability. Here are some key aspects:

  1. Manufacturing Standards: PEX pipes must comply with industry standards such as ASTM F876 and ASTM F877, which outline specifications for materials, dimensions, and performance.

  2. NSF/ANSI Standards: PEX pipes are evaluated according to NSF/ANSI standards 14 and 61 for drinking water system components. Compliance ensures they meet health and safety requirements.

  3. Pressure and Temperature Ratings: PEX pipes have specific limits for pressure and temperature. For example, PEX-A and PEX-B pipes typically have higher temperature and pressure ratings compared to PEX-C pipes.

  4. Installation Guidelines: Proper installation methods are crucial for PEX pipe performance. Manufacturers provide guidelines on proper techniques, fittings, and supports to maintain the integrity of the system.

  5. Building Codes: PEX pipe installation is regulated by local building codes. These codes may specify requirements for sizing, installation practices, and permitted applications.

Adhering to these regulations and standards ensures that PEX pipes meet the necessary quality and safety standards for their intended applications.

Conclusion

In conclusion, PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene, a versatile and durable material widely used in plumbing and radiant heating systems. PEX pipes offer numerous benefits, including:

  1. Flexibility: PEX pipes are highly flexible, allowing for easy installation in tight spaces and around obstacles.
  2. Resistance: PEX is resistant to corrosion, scaling, and chlorine, making it suitable for both hot and cold water applications.
  3. Durability: The cross-linking process gives PEX pipes excellent strength and resistance to impact, ensuring long-lasting performance.
  4. Energy efficiency: PEX’s smooth interior surface promotes better water flow, reducing energy consumption and improving system efficiency.
  5. Cost-effectiveness: PEX is often more affordable than traditional plumbing materials, offering a cost-effective solution for residential and commercial projects.

Whether you’re undertaking a plumbing project or considering radiant heating, PEX is a reliable and efficient choice that meets modern standards and regulations. Its widespread adoption in the industry is a testament to its reliability and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does PEX stand for?

A: PEX stands for cross-linked polyethylene.

Q: What is PEX used for?

A: PEX is commonly used in plumbing and heating systems. It is used for water supply lines, radiant floor heating, and even in hydronic heating systems.

Q: What are the advantages of using PEX?

A: PEX offers several advantages over traditional plumbing materials. It is flexible, making it easier to install in tight spaces. It is resistant to scale and chlorine, which helps maintain water quality. PEX also has excellent resistance to freezing and bursting, making it ideal for cold climates.

Q: Are there different types of PEX?

A: Yes, there are three main types of PEX: PEX-A, PEX-B, and PEX-C. PEX-A is the most flexible and can withstand the highest temperatures, while PEX-B and PEX-C are slightly less flexible but still suitable for most applications.

Q: Is PEX safe to use for drinking water?

A: Yes, PEX is safe for drinking water. It is approved by national plumbing codes and meets the standards for drinking water systems. PEX does not leach harmful chemicals into the water and is resistant to corrosion, ensuring the water remains clean and safe to drink.