PEX piping is a common alternative to the usual plumbing pipes. Most plumbing uses PVC and copper pipes, but PEX tubing has become quite a popular alternative.
This is due to the ability for PEX pipes to expand which makes them less likely to freeze than other pipe material. This prevents bursting pipes in the cold weather.
However, while PEX piping is better in the cold, this article will explore whether PEX pipes are freeze resistant. Read on to find out!
What Are PEX Pipes?
PEX pipes have become very popular pipes to use in plumbing. PEX pipes are also referred to as cross linked polyethylene tubing.
They are made from a flexible plastic material that is commonly used in plumbing systems. This plastic was invented in 1968 and it was created with the intention of plumbing. It was first introduced as a plumbing pipe.
PEX is very recognizable. It is that very colorful roll of pipe that you see at your local plumbing store. Usually, you will see it in blue and red rolls.
For those interested in how these pipes integrate with other types, learn more about connecting PEX to PVC.
The reason that PEX had such a surgance in plumbing when it was created was because of its ability to be flexible.
This helps to reduce the risk of a burst pipe, which is a common problem in a plumbing system. These burst pipes are caused by the pipes freezing in the winter.
Pros Of PEX Pipes
The flexibility of PEX pipes not only reduces the risk of the pipes bursting due to them freezing. It also makes the installation process a lot easier.
This is because, instead of having to cut the pipes to get them into the spaces that they are required, you can instead bend the pipes to fit them in.
Additionally, the longevity of PEX pipes is a notable advantage.
Cons Of PEX Pipes
PEX has some negatives which is why they are not just universally used. One of the main drawbacks of these pipes is that they deteriorate when they are placed in direct sunlight.
This can cause them to disintegrate earlier than they should.
The molecular structure of these pipes disintegrates in the direct sunlight so it is only really suitable to be used underground or in positions that are not in direct sunlight.
Do PEX Pipes Freeze?
PEX pipes can freeze. They usually freeze when the temperatures fall to under 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the temperature gets lower, the chances of the pipes freezing rises. At this temperature, ice will begin to form.
You may have your pipes insulated if you are often in temperatures that are below 20 degrees. If you have this, your pipes will be able to reach a slightly lower temperature before they freeze.
Over time, and if the temperature remains very cold, the ice will build up within the pipes and will end up blocking the water flow.
When this happens, it is possible that the pipe may burst, causing a big headache for you!
Will PEX Pipes Burst?
PEX pipes can burst if they freeze solidly. However, in comparison to some other materials, they are not as likely to burst because they are quite flexible.
This means that when the ice expands the pipe as it freezes, the pipe has some leeway to expand with the ice before it bursts.
As well as this, unlike copper pipes, PEX isn’t a conductor so it is less likely to burst because of this too.
Causes Of Frozen PEX Pipes
PEX pipes freeze because of the outside temperature. This happens when the temperature falls below the alert temperature for these pipes which is 20 degrees fahrenheit.
In the US, you will find that every state experiences frozen pipes at some point, with extreme cold fronts causing a lot of mayhem in the warmer states because they are not as set up for the problem.
Not only can outdoor underground pipes freeze, the cold can also cause the indoor pipes to freeze. This usually happens if the residents are not in the home and they do not leave any heating on.
Complications Of Frozen Pipes
When PEX piping freezes, it expands to allow for the extra size in the pipes that is caused by ice.
While this process prevents the pipes from bursting, this does put pressure on the pipes and they will not be able to withstand this for a long time.
Excessive movement will eventually put too much pressure on the pipes and will cause the PEX to deteriorate over time. This can cause leaks and burst pipes. So, you don’t want a frozen PEX pipe.
How To Prevent Freezing Pipes
PEX pipes hold up to freezing temperatures well but there are still a few things you can do to prevent PEX pipes from freezing. These include:
- Keeping your HVAC temperature above 55 degrees fahrenheit.
- Using PEX pipes and foam insulation.
- Using insulation when installing your pipes.
- Drain your outdoor faucets sometimes.
- Install freeze-proof outdoor pipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Water Pipes Don’t Freeze?
There are no water pipes that won’t freeze when the temperature drops. PEX pipes are one of the best options because they don’t freeze as easily as others and they have a large amount of flexibility.
They are great if you live in cold conditions as they are much less likely to burst even if they do freeze.
What Temperature Do PEX Pipes Freeze At?
PEX pipes freeze at 20 degrees fahrenheit when they are underground. If your PEX pipes are exposed outdoors, then they will freeze at around 32 degrees.
If you often experience low temperatures like this then you may want to consider insulating your pipes to give them some more leeway when it comes to freezing.
Pex pipes are a great option when you are choosing your outdoor plumbing pipe material. While it can freeze, these pipes won’t freeze as easily as other materials.
As well as this, if they do freeze, the pipes will expand and contract to stop the pipe from bursting.
Sometimes, these pipes will still burst but you are giving yourself a much better chance at not having to deal with that issue!