Nothing is more exciting and fun than living in a cold area, especially during the holidays. Those chilled breezes, hot beverages, and toasty nights, it’s nothing less than a heaven. However, as they say – every good thing comes with a price. Thus, cold weather isn’t always in favor of residential plumbing systems.
It’s pretty standard for pipes to burst due to extreme freezing temperatures. However, cold weather may not always pose the same concern for every type of pipe.
Rigid pipes (PVS and copper) are more prone to freezing and bursting in cold temperatures, while flexible pipes like PEX perform better and have a lesser risk of bursting during cold weather. However, it’s still important to take precautionary steps to prevent PEX pipes from freezing and bursting to elude unnecessary costly repairs.
This post will help you know what a PEX pipe is, what makes it a better choice than the traditional ones, and some tips to prevent them from freezing or bursting in the future. So, let’s get started!
What is PEX Pipe?
PEX is an abbreviation of cross-linked polyethylene, a flexible plastic pipe that has proved to be a better substitute for traditional galvanized steel, PVC, and copper pipes. Compared to rigid pipes, PEX pipes are incredibly flexible plastic pipes that are easy to install. Moreover, their flexibility offers long-term durability and excellent heat resistance in extreme weather.
Here are some things that make PEX pipes an ideal option for extreme temperatures:
- PEX pipes are super resilient to bursting caused by intense weather conditions as they are made with flexible material.
- With easy bending and curving through structural framing, PEX pipes are easier to install.
- In contrast to traditional pipes, PEX can better conserve energy through their walls.
Can PEX Pipe Burst Out from Freezing?
The higher flexibility and chemical structure of PEX pipes give them capabilities to withstand extreme pressure. In addition, due to their flexibility, PEX pipes can quickly expand if ice forms inside them. This expansion lowers their risk of bursting and breaking.
As a plastic pipe, the strength of the PEX pipe doesn’t really change in cold or hot temperatures. However, they will freeze a little under extreme cooling temperatures. Unlike traditional rigid pipes, they can withstand the pressure caused by freezing.
Moreover, keep in mind that severe or continuous stress on PEX pipes can weaken their wall and increase the risks of leaks.
Helpful Tips to Keep PEX Pipes from Freezing
Despite being durable and flexible, PEX may freeze in extreme temperatures. So if you’re looking to preserve the strength of PEX pipes or prevent them from leaking and freezing, consider executing the mentioned-below tips:
Disconnect the PEX Hose if Temperature Drops
You can easily disconnect the PEX hose from the temporary piping system when the temperature drops too low. This will prevent the water inside the pipes from freezing. Moreover, don’t forget to keep the PEX hose in a warm space.
Install a Water Monitor
Not limited to tracking the water usage, installing a water monitor is yet another way to determine the condition of your PEX pipes. You can easily detect the following requirements if you install a water monitor into your piping system:
- Daily water usage
- Leakage or holes in pipes
- Appliance disaster
- Water overflow
- Freezing or bursting risk
Drain the Pipes
Another easy way to prevent the PEX pipes from freezing is to drain the entire plumbing system of your space. It removes all the leftover water inside the pipes to avoid bursting out or freezing.
Don’t forget to switch off the main water line before opening the faucets to allow the water in the pipes to be drained completely.
A Freeze-Proof Sillcocks
Also known as anti-siphon freeze-proof Sillcocks, installing freeze-proof Sillcocks can help regulate a standard water flow in the PEX pipes. These Sillcocks are designed to switch off the water valves in the inlet section to improve freeze resistance.
Add Insulation to PEX Pipes
An easy step to reduce the risk of PEX pipes freezing and bursting is to add a layer of insulation to them. Below are a few tips for insulating the PEX pipes:
- Install foam to insulate PEX pipes as it is the most common and affordable insulation material.
- Clean the pipes from inside with a wet rag before insulating the foam.
- Seal the PEX pipes with insulation tapes where the insulation of foam ends.
Even though PEX pipes are known to be highly resistant to bursts and freezing, it’s not entirely immune to them. So, follow our preventive measures to reduce the risk of ruining your piping system.