Cross-linked polyethylene, better known as PEX, has become a major piping revolution over the past few years. As it is a flexible piping option, it makes for easier installation inside homes opposed to rigid copper or PVC pipe. However, while PEX is chosen for many re-piping and new piping installations for its benefits, does it still have the same problems as other piping options when it gets cold? Do PEX pipes freeze and burst like the rest?
The simplest answer is that PEX pipes can freeze if not insulated, and they can burst like copper or PVC when that happens. However, as a plastic, PEX has the certain benefit of flexibility. Unlike copper of even PVC, PEX has the certain ability to slightly expand and contract. This means that when water freezes, the pipe can expand to accommodate it without bursting. However, PEX is not perfect in this regard. After enough freeze and thaw cycles, the material will lose that flexibility. This means while PEX can withstand freezing more than other piping options, but it will eventually spring a leak as it gets worn down.
PEX piping isn’t a good choice for outdoor use. Like other piping options, it needs to be insulated to protect from freezing. So while the first time your PEX freezes probably won’t be an issue or cause bursting, you will need to find that pipe and make sure it is insulated so it doesn’t happen again.
Considering PEX Piping Options?
If you have rapidly aging plumbing and are looking into new plumbing options, PEX is an excellent choice. It is more affordable, flexible, and has less capacity for contamination compared to other piping options. However, while PEX is a good choice, it still needs care like more traditional piping options. If you are considering PEX piping as a replacement for your leaky old pipes, contact us today to see what we recommend for your unique needs.