Can PEX pipe withstand freezing?

The plumbing system of a house plays a vital role in keeping the house in shape; however, the weather changes have an impact on this depending on the pipes you have used.

It is common for PVC and CPVC pipes to burst when faced with frigid temperatures. Whereas, on the other hand, PEX pipe is flexible and has more tendency to bear cold temperature, but can PEX pipe withstand freezing? Let’s find out in this article.

Domestic water piping is usually done with PEX pipe because it offers multiple advantages over other types of pipes. PEX pipes prove to last longer; they are more flexible, durable, and are easy to install. You can easily curve or bend it to make appropriate arrangements with no elbows required, and it does not break as it is made with bendable and robust material. Plus, the PEX pipes are anti-corrosion, and when you relate it in terms of price, you will find PEX pipes are highly cost-effective.

Having all these benefits, the question remains unanswered whether the PEX can withstand freezing or not. But we surely know that PEX pipe has an advantage over other types of pipes when we talk about freezing.

How cold can PEX pipe withstand?

The structure and flexibility of PEX pipes allow them to expand, and thus, they can survive longer. It’s not the pipe that freezes, but the water inside it. When the water freezes, the line expands and comes to its original form when the water is melted back.

The concept of expanding and contracting makes the PEX pipes more freeze-resistant and more suitable to be used in cold temperatures, but it does not mean that they won’t break.

There is always a limit to which a PEX pipe withstands freezing, and if the water inside freezes frequently, it will weaken the strength, and a time will come that it will fail to resist. From this, we can say that PEX pipes offer great freeze resistance, but they are not freeze-proof.

Nevertheless, it is unlikely that it will reach this stage and will burst. Anyhow, it is better that you take steps to ensure it does not happen at your house.

Prevent your PEX pipe from freezing

It is understood that the water will freeze down as soon as the temperature falls lower than 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There will always be water present in the pipeline despite the matter that you haven’t used them for days.

When the temperature falls below a certain level, the water in the pipes will freeze, and it will build the pressure on pipes to expand. There are steps that you can take to prevent your PEX pipe from freezing and ultimately saving it from bursting.

  • Turn on the faucet and use the water pipeline so that water does not stop at one place, and it keeps running; it will prevent it from freezing even if the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If there are any cold rooms in your house and PEX pipes are going through, you can set up heat fans to prevent the pipes from freezing when the temperature falls. Use the fans only when it is required.
  • If the PEX pipes are in your basement, keeping it close will help in retaining the heat and thus avert freezing the pipes.
  • Mostly, the PEX pipes are also found behind the kitchen cupboards or under the wash-hand basin. When the temperature falls, you should open the vanity and leave the doors open so that warm air can reach the pipes. Similarly, covering air vents to keep the area warm is also preferred in case you feel it is getting cold.
  • If you have a thermostat, keep it at the same temperature, whether it is day or night. It is suggested to set it at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above to avoid freezing pipes.
  • Insulation is necessary no matter the type of pipes you are using at your house. The same standard of insulation should be followed to prevent your pipes from freezing. Foam insulation is commonly used for this purpose as it is flexible and works great.

Thaw a frozen PEX pipe

There is significantly less chance that the pipe will freeze if you take care of the points mentioned above. However, even if you face such a situation, there is no need to panic, as you can easily thaw a frozen PEX pipe. Below, we have discussed the quick and practical techniques to do the task. Read it out if you want to know how to thaw a frozen PEX pipe.

  • The first thing you need to do is inspect the pipe and check for cracks. Sometimes, the freezing can cause a break in PEX pipes, and if you see any, it needs to be replaced entirely, and there is no point in melting it.
  • If there are no cracks, then you can move with the thawing process. Before proceeding further, turn off the main water supply line and open the faucet so that water runs out easily when you start melting it, and it relieves some pressure on the pipe.
  • At this stage, you start the thawing process. It is better that you start near the faucet so that the melting ice can easily escape from the pipe.

There are different ways for the thawing process; if PEX pipes are exposed, you can use a hairdryer, heat lamp, or any other heating device to apply the heat. Do not take the heating device too close to the PEX pipe and keep changing the position as well. Also, remember never to try thawing a pipe with an open flame.

Whereas, if pipes are enclosed, raising the temperature will help. Using the thermostat, infrared lamps, or any other thing that helps in increasing the level of temperature will do the job.

Conclusion

Based on the given information, it is concluded that PEX pipe can withstand freezing but to some extent, and that is more than the other type of pipes available.

As mentioned earlier, PEX pipes provide resistance to freezing, but they are not freeze-proof. Therefore, going through this article will also let you know the techniques you should apply to prevent freezing and how you can thaw in case it is needed.