In some parts of the country, cold winters are the norm, while in others, cold spurts come and go. In both cases, pipes are at risk of freezing and bursting. And when that happens, home owners become burdened with an inconvenience they don’t need. Or if you’re in the middle of the build, the risks of project delays and increased budgets because of emergency repairs become a real likelihood.
That’s why the type of pipe you use matters. And when it comes to preventing these headaches, PEX pays off. Not only does it add value to the installation because it’s more freeze resistant than pipes like CVPC and copper, but it’s also superior in every season, cold or not.
Winter Benefits of PEX
Whether it’s PEX-a, -b or –c, this pipe type is more freeze resistant than rigid pipes. PEX, or cross-linked polyethylene, has a chemical structure that gives it flexibility to withstand pressure increases and perform better in the winter. If water freezes in the pipe, for example, PEX will expand to accommodate the change. Then it will contract back to original dimensions once thawed.
Cold temperatures don’t affect the strength of PEX pipe either — except in extreme temperatures. However, freeze-resistant pipes are not freezeproof. So it’s important to insulate pipe exposed to freezing temperatures during installation.
If you work in the South, you may assume none of this applies to your jobs. While the region may not have long or frigid winters, it does experience sudden temperature dips that can leave pipes vulnerable to freezes.
Year-round Benefits of PEX
Along with freeze resistance, PEX is an attractive pipe choice for re-pipes or new construction for several reasons.
PEX is affordable. When installing a plumbing system from meter to fixture, tubing costs can add up. PEX is cheaper than copper, and its price does not fluctuate. Plus, its flexibility means you can sometimes bend the pipe and spend less on elbows.
PEX is long lasting. PEX is corrosion resistant and isn’t affected by electrolysis, which can cause small pinhole leaks in copper piping. Some brands of PEX, such as SharkBite PEX, offer the highest-rated chlorine resistance and six-month UV resistance to combat risk of premature failure.
PEX is efficient. When you use PEX pipe with plumbing systems that are quick to install, such as SharkBite EvoPEX, you spend less on labor costs. Push-to-connect systems that work with PEX also help address the labor shortage because they have less of a learning curve, helping new hires get to work quickly.
PEX is safe. PEX uses mechanical fittings instead of soldering, so you don’t have to worry about a potential fire hazard or injury during installation. PEX is resistant to leaching, pitting and mineral buildup, too. Additionally, it has no risk of copper traces in water from the breakdown of pipe, which means cleaner, healthier water.
Learn more about PEX and the SharkBite EvoPEX plumbing system here.