PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene material that comes in coils or sticks, making it more flexible for piping. PEX pipes can burst when frozen; it is therefore necessary to take measures that will prevent them from freezing. Below is a detailed discussion on preventing your PEX pipes from freezing.
PEX Pipes Insulation
PEX pipes may be durable and resistant to temperature changes but need insulation like copper pipes.
Materials needed for insulation include tape measure, insulation tape, scissors, and foam insulation tubes. We can now discuss a step-by-step PEX pipe insulation process below.
Step 1: Measuring the PEX Pipe
Using the tape measure, get the length of the PEX pipe that you need to insulate. The measurements will help you know the measurement for cutting the foam insulation tube.
Step 2: Installing the Insulator
Installation is simple: use your hands to pull and open the end of the foam tube. Once it is opened, push your PEX pipe right into the center of the foam tube.
Proceed to the end of the foam tube following the same steps; opening the foam tube slit and fixing the PEX pipe in.
Step 3: Fixing the Foam Tube Back Into Shape
After pushing the PEX pipe into the insulator, the next step is to seal the foam tube. Along the slit are plastic strips you must pull off to expose the glue. Again, use your hands to push both ends of the slit together to allow the glue to stick them together.
Step 4: Joining Two Foam Tubes Together.
As you proceed to the next section of the PEX pipe, you need to connect the previous foam tube to the next one using insulation tape. Ensure the joint is properly secured by wrapping the insulation tap three times around the joint.
Maintaining a Warm Temperature
PEX pipes will freeze at temperatures below 200F. It is necessary to ensure that your home maintains temperature levels not below 550F. At 550F within the home, even if the temperature outside is freezing, your PEX pipes will not freeze.
Routing PEX Pipes from the Inside of Your House
During piping, ask your plumber if your home space is properly conditioned to accommodate PEX pipes routing from the interior. When routing from the interior, your PEX pipes may not freeze because the inside is generally warmer.
Also, ask your plumber to install PEX pipes away from the freezing areas. Instead fix them in parts that can receive warmth from the house.
Winterizing your Home Regularly
Winterizing your home means clean gutters, sealed cracks, well-maintained boilers, good detector batteries, unplugged appliances, proper insulation of pipes, etc. These measures can help protect your PEX pipes.
Another way to winterize and keep the pipes from freezing when you are away from home for some time is by draining them. With the help of a plumber, you can drain the pipes and disassemble them that may retain water after draining.
Letting the Faucets Drip
Drips from faucets can serve a great deal in preventing your PEX pipes from freezing. It is advisable to let both hot and cold faucets trickle. A cold or hot drip from the faucets can easily dissolve small frozen water lumps along the pipe.
Here are some steps to follow when letting the faucets drip.
Step 1: Choosing Which Faucets to Let Trickle
It is advisable to allow the faucets in the plumbing areas to drip, such as the faucet furthest from the water source, attached to exposed pipes, and attached to showerheads.
Step 2: Choosing Between Cold and Hot Faucet
Your best choice at this point is the cold faucet or both. But the cold faucet is your best shot because the hot faucet drip may fail if you lose electricity.
Letting both the cold and the hot faucets drip at the same time is an added advantage because if one freezes, the other will work.
Step 3: Let the Water Trickle Until the Temperatures are Above the Freezing Point
It means your faucets should drip continuously to the end of the cold season.
Installing Frost-free Sill Corks
These sill cocks have a ½ inch inlet that can be pushed to connect, applicable to both PEX and copper pipes. They also have a ¾ inch outlet hose for the garden. Through the help of a plumber, you can protect your PEX pipes by installing frost-proof sill cocks.
The main function of a frost-proof sill cock is to prevent pipes from freezing due to low temperatures or cold weather. It can perform this task because the seat valve and stem washer are installed inside the house. The temperature in the house is warmer and keeps the sill cock in check.
Installing Water Monitor
A water monitor is important for daily usage and the following: leaking, failures, freezing conditions and running toilets.
Before you install your water monitor, ensure you identify the best location for the installation; it should be on the general waterline right before the sublines. Install the monitor after the main valve on the main water line coming from the street.
Since water monitors use the internet, also find out if the location chosen for installation has proper internet coverage.
With this information, you can easily protect PEX pipe from freezing. It will help you maintain correct temperature within the recommended range.