Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?

 
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:55 AM   #1
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Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


I don't know how much I can add to the title. I'm not trying to start another "PEX sucks/PEX is great" war. Where I'm going to put it, it seems like a good 'testing ground' of sorts....unfinished basement, floor drain, no problem if it leaks some, etc, etc.

My main question is, as it says, if it freezes will it bust open or will it expand enough to accomodate expanding/freezing water?

And after it does freeze (assuming it doesn't open up), will those sections of pipe still be sound or will they need to be replaced, after they expand and contract?

In my mind, they will expand plenty to hold the freezing water. I assume this based on the fact that one of the install methods is to use expanding rings over the fittings and that seems to expand the pipe quite a bit.

I also assume this expansion wouldn't necessarily damage the pipe, in and of itself, based on the same reason.

But even still, I'm looking for a second (3rd, 4th, 5th, etc) opinion because I'm not 100% sure. And I trust the opinions and experience on this board more than most.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


I'm not an expert, but when we bought our mobile home a few years back the dealer had a piece of pex about a foot long, filled with water and capped on the ends, that they kept in the freezer as a sample to show us. We had some frozen lines the first winter, before we had the block laid up around the house. Didn't have anything burst.

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Old 01-27-2014, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


I'm thinking the formulation for regular Pex and Pex-A might be a little different. But I use Pex-A with an expansion tool and connectors. The tool expands the tubing around 50% and it doesn't burst or split it so I'm thinking freezing wouldn't be any kind of challenge to it at all.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:49 AM   #4
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


I had a toilet line freeze the other week. Pex line, was frozen solid. It thawed out and has been fine.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:29 PM   #5
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


Two of my rentals had pex pipe freeze up a few years back. It has been fine so far. The manufacturers say it will be fine.

My (sad) experience with copper is much different.
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:53 PM   #6
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


Thanks for all the answers so far.

Thom, that is exactly where this is. Can't count on tenants to keep the water dripping.

OK, so now a few more questions. Txgencon, you mentioned Pex vs. Pex-A...maybe Pex-A is better...?? And I assume the stuff at HD and other big boxes is just regular Pex? Anyhow, you also mentioned the expansion tool and I've heard other people say that the expansion method is their preferred way of installing. The tools I've seen are battery powered and are expensive . I'll have to look around amazon I guess, but is there a hand powered expansion tool? Is that what you have Tx, or did you spring the (if memory serves, it was) almost $1000 for the battery powered one?
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:06 PM   #7
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jproffer View Post
Thanks for all the answers so far.

Thom, that is exactly where this is. Can't count on tenants to keep the water dripping.

OK, so now a few more questions. Txgencon, you mentioned Pex vs. Pex-A...maybe Pex-A is better...?? And I assume the stuff at HD and other big boxes is just regular Pex? Anyhow, you also mentioned the expansion tool and I've heard other people say that the expansion method is their preferred way of installing. The tools I've seen are battery powered and are expensive . I'll have to look around amazon I guess, but is there a hand powered expansion tool? Is that what you have Tx, or did you spring the (if memory serves, it was) almost $1000 for the battery powered one?
Yeah, there's a hand powered expansion tool but I have the Milwaukee 12 volt expansion tool/kit. One of my fav tools. I gave $387.72 for a NIB kit on eBay. Wirsbo makes a hand operated tool.
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:26 PM   #8
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


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Originally Posted by txgencon View Post
Yeah, there's a hand powered expansion tool but I have the Milwaukee 12 volt expansion tool/kit. One of my fav tools. I gave $387.72 for a NIB kit on eBay. Wirsbo makes a hand operated tool.
Holy sheeeeeot. I was just looking on amazon and one of the battery powered ones is $408 and the Wirsbo hand operated one is $399.......well I guess for $9 more .

I also found this, but the rating doesn't really instill a lot of confidence.

I'll keep looking...the hunt is on, and I've got time.

Thanks again for your insight.
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Old 01-27-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jproffer View Post

Holy sheeeeeot. I was just looking on amazon and one of the battery powered ones is $408 and the Wirsbo hand operated one is $399.......well I guess for $9 more .

I also found this, but the rating doesn't really instill a lot of confidence.

I'll keep looking...the hunt is on, and I've got time.

Thanks again for your insight.
Before milwaukee came out with abb expander the battery powered one was over 1k.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:07 PM   #10
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


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Before milwaukee came out with abb expander the battery powered one was over 1k.
Which was still a bargain compared to a pro-press tool.
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:25 PM   #11
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


When we switched to PEX, the plumber crews used a hand expander. Towards the end, his guys all had a little contraption that chucked into a cordless drill.

I just tried googling for said contraption, no luck. Probably got bought up by Milwaukee or ProPress to control pricing?

Which leaves Rothenberger.
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Old 01-28-2014, 07:44 AM   #12
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


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Originally Posted by SmallTownGuy View Post
When we switched to PEX, the plumber crews used a hand expander. Towards the end, his guys all had a little contraption that chucked into a cordless drill.

I just tried googling for said contraption, no luck. Probably got bought up by Milwaukee or ProPress to control pricing?

Which leaves Rothenberger.
That would be ideal for the size jobs/frequency that I'll ever use it. Figures it's nowhere to be found now lol.
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:34 AM   #13
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


I have PEX in my lake cabin done with cinch rings, no problems.

Just make sure anyholes or hangers are 2x the size of the pex so it can expand w/o getting squeazed.....the only pipe fails I have seen is from 1/2 pex going thru a 5/8 hole in wood
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Old 01-28-2014, 09:58 AM   #14
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


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Originally Posted by Red Adobe View Post
I have PEX in my lake cabin done with cinch rings, no problems.

Just make sure anyholes or hangers are 2x the size of the pex so it can expand w/o getting squeazed.....the only pipe fails I have seen is from 1/2 pex going thru a 5/8 hole in wood
You know I hadn't thought of that until you said it. Even with that being my main question lol. I would have bought nail on hangers for 1/2" and nailed it tight and called it good. Thank you for that!
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:41 AM   #15
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


there are 3 grades of Pex A,B,C....only 2 manufacturers of A Grade- Wirsbo And Rehau

both of them will expand to double their size w/o cracking

B & C grades will expand, but not as much.....

I only use A Grade, but 98% of the competition doesn't....they want the cheapest product instead of the best.....

the different grades use different manufacturing processes....its how they cross link the Pex.....you cannot use my Wirsbo Expansion tool on B grade ..it will break the stuff....

fittings will always be the weak spot.....none of them will expand...I use the engineered plastic and haven't had any issues
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:29 AM   #16
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


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there are 3 grades of Pex A,B,C....only 2 manufacturers of A Grade- Wirsbo And Rehau

both of them will expand to double their size w/o cracking

B & C grades will expand, but not as much.....

I only use A Grade, but 98% of the competition doesn't....they want the cheapest product instead of the best.....

the different grades use different manufacturing processes....its how they cross link the Pex.....you cannot use my Wirsbo Expansion tool on B grade ..it will break the stuff....

fittings will always be the weak spot.....none of them will expand...I use the engineered plastic and haven't had any issues
That creates another follow up question. If you use the copper crimp rings (not the cinch type, but the ones fully crimped all the way around) with plastic fittings, what are the odds of crushing/breaking the fitting (assuming the tool is set up correctly, and the go/no go gauge is checking out ok)?
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:16 AM   #17
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


I use the expansion method-pro pex

any lawsuits against pex always,always involves the crimp rings

I use the best method available(I think)
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Old 02-01-2014, 02:02 PM   #18
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Re: Will PEX Break/bust/tear When It Freezes?


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Originally Posted by huggytree View Post
I use the expansion method-pro pex

any lawsuits against pex always,always involves the crimp rings

I use the best method available(I think)
Never heard of lawsuits due to crimp rings.

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