Researchers note that plastic lasts at least 450 years. PEX is like plastic with added Superman. Imagine that!
Regardless, PEX freezes at 20℉ on its own. If your winters get below freezing temperatures, your PEX pipe will indeed freeze in your crawl space.
Although, its ability to expand with the water keeps it intact below freezing. Maybe Mr. Fantastic is a better moniker for PEX.
Later, we’ll figure out how to keep your water from freezing. This technique, in turn, will lower your electric bill!
How Do They Make PEX?
To create PEX, makers use three methods. There’s the Engel method, the Silane technique, or by use of powerful beams.
The first process uses peroxide as a catalyst. Pressure and extreme heat blend the components to create the cross-linked product.
The second is the most widespread in the west. PEX-B employs PE, grafted with a volatile silane particle. Then, it’s blended using either the Sioplas or Monosil process. Hot water or steam completes the cross-linked product.
The third takes advantage of powerful radiation, finally, to produce cross-linked polyethylene.
Whichever way it’s made, PEX has large vantages over copper or PVC tubing. This is plain in extreme temperatures.
These are marked as PEX-A, PEX-B, and PEX-C. You can refer to the table ahead to compare.
Types of PEX: A Brief Comparison
As I’ve mentioned, there are types A, B, and C for PEX pipes. The letters are for marking the production methods.
Ratings for UVA and chlorine resistance are straightforward. PEX is rated at 73 F for 160 PSI. Let’s look at them side-by-side.
I’ll focus on the two most common PEX pipes: Types A and B.
|Description||Type A||Type B|
|Easier to bend so there are fewer fittings and connectors needed||√|
|You can easily mend kinks with a heat gun||√|
|Higher pressure rating||√|
|Stronger against chlorine||√|
What to Worry About
As with all plastic, PEX is at risk under UV rays. This is why you should never install your tubing outside. At least not for over a month, the threshold for UV exposure.
In addition, chlorine is added to drinking water. It’ll eat away at your PEX pipes over time. This breakdown is also true for PVC, except for CPVC. Chlorinated PVC is uniquely made to battle chlorine stress.
What Makes It Special?
Luckily, unlike copper tubing, PEX doesn’t corrode from chemical reactions. It rates well at frigid and torrid temperatures. Plus, it’s flexible, making it a top choice for installers.
Its flexible aspect makes PEX a great solution to freezing winters. When your pipes freeze, PEX can expand along with the water. The expansion will keep it from cracking and flooding your home.
Keep in mind, though, that the pipe has to expand evenly to reduce pinpoint pressure and breakage.
Is PEX the One to Rule Them All?
Don’t get mixed up with the details. All types of PEX tubing are suitable for domestic and commercial use. In most uses, PEX has far more rewards than its counterparts.
To renovate, engineers created PEX-AL-PEX 18 years ago. The AL stands for Aluminum. It’s as the name suggests. Two layers of PEX sandwich the AL layer. The combo creates a more rigid structure, as well as a metal feel to the pipes, without the corrosive element of metal.
Can You Use PEX in a Crawl Space?
PEX is a perfect solution for tubing in your crawl space. It’s easier labor and a cheaper option than copper or PVC. Plus, it doesn’t need as much maintenance.
What to Look Out For
Keep in mind, PEX is a treat to mice. They can’t seem to resist this fabric. You should consider sealing your crawl space to protect your pipes.
Do I Need to Insulate PEX in a Crawl Space?
This is a sounding yes. Make sure you sheathe your pipes with the right stuff. This is a critical step.
For your crawl space, you won’t have to worry about sun exposure. It’ll have to fend off rodents and moisture in a vented crawl space.
To get an upper hand, use double insulant for your crawl space PEX pipes. A radiant barrier will ensure stable conditions, and spray foam will keep mice at bay.
PEX is an important upgrade in modern tube systems. It’s easier to install and maintain. Labor is cheaper and plastic doesn’t corrode.
Even in freezing weather, PEX won’t readily crack and flood the building. It’s suited for use in your crawl space.
Albeit attractive to mice, there are plenty of measures you can take. For instance, to keep rodents off your pipes, add a layer of spray foam to insulate your pipes.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.