PEX and Freezing

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Master Plumber Mark, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. I have heard that WIRSBO PEX will not break
    or crack even when frozen.......

    it will supposidely swell up to about three times its size
    but will thaw out without breaking

    is this true???

    the reason I am asking is I got a builder that
    decided not to heat a crawl space after I have installed
    the all the Worsbo water lines in the crawl....

    originally the funace was to be in the cellar, but then she decided
    after the rough was completely done to install the furnace in the attic
    (against my protests)

    of course they were warned a dozen times about this with their furnace
    man as my witness too,

    but opted not to run any heat to the crawl space when they had the chance to for only a few hundred dollars more....

    I have been paid for the rough ,
    thats about all that is good about this job

    and its about 10 outside right now....

    I cant wait to see what happens....

    I have seen the vanguard type of pex freeze and break
    but was jsut wondering about any experiences
    with the WIRSBO type
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2005
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Mark, I am in Dayton / Cincy area and work on crawls a lot that have no heat in them and they never freeze. The most important thing is that there are no openings to the outside. The ground heat should be enough to keep it from freezing.

    I am also interested about the freezeability of PEX as I just started using it. I bought a nice set of brand new Zurn crimpers and gauge off that fameous auction site. Got a 1/2 and 3/4 (not the combo unit)for $124.00 delivered. Can't beat that.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  3. WIRSBO pex

    I have seen other brands of pex freeze and break,
    but the Wirsbo is not supposed to break when flrozen..
    their are no joints in the crawl , just long runs to bathrooms.

    but whatever happens , its certanly not my problem to buttom up that
    crawl space.....
    and I dont think that the ground heat is going to be
    able to keep it warm enough...especially when you can see cracks of light
    comming through the bricks all around the crawl space,

    I doubt they heeded my warning and
    did a good job,, if any ,, of insualteing that
    16 inch tight crawl splace.--

    I am just a dumb ass fool plumber with concrens about the job
    and they are the contractors with the money that know it all ,

    at least untill the trouble starts...

    but I have already been paid,
    so let the chips fall where they may
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    In the Seattle area, they may you insulate the pipe in the crawlspace.

    However, unless the pipe in right in front of a vent, they don't even when they're not insulated.

    I had one house that the owner had turned the heat off and left for out of state.
    Thirteen copper breaks above the first floor,
    and none in the crawlspace.
    The floors were a mess, with all that water everywhere.

    The floor had insulation, but the pipe didn't.
    The insulation on the floor must have kept the heat from the ground trapped.
  5. To Terry ---Wirsbo and broken pipes

    In Indiana its not code to insulate pipes in
    crawl spaces......

    In the situatioin I am talking about
    the contractor told me that they would be
    installing heat runs into the drafty crawl space
    of this nasty old dump shanty...and insualte it too...

    the water lines and drain lines were installed
    before the floors were still not nailed down
    on about a 10-16 inch crawl space.....

    then after I got it all roughed in in WIRSBO,
    and the floors are nailed down , walls built ect ect,
    they change their minds.........and opt to
    run the heat only to the rooms.....

    I suppose in hindsight if I had known , I could have
    run everything in the rafters and dropped down
    to the two bathrooms and made them
    blow in more insualtion

    Of course its too late to worry about it now.
    I got the money and they got the troubles....which was their
    choice,..... not mine.
    I doubt I will even get to finish the job, as much as they are trying
    to pinch pennies,
    they will probably find a handy man and go
    to LOWES and buy their own fixtures
    its more of a morbid curosity from me
    as to what will happen to the WIRSBO home runs

    So TERRY ---I KNOW that they will freeze

    but when they get a salamander in to heat the crawl
    up and thaw it all out will the WIRSBO be broken too??

    Your opinion please

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2005
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I haven't had a chance to freeze it yet.

    Maybe someone else has done this.
  7. Thank you

    thanks anyway, I heard it said that it
    just swells up like a sausage....

    will post some pictures when I get to go back out
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Considering that you expand it a fair amount with the connecting tool to make the fitting slide in and that water doesn't expand that much, my guess is that it should not split the tubing.
  9. dubldare

    dubldare Plumber/Gasfitter

    In over ten years of running Aquapex, I've yet to hear of, or see a freeze break.
  10. Cass

    Cass Plumber

  11. Thank You

    I will let you know soon how it turns out

    the job is now being finished and the water
    line has been live to the manifold in the mechanical room
    for a few months now.....

    For fun I will probably take my digital camera into
    the crawl space and take a few pics of the pipe...

    its presently about 35 deg outside so hopefully the pipe
    thaws out
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