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Pex freeze easier than copper????

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  • Pex freeze easier than copper????

    Last year we ran new lines for a customer's bathroom during a remodel. We took out the copper and replaced it with pex. We pretty much ran it in the same spot (same holes) as the copper.

    This will be the second time they have frozen over the past month. Granted, the windchill is around -20 to -30 degrees both times, but they said it has never happened before (of course they are going to say this, but maybe its true ???)

    This is above a garage ceiling and I do know the bathroom on the other side of the bathroom we remodeled has a cold floor. That bathroom is also above the garage.

    Is it possible that heat transfers to the copper pipes and the pipes stay warmer longer than pex? It's weird because the its the hot water line that keeps freezing and the hot and cold are ran pretty close together.

    Any thoughts?
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  • #2
    Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

    Hot water has a lower "specific heat" meaning that it takes less "energy" to change states. In laymans terms hot water freezes faster than cold water!


    With regards to why it is freezing up now more than before check for drafts or anything that may have changed. I would imagine that PEX vs. copper for insulating the PEX would do better but I have been wrong MANY MANY times in the past!

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    • #3
      Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

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      • #4
        Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

        Originally posted by HouseOfAtlas View Post
        Last year we ran new lines for a customer's bathroom during a remodel. We took out the copper and replaced it with pex. We pretty much ran it in the same spot (same holes) as the copper.

        This will be the second time they have frozen over the past month. Granted, the windchill is around -20 to -30 degrees both times, but they said it has never happened before (of course they are going to say this, but maybe its true ???)

        This is above a garage ceiling and I do know the bathroom on the other side of the bathroom we remodeled has a cold floor. That bathroom is also above the garage.

        Is it possible that heat transfers to the copper pipes and the pipes stay warmer longer than pex? It's weird because the its the hot water line that keeps freezing and the hot and cold are ran pretty close together.

        Any thoughts?

        My house is around 12 years old and it's starting to get drafts. The same thing could be happening in that house. May have created a few drafts during the change out.

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        • #5
          Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

          I would try to find were the cold air is getting in to freeze the pipe..

          During the remodel {some carpenters } dont think about the plumbers pipes. during the summer its even worse..

          Why would some one want to take out copper pipe .to put in pex ?

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          • #6
            Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

            I would bet it isn't insulated the same.

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            • #7
              Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

              No. How could it freeze faster? Copper is a better conductor of heat/cold.

              J.C.

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              • #8
                Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                Please explain in more detail, this specific heat theory?

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                • #9
                  Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                  I would really wonder if there was some insulating done during the remodel which may contribute to this situation?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                    Here is some UV damaged pex...its been installed on a pier with direct and indirect sunlight for about 5 years. It froze lastnight and split.

                    The only part that split is the sections of pex that were exposed to the sun...the pex under the pier was fine and so was some pex that I replaced on the same pier.

                    Gave the guys boat motor a good power washing



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                    • #11
                      Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                      The Mpemba effect though documented and repeatable requires a very specific set of conditions to occur. Conditions that are not often found in normal circumstances. I would be looking for some place where the carpenter missed the insulation. Once frozen though, pex can be a real bear to thaw. Often times the only thing you can do is bring in the salamanders and get the house up to 100 degrees and wait.
                      sigpic

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                      • #12
                        Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                        Originally posted by mstrplmr View Post
                        I would really wonder if there was some insulating done during the remodel which may contribute to this situation?

                        Or lack of insulation. Here we are require to have a minimum of R 30 in spaces that are subject to freezing..Especially like in your situation an over the garage system
                        ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

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                        • #13
                          Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                          Forget the UV breakdown . They def. forgot about draining down that hose bib..Heck copper will do that
                          ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

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                          • #14
                            Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                            the other thing that I remember about hot water water is oxegen molicuales are less and so it will freeze quicker something like that less or more
                            SMELLS LIKE $$$$$$ TO ME

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                            • #15
                              Re: Pex freeze easier than copper????

                              Originally posted by OLD1 View Post
                              Forget the UV breakdown . They def. forgot about draining down that hose bib..Heck copper will do that
                              The pex that was protected from the sun froze but did not burst...and it froze last year too...did not burst. Only the pipe exposed to sunlight split,the rest was good.

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