What freezes easier copper or PEX?
And when it comes to preventing these headaches, PEX pays off. Not only does it add value to the installation because it's more freeze resistant than pipes like CVPC and copper, but it's also superior in every season, cold or not.
The truth is, as with any piping, PEX is still vulnerable to freezing if the temperature drops low enough. But thanks to its flexible material, the plastic expands under the pressure of the freeze, significantly reducing the chance of bursting.
However, the flexible nature of PEX is what makes it more freeze resistant when compared to copper because of this ability to swell and not burst. The capacity to flex allows PEX to better accommodate the pressure that builds up in a pipe when water freezes.
At What Temperature Do PEX Pipes Freeze? Generally, cold temperatures of 20° F and lower will cause the formation of ice in your uninsulated water lines which will cause your pipes to freeze.
Coupled with low production and shipping costs, the savings resulting from installing PEX instead of copper pipes can be significant. Better Energy Efficiency – PEX has a lower thermal conductivity rate than copper. As a result, PEX pipes can help keep hot water hotter for longer periods of time.
The biggest disadvantage to PEX is that it is unknown how well or long it will last. While PEX piping is warrantied for up to 25 years, it is unknown what could happen to PEX piping as the years go on. Since it is so new, it is hard to know what water will do to the plastic over 30 years.
Though copper and other plastic pipes have been around for decades, PEX — cross-linked polyethylene — has offered a more reliable plumbing solution in the U.S. for over 35 years.
Some residual heat from the basement will warm the pipe, and the copper will conduct this heat along its length. This may be enough to keep the water in the pipe from freezing. However, because copper is a good conductor, heat traveling along a copper pipe can also be lost rapidly.
It is interesting to note the bare PEX pipe actually has more heat loss than the bare copper pipe. The PEX has a heat loss of 31.96 Btuh/ft versus 29.634 Btuh/ft for the copper. Pipes with different wall thicknesses will have different amounts of energy loss.
No matter what type of pipes you have in the property, plastic or copper, they will freeze and burst if there is water inside them. When temperatures plummet extreme pressure is built up in pipework due to frozen water causing it to burst.