PEX Pipe, Tubing Freeze-Break Resistance & Benefits Addressed in New Technical Report

The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. has published a new technical report related to the break resistance of PEX pipe and tubing when fluid inside becomes frozen. PPI is the major trade association representing the plastic pipe industry.

PPI TR-52 Resistance of PEX Pipe and Tubing to Breakage When Frozen (Freeze-Break Resistance) explains how proper installation and protection of piping can prevent freezing of fluids inside PEX, how the inherent material properties of PEX can delay freezing of water and how PEX can resist breaking if the fluid inside does freeze.

“The inherent flexibility of crosslinked polyethylene results in excellent freeze-break resistance,” explained Lance MacNevin, P. Eng., director of engineering for PPI’s Building & Construction Division. “This means that if water or fluid-filled PEX pipe or tubing freezes, the elasticity of the material typically allows it to expand without cracking or splitting, and then to return to its original diameter upon thawing. However, there are installation variables that can cause PEX to fail in certain situations, which are described within this report, and the freezing of fluid within any type of pipe should be prevented for multiple practical reasons.

TR-52 includes excerpts from Canadian and U.S. model plumbing and mechanical codes about protecting all pipes from freezing, as well as PPI’s recommendations to protect pipes in specific applications.

Published on PPI’s website directly at https://plasticpipe.org/pdf/tr-52.pdf, TR-52 is one of several PPI documents related to the design and installation of pressure pipe materials, which are published as a service to the industry by PPI’s Building & Communications Division.