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Heat Tape and Pex

NickNukeEm's picture

City water was just installed in a clients house, with copper up thru the ground connected to a brass regulator, backflow preventer, valves, and transitioning to 3/4" Pex A, all in a crawlspace with a rich history of freezing pipes. 


Is wrapping Pex with heat tape until it gets into a conditioned space ok?  The tape instructions have special notes for plastic pipe, but I'm not sure it applies to Pex.  Any ideas? 


I know Pex isn't suppose to freeze (depending on conditions), but I have seen it freeze/burst, and would like to prevent that.


Thanks


 


"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #102080, reply #1 of 10)

"I know Pex isn't suppose to freeze (depending on conditions), but I have seen it freeze/burst, and would like to prevent that."

I doubt that you have to worry about Pex freezing. That is unless you install it on the dark side of the moon.

And copper is already frozen at room temp.

What the problem is not the pipe freezing but the contents.

Sorry for interrupting, but my anal engineer mind would not allow me not to.

BTW, have you talked to the PEX manufacture?

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #102080, reply #2 of 10)

Cute.  I just assumed...


No, although I have the number of the heat tape manufacturer and will call them tomorrow.  I couldn't find a number for Wirsbro cust service, but my search was limited to googling heat tapes.  Back to Google, I suppose.


Thanks.


"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #102080, reply #3 of 10)

I doubt that a heat tape set to less than 55°F
will hurt the PEX. The method of fixing a kink in it is to straighten it out, heat it until it turns clear, and let it cool again, to reset the memory.

 

 


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(post #102080, reply #4 of 10)

I don't know your answer but I remember when I installed pex for my radiant, there was a warning not to use tape on the pex for anything

                            Mike


    Trust in God, but row away from the rocks.

                            Mike

    Small wheel turn by the fire and rod, big wheel turn by the grace of god.

(post #102080, reply #5 of 10)

Heat tracing (tape) will not hurt the pex.


Unless you're using a self adhesive style of heat trace.


Then you need to talk to the heat tape company about the adhesive that they are using.


I doubt it will bother the pex unlike flowgaurd gold cpvc that has about 14 pages of stuff that CAN'T come in contact with the pipe.


"I'm here to chew bubble gum & kick azz, & I'm all out of bubble gum" Rowdy Roddy Piper

 

(post #102080, reply #6 of 10)

The heat tape company recommends covering plastic pipe with an aluminum foil tape to help dissipate the heat more.  I'll have to call somebody to find out for sure if there is a problem with the foil tape adhesives.  I've used Pex before but have never heard of the tape restiction, though it's always been in supply side plumbing, never RH applications.  Any insight to the adhesive question?


Thanks


"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #102080, reply #7 of 10)

Yeah heats not the problem , it's the chemicals in adhesives that can have an adverse effect on plastics.


I am unaware of any restrictions on pex , but our installations have not encountered an issue with contacting chemicals.


Let me go look in my wirsbo book & see if they have any major don'ts in there.


"I'm here to chew bubble gum & kick azz, & I'm all out of bubble gum" Rowdy Roddy Piper

 

(post #102080, reply #9 of 10)

No petroleum based adhesives should ever be installed in contact with PEX.

Now, go ahead, ask me which ones are petroleum based. Heh heh.. I have no idea ;) To be safe, I never put adhesives in contact with PEX directly.

-------------------------------------
-=Northeast Radiant Technology=-
Radiant Design, Consultation, Parts Supply
www.NRTradiant.com

-------------------------------------

-=Northeast Radiant Technology=-

Radiant Design, Consultation, Parts Supply

www.NRTradiant.com

(post #102080, reply #10 of 10)

Talked to Wirsbo this morning.  No adhesives on Pex.  They weren't specific about petroleum based, so the statement will be (for my concerns, at least) all encompassing.


They did say that heat tape can be applied directly to Pex with no problem.


Of course, the heat tape co. states to install the tape using electrical tape.  Guess I'll use nylon tie-wraps instead.


Thanks all.


 


"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."  Invictus, by Henley.

(post #102080, reply #8 of 10)

I have doubts about PEX and heat tape...how would the tape's heat be conducted throughout the PEX? With copper, you know the heat will spread around, assuring full protection.


Look into the more expensive heat tapes. This stuff is covered in braided stainless mesh, and you buy it off a roll. You also need to install your own plug end. Advantage is that there is no thermostat to go wonkers. The tape's wires are somehow connected between a resistive matrix that allow the current through when the air temp is less than 40F or thereabouts.