Best Pipe Materials for Texas Freeze Conditions

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Best Pipe Materials for Texas Freeze Conditions

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The Texas Freeze damaged many homes' plumbing
The Texas Freeze damaged many homes' plumbing

In 2021, Texas experienced one of its most severe winters on record. Many individuals lost power due to hazardous conditions, and homes across the state suffered from widespread plumbing system failures.

To prepare for any future unexpected Texas Freeze, it is crucial to ensure that your plumbing is as freeze-resistant as possible.

In this article, we will delve into how the Texas Freeze affected plumbing systems, identify which pipe materials were particularly impacted, determine the best pipe material for sub-zero conditions, and explore how repiping with PEX can both protect and ensure the longevity of your home's plumbing.

How Did the Texas Freeze Impact Plumbing?

The 2021 Texas Freeze had a profound impact on plumbing systems across the state, revealing vulnerabilities and triggering widespread issues.

As temperatures plummeted to unprecedented lows, plumbing materials faced significant challenges, causing the plumbing in many homes to fail. Over 12 million people were affected by burst or frozen pipes.

The sudden demand for water, as residents attempted to insulate their homes and thaw frozen pipes, overwhelmed water supply systems, exacerbating the crisis.

The freeze also exposed shortcomings in insulation and installation practices, with poorly protected pipes being more prone to freezing.

Overall, the Texas Freeze highlighted the need for resilient plumbing materials, proper insulation, and emergency preparedness in regions susceptible to extreme cold events.

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What Pipe Materials Were Particularly Affected By the Texas Freeze?

During the Texas Freeze, piping materials failed for a variety of reasons, including some of the most commonly used and trusted materials.

  • Copper pipes: Although renowned for durability, copper pipes encountered difficulties as the rapid expansion and contraction created by severe temperature fluctuations led to fatigue and subsequent damage, culminating in leaks.
  • CPVC pipes: Commonly chosen for their affordability, CPVC faced heightened brittleness as temperatures plummeted. The material's rigidity and inability to withstand extreme cold resulted in fractures and leaks.
  • Galvanized steel pipes: Prevalent in aging plumbing systems, galvanized plumbing succumbed to corrosion brought on by the prolonged freeze, compromising their structural integrity and causing reduced flow and pressure problems.
  • Polybutylene pipes: Notorious for their susceptibility to cracking in freezing conditions, polybutylene experienced extensive bursting and breakages.

The failures of each of these plumbing materials underscore the need for region-specific considerations and the installation of resilient materials and insulation measures to help tackle the impact of extreme cold events.

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What is the Best Pipe Material for Freezing Conditions?

While there is no such thing as "freeze-proof" piping, we always recommend PEX tubing as the safest option for homes that could experience freezing temperatures.

PEX has several advantages in freezing temperatures:

  1. Flexibility: PEX retains flexibility down to at least -40°C, in comparison to more rigid pipes such as copper and CPVC.
  2. Low Thermal Conductivity: If a part of your plumbing system is exposed to freezing temperatures, it will take longer for the water in PEX pipes to freeze compared to other piping materials.
  3. Fewer Fittings: Flexible PEX tubing can be run in continuous lengths from a central manifold straight to each outlet, with far fewer connections overall, making PEX less susceptible to failure if water freezes in a section of the system.
  4. routing new PEX tubing through walls
    Routing new PEX tubing through walls
  5. Routed Through Insulated Spaces: As seen in the Texas Freeze disaster, incomplete insulation can be quite common in southern states. Being able to route plumbing through insulated spaces ensures it is protected.

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Protect Your Pipes From Freezing: Consider Using PEX

If you have experienced plumbing issues due to sudden freezes, PEX tubing is the best option to prevent any future problems.

We can advise you on the best options for repiping with PEX tubing. During installation, we will ensure that PEX tubing is routed through areas that won't be exposed to freezing temperatures. We can also insulate the pipes as necessary to mitigate the risk of future freeze damage.

It's important to consider a repiping solution that ensures the longevity of your pipes regardless of the conditions.

Our One-Stop Repipe™ Process can be completed in just 1-2 days and comes with a lifetime warranty, ensuring your peace of mind during sudden freezing temperatures.

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Get your free estimate today

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One-Stop Repipe™ for your home.

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Get a Quote for Repiping Your Home

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced the plumbing in thousands of homes since 1991 with PEX tubing. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their overall home repipe experiences. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ Process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high-quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have an article that covers repipe cost factors in detail. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and one of our local repipe consultants will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed-price quote. Beat the freeze, repipe with PEX.

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About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our  One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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