Pex tubing compatible with heat tapes?

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plumducky

Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:29 pm

Pex tubing compatible with heat tapes for a water service line application, under mobile home"?

Thx, PlumDucky


altasnowman
Posts: 98
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Location: Edmonton,AB Canada

Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:28 pm

Hi and merry christmas PlumDucky,
All the plumbers i have talked to have advised against the use of heat tapes with pex. wish that i could use pex and heat tapes together,that would solve everyones problems.
The dirtyist word in the dictionary CANCER....it takes many too soon and leaves nothing but anger and pain. We all mourn the loss of those that have succummed to this......

Palomino

Sun Dec 23, 2007 12:17 am

Wrap the pex in aluminum foil and then apply the heat tape over it add the half inch insulation and plastic vapor wrap. This will disperse the heat around the pex pipe. This is obviously a feature that copper pipe has built in. The heat tape I use is rated for plastic pipes according to the manufacturer. Also, with plastic pipes make sure there is always water in the pipe while the heat tape is on. This is very important so that heat disperses evenly and doesnt overheat somewhere on the line.

I use the heat tape from www.Easyheat.com and its working well for me so far up in Athelstane, Wisconsin with a low temp of -13F so far this year. You can buy it at most lowes and Ace hareware stores in the colder climates.

Mike

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Greg
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Sun Dec 23, 2007 10:41 am

I have never had any issues with heat tape and Pex IF properly installed. Follow the heat tape's installation instructions, and there should be no problems. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

plumducky

Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:01 am

Thank you Altasnowman (seasons greeting to you also! part of the season still remains :), Palomino and Greg, for you replies.

I have since (posting) learned that a contractor has installed new meters and service lines for all residents of a large mobile home park in my area (Cincy, Ohio). They used the Raychem/Frostex brand of heat tape on 3/4" nominal size Zurn Pex. That brand of tape apparently (looked at the technology online) keeps the heat applied to a bare minimum - I mean it only activates heat in the tape where needed on the pipe, and only an amount of heat proportional to the amount of "cold" on the pipe.

Wondering if Greg's experience was with brands such as Easy Heat and Wrapon (the only other ones I know about).

Another issue I've been wondering about is (permitted to ask it here or should I post a new topic?), the manufacturers (Easy Heat and Wrapon - this doesn't apply to the Raychem/Frostex brand) warn against using the standard lengths (found at Home Depot, etc.) of foam-cell insulation, over their heat tapes, citing FIRE HAZARD from possible overheating of the tapes. However, I see it on all my neighbors' homes, and wondering if fires have actually occurred from this, and/or if this is still a standard practice for installers? (but I'm assuming it was done by "installers").

I have checked online with the Consumer Product Safety site, but if I remember correctly, it didn't distinguish between fires of other causes , like old tapes shorting out or whatever causes the fires, and fires from overheating due to applied foam-cell insulation.


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Greg
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Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:18 am

Plumducky, I have used wrapon & frostex , frostex is nice because you can cut to lengh.
Make no mistake, any heat tape can be a fire hazard if it is not correctly installed. I have seen fires caused by them. I am not sure how the insurance company would handle a claim caused by one. I would think they would find any loop hole they could find to get out of paying a claim. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

plumducky

Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:02 pm

Thanks much Greg.

One last question please. Is there any other make of heat tape, besides Raychem's Frostex brand (but similar to) that also doesn't have a problem with foam-cell insulation sleeves installed over the heat tape? Both Easy Heat and Wrapon both warn against foam-cell used with theirs.

I'm asking becaues Frostex is comparitively quite expensive: the only suppliers for it I've found so far, in my area, are 2.32/ft. plus 18.00 for the plug kit w/integrated GFI component - the other one is a little bit better at: 1.89/ft. plus 15.00, but he's currently out of inventory.

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Greg
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Fri Dec 28, 2007 2:35 pm

In my area, wrap on & Frostex are about the only 2 avalable. There may be others but I am not aware of. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."

plumducky

Sun Dec 30, 2007 10:02 pm

Thx for all your help Greg, and all the others for their responses - y'all have a safe new year!

Steve S.
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 7:41 pm
Location: Maine

Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:09 am

Hi-
Pex can be used for water mains? Or are we talking about exposed smaller pipes coming from water heater...any way I can vouch for the quality of Frostex brand. Mine has been working flawlessly for 11 winters here in Maine...PlumDucky you're right about the Frostex, I can barely feel any heat coming from the tape at times, but it certainly must be doing the job :D
--Steve

plumducky

Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:46 pm

Thx for your reply Steve.

The technology of Frostex is pretty slick. If you or anyone else is interested, there's a good flash presentation of exactly how it works, here:

http://www.tycothermal.com/peru/english/heat%5Ftracing/ See the section in left nav column, title: Learn About
Raychem Self-Regulating Technology

Someone else will undoubtedly will help with your water mains (for Pex) question, but it also depends on exactly what you mean by "water mains" (as far as the size goes). Some peeps say "mains" and mean smaller service lines etc. The mobile home park I mentioned above, installed Pex for all their service lines leading from the meters (under the mobile homes) to the water heater area connections. It was 3/4" nominal size. - I.D. was about 5/8" and OD is 7/8". Their service lines coming from their street mains up to the meters were also plastic, but couldn't tell what type (it wasn't of the standard colors for Pex that I recently learned about, so I'm not sure), but I know that some Pex can be buried.

Lots of information at

http://zurnpex.com

There's few different manfacturers of Pex. Zurn Pex is the brand I found at Home Depot in my area. Cincinnati area.[/img]

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