Update – The Problem with PEX Pipe

In July of last year, an article on the problems with PEX pipe was published.  In that article, one of the things that was described was the fact that multiple failures were being seen in the same line.  The failures that were described were encountered during the same investigation.  However, a case that was investigated last year has been reopened.  At the time of the investigation, the failed section of PEX pipe was recovered and the section repaired and the line placed back into service.  Now, a few months later, a second failure has occurred in the same line that initially failed and was repaired.  What to do?  Replace PEX piping with copper piping, if feasible.  If not, PVC, CPVC  and polybutylene piping can be acceptable substitutes (at this time 1/8/13). An example of the failure observed in PEX pipe is shown in the photograph below.

Holes In PEX pipe allowing water to escape

Holes In PEX pipe allowing water to escape


About R.J. Hill, P.E.
R. J. Hill is the author of two blogs: R.J. Hill Consulting and the Descendants of James Alexander Hill. Mr. Hill is a registered professional (mechanical) engineer with 42 years of experience, 37 years in private practice. Please visit www.rjhill.com to see the kinds of forensic investigations that Mr. Hill performs.

3 Responses to Update – The Problem with PEX Pipe

  1. atrex says:

    I agree with you PEX is better alternative to CPVC or copper


  2. Lynn says:

    We just had a pipe crack causing water to flood through ceiling in one of our bedrooms. The section was repaired and one month later there was another crack in the same line but not in the same area. Another bedroom ceiling was ruined. This hot water pipe is in the attic and there are electric lines that cross over it directly over the damaged areas. The wires are not warm to the touch. Could this be the problem? Can’t figure out why pipe cracked in the middle of the run foe no reason. Our house is 12 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      Look on the failed pipe and see if there are any markings that identify the pipe as PEX – it will be clearly spelled out and easily identifiable. If it is, the problem with the pipe is in the material as I have noted in my article. Report the incident to your insurance carrier and be sure to save the pipe as they will need it in the event that they want to subrogate against the manufacturer. If the pipe has not been removed yet, Don’t cut it out yourself. Instead, let your carrier decide how to have the pipe replaced. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to take as many pictures of the damage to your home as well as the failed pipe, as you can. You never know what will come up in litigation and sometimes you need to be able to substantiate your claims to the other side. If the pipe is not PEX, it might be polybutylene, which also experienced a similar failure mode about the time your home was built. Be sure to advise your carrier of the problems with the two pipe types. If you or your carrier’s adjuster have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I will be happy to provide you with whatever information I have.


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