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Pex & Rodents

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EBEBRATT-Ed
EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,844
I have a little job to do at my nephew's summer camp. I was thinking of replacing some of the hot and cold-water piping with Pex. But this place is on a field stone foundation out in the boonies and I have herd that mice love to chew Pex. Is this true?

There is no real way to keep mice out of this place.

Comments

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,450
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    I have had few instances where mice have done this. Copper is tried and true.
    MikeAmann
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,491
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    Same here. I wonder if Pex al Pex would be better?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,390
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    Hi, I've dealt with this by running the PEX in PVC conduit, when in a crawl space. With some effort, wall cavities can be adequately sealed with stuff like steel wool, caulked into place. Might be rigid or soft copper is the better choice here if the water is not agressive.

    Yours, Larry
    Mad Dog_2
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    I've seen "miles" of pex installed. I have yet to see any rodent "chew". Real easy to repair. Have you priced copper lately?
    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
    edited June 2023
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    Better do welded sch 40 316 stainless just to be on the safe side.

    Apparently some have seen rodents chew thru pex albeit rare.

    But others have also seen copper with pinholes from water quality and or flux residue. We've also seen bad solder joints fail over time and even some that appeared to be good.

    We've seen copper erode due to high velocities. And sometimes copper gets bent it kinked from physical abuse. Copper is no more tried and true than pex at this point and it's far from perfect.

    I could say stainless with screw joints, but we've all seen screw joints leak too.

    Sch40 316 stainless with welded joints is the way to go.


    There's some sarcasm in my comment, but it's primarily because the reasoning I see people use doesn't always seem to hold water. There's a joke there somewhere...


    Without sarcasm,
    Recommend they fix any rodent issues because there's far worse issues there than pex chewing and go with Uponor pex A with plastic propex fittings. If something gets chewed, fix it and still fix the rodent issue. Rodents aren't house trained and often bring disease. Do you want the plague? Because that's how you get the plague. Rodents.






    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 863
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    You'll also need to worry about rodents (red squirrels are rodents too, by the way) chewing on Romex wire! This, I have seen quite a few times. Unless its all done in MC cable.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
    edited June 2023
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    psb75 said:

    You'll also need to worry about rodents (red squirrels are rodents too, by the way) chewing on Romex wire! This, I have seen quite a few times. Unless its all done in MC cable.

    Yeah,
    That's the other complaint I've seen on here, how romex, which has been used since the 1950s? extensively in residential all over (literally every house I've ever been in except those with K&T) is dangerous and should never be used..... These comments unless my memory is failing me were from those who have never really used or been around NM cable because their code doesn't allow it.

    Since MC has issues and could be damaged and looks bad, I'd recommend conduit as well. Better not skimp and use EMT because that's the bare minimum, go IMC for everything.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,408
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    Some properties, it's just about impossible to get rid of rodents. Like mine. 100 year old house, so not tight. Former grain farm. Still have the original barn and corn crib. Numerous oak and hickory trees drop millions of acorns and hickory nuts (rodent food) every fall. I have rodents of all sizes, mice, ground squirrels (chipmunk size), regular squirrels, groundhogs. I try to manage the mice and groundhogs by killing every one I can. Steel shot for groundhogs, and snap traps for mice. No point on the squirrels, that would be an impossible task. I don't use poison, because I like the hawks and foxes. Have seen a fox chase and catch squirrels from my office window.
    All rodents have continuously growing teeth and have to chew on things to keep their teeth from getting too long.
    I have had rodent wiring damage on several vehicles. Automotive electrical wiring is now using environmentally friendly insulation which rodents like to chew on. PEX for domestic water has never had the chemicals that old electrical wire insulation had, so yes it could be a problem for your nephew's camp. Many pictures of rodent damaged PEX on the Internet.
    Mad Dog_2
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 518
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    I haven't tried this myself but someone told me to get some Ivory liquid soap (the plain stuff if they still make it?) and dilute it in water and with a garden sprayer, coat all the PEX after installation. The soap sticks to the pipe, won't chemically damage the pipe and it's bitter so rodents won't chew it.

    If I was going to do this, I probably would use the split insulation foam plumbing "noodles" first then spray the insulation foam with the soap.
    WMno57kcopp
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    WMno57 said:

    Some properties, it's just about impossible to get rid of rodents. Like mine. 100 year old house, so not tight. Former grain farm. Still have the original barn and corn crib. Numerous oak and hickory trees drop millions of acorns and hickory nuts (rodent food) every fall. I have rodents of all sizes, mice, ground squirrels (chipmunk size), regular squirrels, groundhogs. I try to manage the mice and groundhogs by killing every one I can. Steel shot for groundhogs, and snap traps for mice. No point on the squirrels, that would be an impossible task. I don't use poison, because I like the hawks and foxes. Have seen a fox chase and catch squirrels from my office window.
    All rodents have continuously growing teeth and have to chew on things to keep their teeth from getting too long.
    I have had rodent wiring damage on several vehicles. Automotive electrical wiring is now using environmentally friendly insulation which rodents like to chew on. PEX for domestic water has never had the chemicals that old electrical wire insulation had, so yes it could be a problem for your nephew's camp. Many pictures of rodent damaged PEX on the Internet.


    I have a 150+ year old house with field stone foundation.
    I'm still working on keeping small mice out and by this fall I believe it will be 100% mouse proof. At least, the foundation and sill will be.

    I've found their teeth don't work so well on stone, steel and stainless.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Mad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,970
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    What about cpvc or pert?
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 518
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    mattmia2 said:

    What about cpvc or pert?

    Pe-rt is virtually the same chemically as PEX, just the amount of crosslinking is different from what I've read.

    I think the little **** chew anything that doesn't taste bad for tooth maintenance, although I've read some speculate they go after water pipes for the water as well.

  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,417
    edited June 2023
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    Idk how all these people have mouse problems. I've never had to deal with rodents getting into the house and mine is also about 100 years old and drafty...

    Oh I have cats, maybe that's why. They give my house a wide berth.

    How long does it go unattended? Maybe some barn cats can resolve the issue?

    *Yes I have had squirrels on the roof but that isn't IN the house obviously, because I know a smart*** somewhere will remind me of my solar panel damage.*
    SuperTech
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,970
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    MaxMercy said:

    I think the little **** chew anything that doesn't taste bad for tooth maintenance, although I've read some speculate they go after water pipes for the water as well.

    Probably go after the condensation on the outside.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,333
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    hot_rod said:

    Same here. I wonder if Pex al Pex would be better?

    Worth a try but don't count on it. I'm told critters don't like taste of mineral grease.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    JakeCK said:

    Idk how all these people have mouse problems. I've never had to deal with rodents getting into the house and mine is also about 100 years old and drafty...

    Oh I have cats, maybe that's why. They give my house a wide berth.

    How long does it go unattended? Maybe some barn cats can resolve the issue?

    *Yes I have had squirrels on the roof but that isn't IN the house obviously, because I know a smart*** somewhere will remind me of my solar panel damage.*


    I've had a few mice get in over the years.
    I've fixed most of the ways they were able to get in.

    As far as cats..... I had a mouse go and walk past two Siamese cats and the cats couldn't be bothered......
    I wasn't impressed.

    I think if the cats are well fed and not kittens, they don't care.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Mad Dog_2
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,417
    edited June 2023
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    ChrisJ said:
    Idk how all these people have mouse problems. I've never had to deal with rodents getting into the house and mine is also about 100 years old and drafty...

    Oh I have cats, maybe that's why. They give my house a wide berth.

    How long does it go unattended? Maybe some barn cats can resolve the issue?

    *Yes I have had squirrels on the roof but that isn't IN the house obviously, because I know a smart*** somewhere will remind me of my solar panel damage.*
    I've had a few mice get in over the years. I've fixed most of the ways they were able to get in. As far as cats..... I had a mouse go and walk past two Siamese cats and the cats couldn't be bothered...... I wasn't impressed. I think if the cats are well fed and not kittens, they don't care.
    Idk what to tell you. Every cat I've had loved to torture small animals. Nice, moles, chipmunks, birds... They would also drop them by our feet on the rare occasion one would wander in during the fall.

    It's also the smell, mice know the smell of a predator. 
    Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
    edited June 2023
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    JakeCK said:


    ChrisJ said:

    Idk how all these people have mouse problems. I've never had to deal with rodents getting into the house and mine is also about 100 years old and drafty...

    Oh I have cats, maybe that's why. They give my house a wide berth.

    How long does it go unattended? Maybe some barn cats can resolve the issue?

    *Yes I have had squirrels on the roof but that isn't IN the house obviously, because I know a smart*** somewhere will remind me of my solar panel damage.*


    I've had a few mice get in over the years.
    I've fixed most of the ways they were able to get in.

    As far as cats..... I had a mouse go and walk past two Siamese cats and the cats couldn't be bothered......
    I wasn't impressed.

    I think if the cats are well fed and not kittens, they don't care.

    Idk what to tell you. Every cat I've had loved to torture small animals. Nice, moles, chipmunks, birds... They would also drop them by our feet on the rare occasion one would wonder in during the fall.

    It's also the smell, mice know the smell of a predator. 

    Are yours outdoor cats? Maybe that's part of it, I don't know.

    I tried the "Back in my day cats used to..." speech but they didn't care.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,844
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    Guess I will stick with copper. The other issue it that it's drained in the winter and all the water lines have to be pitched to minimize the # of drain locations. Crawling around a crawl space isn't fun for me anymore. and floppy pex will be harder to pitch and support even though most say it can't freeze. Ther is only a total of 40-50 feet anyhow.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,491
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    an air compressor, shop vac or leaf blower should blast all the water out of the piping. Enough to keep any remaining puddles from bursting the pipe.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    mattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    hot_rod said:

    an air compressor, shop vac or leaf blower should blast all the water out of the piping. Enough to keep any remaining puddles from bursting the pipe.


    Pex home runs to each fixture would make this method work really good.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,333
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    hot_rod said:

    an air compressor, shop vac or leaf blower should blast all the water out of the piping. Enough to keep any remaining puddles from bursting the pipe.

    so long you remember
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 518
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    ... pex will be harder to pitch and support even though most say it can't freeze.

    It certainly does freeze and can even fail if frozen, but any type of PEX is very resistant to failure due to freezing, but it does happen.

    It's important to keep the pipe *between* the living area and the insulation (no insulation between pipe and living area) regardless of the pipe material used.
    Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,924
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    MaxMercy said:

    ... pex will be harder to pitch and support even though most say it can't freeze.

    It certainly does freeze and can even fail if frozen, but any type of PEX is very resistant to failure due to freezing, but it does happen.

    It's important to keep the pipe *between* the living area and the insulation (no insulation between pipe and living area) regardless of the pipe material used.
    I seem to recall Pex A being the only one claimed to be ok to freeze.
    The fittings of course can still fail.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,970
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    MaxMercy said:

    It's important to keep the pipe *between* the living area and the insulation (no insulation between pipe and living area) regardless of the pipe material used.

    I think these are spaces that don't have space heating or have minimal space heating that is only used during cold snaps in the summer, I think the property is abandoned over the winter.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,661
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    I wouldn't count on any pipe material to withstand freezing. Either keep some heat in the place and have it checked by a reliable person at frequent intervals in colder weather, or have it completely drained -- which means compressed air blowing on all the pipes.

    We jus picked up a sad case. The former caretaker (NOTE: former) didn't check the house regularly in cold weather (well, quoth he, it hadn't snowed so why worry?) and a couple of pipes froze. When they thawed, the water came back on of course... the end result is that the interior of the house is a total loss. The frame and outside sheathing are OK (post and beam) but that's it. It's going to be well into the high six figures to fix -- if we don't decide to just tear it down.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,417
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    Compressed air works well. Its what I do to my camper in the fall while I'm still using it but before I put it up for the winter. Quick and easy even at a campground while packing out.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,333
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    Blow out is a hard lesson. For years draining suffices. Then....
  • Tim_D
    Tim_D Member Posts: 129
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    Rodents have been known to chew on PEX. We used to get several calls per year at Wirsbo.
    Mad Dog_2