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Old 10-09-2009, 12:29 AM   #1
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


I'm about to put my servers in my basement and they'll be flat on the ground until I can afford to buy/build a desk of some sort to put them on. This house has some rather old copper piping but most of the recent is pex.

In a typical house, what are the odds of a pipe just randomly bursting? For those of you who are plumbers or work in lot of houses, how often do you end up having such service call? Does a bad pipe normally start to leak before it actually lets go or is it a sudden thing? Ex: if there's not enough solder, or a weak joint, etc...

Also would a sump drain (no pump) be able to keep up with the flow, or would it eventually fill the whole basement? Flood and fire are two of my worse nightmares, as they are so destructive and can damage everything in a matter of minutes.

I'm probably just being paranoid.

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Old 10-09-2009, 07:21 AM   #2
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


A sump hole without a pump is just a hole, the water won't go anywhere once it fills.

The likelyhood of either bursting for no reason is slim. Joints in either are the weak point but rarely burst, but they do sometimes leak. And in a house that is more than a few years old, it is unlikely you will suddenly have leaks.

Do these things happen, of course, or there would be no need for plumbers once the construction is finished.

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Old 10-09-2009, 08:41 AM   #3
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


Good to know.

My sump hole has a drain in it, as the weeping tiles drain to that hole, looks like a fairly sized drain too. There's only 5 small holes on the cover though but I may consider making more in case something ever does happen. Come to think of it, I don't have any actual floor drain. Do those normally drain to the municipal drainage system, or the sewer system?

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Old 10-09-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


Your sump pit was probably built to tie in to a perimeter drain system around the house, hence the pipes that lead into the sump pit most likely come from outside the house, and penetrate through the wall into the basement. Without a pump in the sump pit, it will simply collect groundwater. It is unlikely that the system you described was designed to collect flood water from the basement and pipe it outside.

A perimeter drain is always a good idea on a house, however if the drain is directed to a sump pit, you might want to ask the builder why no pump. Seems odd to go to all the trouble to install a sump pit with no pump. In some cases, the pump outflow line is connected to a municipal drainage system, but only with the approval of the municipality. In other cases, the pump drains to a low point on your lot, or possibly to the street, again you probably need a permit from the municipality.
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Old 10-09-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


RS: It's very unlikely that the pipes will burst. It's much more likely you'll crash the servers some other way. Having said that... put them on something! A couple of 2x4s, a stack of books, something to keep them off the floor.
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:32 PM   #6
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Your sump pit was probably built to tie in to a perimeter drain system around the house, hence the pipes that lead into the sump pit most likely come from outside the house, and penetrate through the wall into the basement. Without a pump in the sump pit, it will simply collect groundwater. It is unlikely that the system you described was designed to collect flood water from the basement and pipe it outside.

A perimeter drain is always a good idea on a house, however if the drain is directed to a sump pit, you might want to ask the builder why no pump. Seems odd to go to all the trouble to install a sump pit with no pump. In some cases, the pump outflow line is connected to a municipal drainage system, but only with the approval of the municipality. In other cases, the pump drains to a low point on your lot, or possibly to the street, again you probably need a permit from the municipality.

Yes you're right, the other pipes are from the weeping tiles around the house. When it rains there's lot of water going in there.

Though I'm quite sure that drain actually goes somewhere, but I'll have to test by filling it with water using the hose from the wash tub (think it will actually reach). Guess that will also confirm if it can keep up with the flow or not. If I can put it full blast and it does not flow to the top then guess I'm good to go. I'll have to be quick to shut off the valve if it fills though. :o

As for the servers they're on a vapor barrier plastic for now, but I really want to build a proper shelving/cabinet system when I have the money.

I've also thought of possibly installing a sump pump "just in case". They're not too expensive. Though this house is about 40 years old and has never had water issues, so I'm most likely safe.
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Old 10-10-2009, 12:48 AM   #7
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How likely are pex pipes to burst vs copper?


Copper pipe bursting is normally caused by freezing temps. PEX pipe will not burst if the water inside it freezes. That's not to say the fittings won't burst though, because they can. The PEX will expand to three times its size before bursting, and ice won't cause it to expand that much anyhow.

Copper will spring leaks due to corrosion. It usually starts out as a drip or mineral deposit on the outside of the pipe. Let it go long enough and it will eventually give out and become a steady leak.

PEX is safer if you're worried about leaks.

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