Glenda Taylor | posted January 21, 2021 at 5:35 PM
For both new construction and renovation projects, the installation of a cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) water supply system is very attractive to builders and homeowners. The deciding factors in choosing between the two most common water supply materials, PEX and copper, include ease of installation and cost. Installing PEX can save up to 60% of project costs, and unlike copper pipes, PEX pipes are flexible and can pass through the existing wall space, reducing the scope of the renovation project.
Although PEX has compelling reasons to choose it over copper, it also has a hidden shortcoming-rodents seem to find plastic tubing irresistible. Read on to understand why this problem occurs and what steps you should take to prevent damage to the PEX water supply system.
Mice and rats chew on anything that can be chewed, including plastic, so PEX tubes are as dangerous as plastic-coated wires in cars or HVAC devices. Although all rodent injuries can be costly, if a rodent bites through a household’s PEX pipe, the result can be catastrophic. Water and building materials will not mix, and the inherent pressure of the water supply pipeline will quickly flood a large area of the house, resulting in expensive repairs.
Related: 23 things in your home attract bugs and rodents
Although the homeowner has the best plan, most households will accommodate one or two mice at a certain point in time, but the problem can usually be solved quickly by setting up a mousetrap. Some houses are more likely to attract rodents, including rural properties where voles can easily migrate, or inner cities where large amounts of food waste, community clutter, and dilapidated houses increase the risk of rodent infection.
Although pest experts do not know whether rodents enter the water by chewing PEX or simply because it is there, PEX and rodents can be a dangerous combination. If rodents are common, local building codes in some communities may not allow PEX to be installed.
For homeowners with PEX water supply lines, rodent signs (such as feces, chewed paper or wood, or other debris), indicate the need to take action before the water system is damaged.
You can usually eliminate the occasional small pests by setting traps or putting rodent poison, but if you are unsure or uncomfortable with these steps, please call an exterminator immediately. The sooner the rodent problem disappears, the sooner you can be assured that your plumbing system is not at risk.
Related: 8 Pest Control Myths You Shouldn't Believe
Mice and rats can squeeze into the house through incredibly small gaps, so the first step is to inspect the perimeter of the house and seal all the holes and gaps around the ventilation pipe with a rodent sealant, such as the Tomcat Rodent Block (available from Amazon Buy) ). In the basement or crawl space, find the sewer and seal it around-and seal any other openings in the space.
Other preventive measures include keeping the yard, especially the area next to the house, free of debris where rodents can nest. Store the trash in a tank with a tight fit on the top. At home, fix leaking pipes and do not leave food outside after meals. Watch for signs of rodents and eliminate them at the first sign.
Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide publishers with a way to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliate sites.
Copyright © 2021 Acton Media Inc. all rights reserved.