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Old 09-12-2019, 05:30 PM   #1
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Default PEX Plumbing and Rodents

Somewhere between rumor, myth and truth lies an allegation that rodents - specifically mice and rats - love chewing on PEX piping. While there’s only correlation to go on, and not causation, the rumor that rats and mice are drawn to PEX piping is worth investigating and exploring. In rodent-prone areas, it may be worth exploring alternative piping materials to avoid problems.

Do Rodents Actively Seek out PEX to Chew?

The jury is still out on whether PEX is alluring to rodents or not. There’s a school of thought that, because it’s plastic, it has a scent that humans are unable to smell that attracts mice and rodents. Indeed, some types of plastic (such as grocery bags) are manufactured using fish oil. But there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that this is the case with PEX piping as a whole or specifically one brand or another.

Another school of thought posits that because it’s thinner than copper or steel piping, rats are able to hear the water and are drawn to it out of thirst. Because rat poisons commonly dehydrate rodents, they may be frantic in their efforts to chew through PEX to gain access to water, lending credence to this theory - but again, it’s unproven.

Still another thought is that rodents simply enjoy the texture of the PEX as they chew. Because no studies have been done on the chewing material preference across different rodent species, it’s impossible to say whether the texture of PEX piping is irresistible to rodents.

What We Do Know

Since the teeth of mice, rats and other rodents grow constantly, they’re always chewing on something. If a home or building has an unwanted rodent visitor, nothing is off the table as a chew toy, be it food scraps, wiring, drywall or, yes, even PEX pipes. Unfortunately, as a plumber, there’s little you can do to remedy the underlying problem.

It may be the case that PEX piping seems susceptible to rodent damage simply because it’s there - and because it’s easier for their teeth to chew through than copper, steel or other types of piping. Flexible plastic is much easier to puncture or damage than even rigid PVC pipe and may appear to be more alluring to rodents because it damages more easily.

Dealing with Rodent Damage to PEX

If you find your client’s PEX piping is damaged from rodents, you may suggest they seek out the help of a qualified pest control specialist to help get the problem under control. Until the pests are excluded and eliminated from the premises, clients will continue to suffer damage to their homes.

If a problem is recurrent or persistent, you may suggest replacing PEX pipes with more durable options to prevent or delay mouse or rat damage to the home’s plumbing, explaining that the extra cost can save them from having to call you repeatedly for the same or similar issues.

If clients are unable or unwilling to replace their pipes with a different material, the nature of PEX makes it easy to remove and replace the damaged segments for little cost in the way of materials - and if they’d like to repeatedly pay your service fee, that’s their prerogative.

If your client agrees, the budget allows or you feel it necessary, you may want to use aluminum clad PEX piping or shield the segments susceptible to damage to make them less vulnerable to damage from mice and rats.

Have you noticed rodents drawn to PEX pipes more than other materials? Why do you think that is?

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Old 09-12-2019, 06:00 PM   #2
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Yes, rodents do chew pex. Whether they seek it out or not standard plastic waterlines can't be trusted. I have seen them chew through pex, pvc, and black poly lines. Use viega fosta pex or don't use pex. That's what our company does.

I have seen them chew plastic fittings too. We use bronze fittings for our fostapex. But at that price you might as well go all copper.

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Old 09-13-2019, 09:24 PM   #3
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Rodents are good for business....

My customers have usually placed rodent baits right around the time that the leaks started happening.
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Old 09-19-2019, 02:07 PM   #4
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I remember that rodents loved QEST
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