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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    2

    Default PEX in the attic

    I live in Northern Illinois and during the winter we routinely sees temps well below freezing. I am going to do a small bathroom remodel and I want to install a rain-can shower head dropping down from the ceiling in the shower not on an arm extending from a wall, to facilitate this I was thinking of coming from my divert-er valve with PEX up to the attic wrapped in tan insulation and then a "shed" like structure built out of 2" rigid foam used to encase the run then all of that covered with the existing cellulose. My question being 1 is this sufficient to prevent any freezing and 2 any other suggestions or experience with this type of installation.

    Thanks
    Andrew

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,791

    Default Re: PEX in the attic

    I don't know what "tan" insulation is but I would not insulate the PEX pipe. You want all the insulation above/outside the PEX so that the PEX is as close to room temperature as possible. The sheetrock used in the ceiling will not provide any significant insulation, and that is good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    201

    Default Re: PEX in the attic

    A short length of 1/2" copper tubing with a heating tape for the winter months might be an option.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,758

    Default Re: PEX in the attic

    Will your PEX be inside the cavity between two joists?

    A combination of proper insulation and electric heating tape (over copper, not PEX) will make sure your pipe is safe.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    173

    Default Re: PEX in the attic

    You mention a diverter, I assume this is a tub and shower valve. I have done this several times with no problems. Run your shower head line up a few inches above your ceiling height. so you have fall down to shower head. when finished showering flip diverter back to tub and any remaining water should drain out of line. No insulation needed.
    Last edited by MSSP; 08-10-2014 at 03:13 PM. Reason: .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,791

    Default Re: PEX in the attic

    If all the insulation is above the pipe and none below it, then heat tape will not be required, or even useful. It will be the same as if the pipe were below the ceiling.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,675

    Default Re: PEX in the attic

    Quote Originally Posted by MSSP View Post
    You mention a diverter, I assume this is a tub and shower valve. I have done this several times with no problems. Run your shower head line up a few inches above your ceiling height. so you have fall down to shower head. when finished showering flip diverter back to tub and any remaining water should drain out of line. No insulation needed.
    Agreed. Since the pipe is between the valve and the showerhead, water should only be in the pipe when the shower is in use. The OP mentioned "diverter valve" but the way I read the post, that's probably incorrect terminology. I'm guessing there isn't a tub spout. As long as the pipe is sloped to minimize the amount of water that can remain in the pipe in unheated space, there should be little chance of damage. Sloped properly, most of the water will drain out when the shower is shut off. Placing insulation above the pipe should be sufficient.

    PEX is freeze-resistant. The pipe will not burst or be damaged even if frozen solid. However, the fitting where the shower arm meets the PEX will have to be inside the attic for appearance sake, but if it's placed close to the sheetrock with plenty of insulation above it shouldn't ever freeze. (Fittings could be damaged by freezing, even if PEX pipe wouldn't be.)
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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