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CallMeVilla 07-14-2012 03:40 PM

Can You Bury PEX piping?
We are piping an outdoor shower. The water supply from the house will be under concrete and the pipes (PEX) themselves will be 12" in the dirt below the concrete.

Where the pipes stub up from underground, we will use pipe wrap.

Can we just run the PEX in the dirt (there are no unions or connections)? Alternatively, do I have to sleeve the PEX in a PVC pipe where it is underground?

There is NO freeze problem here in Southern CA.

Just askin'

TerryDM 07-14-2012 09:46 PM

As it is here in Iowa, yes, you can bury Pex. We (I work for the local water utility) require it to be the blue PEX because of the it sitting on rolls in the sun for weeks on end and the blue is more sun resistant. If I find red PEX I'm supposed to turn down setting a water meter. Little more info than you wanted, but worth mentioning if you don't know how long what you bought was sitting in the sun and you're burying it.
You should be pretty safe since you won't have fittings, unions, etc. Also, as far as I know in my area, you DON'T need to sleeve it in PVC.

PS. You may consider running a tracer wire with the line in case someday you forget where it's buried and someone needs to locate it.

CallMeVilla 07-15-2012 02:00 PM

Thanks Terry . . . I always tape on a tracer wires for plastic piping (gas PE) so your suggestion makes a lot of sense. The original cold water copper pipe is in the same trench, so adding the tracer wire is a great call for future plumbing issues.

We have been doing a large remodel and chose to sleeve all wires and pipes that are under concrete as a "best practice." Piping that stubs up and out of the dirt/concrete is pipe wrapped. The PE pipe sweeps are metal at that point, but we wrapped them anyway.

PS All our PEX is new and was stored inside at the supplier. Besides, you would not find red PEX on our jobsite because its long since buried. :0)

kok328 07-15-2012 03:37 PM

Im thinkin if the original copper pipe will remain in the trench then you shouldn't need a tracer wire.

TerryDM 07-15-2012 07:06 PM

kok328 - you're right but I think he meant FUTURE plumbing projects.

Glad to help with any suggestions!

CallMeVilla 06-29-2013 04:23 PM

FYI as a follow up .... For the future, if you are going to bury PEX, I think it would be best to use foam wrap (split tubing) if the water is supposed to be hot. In our case, the short run between the house which went underground was NOT wrapped. Everything from the water heater to the entry into the ground WAS wrapped. There is a noticeable temperature difference because the ground sucks temperature out of the plastic piping.

Not saying WHO did this but it wasn't me! I did everything up to and coming out of the ground. Another knucklehead got anxious and buried the PEX under concrete on a day I was elsewhere. A word to the wise!

WindowsonWashington 06-29-2013 04:48 PM

It should be insulated as you have noted.

It is a pretty effective heat exchanger which is part of the reason it is used in GeoThermal applications.

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