Here is some helpful information provided by the HVAC professionals at Ferguson on the best ways to protect pipes in the coldest of cold weather.
Know what type of pipes you have. While newer homes built in recent years tend to be constructed with non-metal pipes such as, PVC, CPVC or PEX, many homes were and are still being built with copper, brass or steel piping – which are most at risk in freezing temperatures.
Insulation is not enough. Just because pipes are coated with what you think is a thick layer of insulation, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Insulation only acts like a blanket, it does not stop the loss of heat, it slows down the loss of heat. If there is not a heat source, eventually it will acclimate to the environment’s temperature.
When temperatures consistently drop below freezing, it is best to apply a heat wrap to exposed pipes underneath insulation. A recommended product for the average consumer that’s specifically designed for this cause is the Raychem Gardian Pre-Assembled Heating Cable, which functions as simple as a plug-and-play.
Hydraulic heating systems. For homes heated with hydraulic heating systems (radiator or boilers), make sure to insert anti-freeze specifically made for boilers (typically a type of non-toxic Propylene Glycol.)
Other helpful precautions. For snowbirds and seasonal homes: If you’re going on a trip, make sure to bleed the pipes and drain the water system before you take off.
Thermostats such as the Honeywell Redlink Thermostat can send email notifications when the temperature of your home drops to an alarming low. It can also be linked to several water detection systems that can send alerts for flooding.