Tip on protecting your pipes from cold weather, courtesy of HVAC market company Ferguson.

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 is 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.  

For homes that have with hydraulic heating HVAC construction systems (radiator or boilers),make sure to insert anti-freeze specifically made for boilers (typically a type of non-toxic propylene glycol).

Identify the location of the water valve. In the case of a pipe freeze where you cannot spot the troubled area of exposed pipe, it is best to shut off the water so that water pressure doesn’t build up and cause a pipe burst and flood.

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 leave.

For the hibernators: Let the water run. Keeping a small flow of water streaming during consistent freezing temperatures can help prevent frozen pipes.

Ferguson is one of the largest wholesale distributors of residential and commercial plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings in the U,S,d a major distributor of HVACR equipment, waterworks and industrial products and services.