What to do to prevent pipes from freezing:
- Keep all of your thermostats set above 55 degrees.
- Have your heating system serviced and in good repair before you leave.
- Make sure you have enough oil in your oil tank
- Have a friend or family member check on the house every day.
- If you are going to be away the whole winter, have the home winterized, but still keep the heat on.
- Have a low temperature alarm tied into your security system. A few notes on this, an alarm is no good if no one hears it, make sure you have the type of security system that is monitored by a company. Make sure the temperature sensor is in the most vulnerable place in the home, never in a basement, the basement, although the coolest place in the home is the last place to freeze because in most cases in is below grade and protected from freezing by the earth around it.
- Unfortunately things can happen that your best efforts can not prevent, like power failures and heating system failures, even though you had it serviced and was in good working order before you left.
Antifreeze in the hot water boiler system, under the right conditions this is a good idea. But if you don’t have to don’t use it, and if you do use it please make sure it is done right. You must have a back flow preventor with an air gap installed on the fresh water inlet to the boiler; with out this it is possible for the antifreeze to contaminate your drinking water.
Car anti freeze cannot be installed into any heating system it will damage everything in and on your heating system. Boiler antifreeze or glycol is designed for boilers, but not all boiler antifreeze is the same and specific preparations need to be made to protect your boiler and attached parts. Special mineral water is needed to mix with the glycol regular water turns it corrosive. Some boiler manufacturers require only a specific brand or type of glycol; using any other will void the warrantee.
Just because you filled your system with antifreeze does not make it ok to lower the heat too low, the water lines will still freeze.
Setting up your boiler properly can prevent a small problem from becoming a total freeze out.
If you have more then one zone, have isolation valves installed on each supply and each return pipe at the boiler, this will allow you to keep heat in the rest of the house if one section develops a leak or freezes. With out isolation valves you will need to shut the system down to fix the leak causing the whole house to cool down and cause more pipes to freeze.
Information provided by Master Plumber.net
This article is only meant to give you general information on water heaters. Consult with a local plumbing professional to insure you are making the smartest and safest decision.