Author Topic: Winter vacation away from home - tips for home  (Read 2132 times)

FerrumB5

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Winter vacation away from home - tips for home
« on: December 12, 2015, 01:28:11 PM »
Hi All,

first time home owners here and first time to be away from home for 2 weeks in winter. Any tips to prevent damage? We are in Chicago area.
What is a safe thermostat temp just to keep it safe? Water tips? Gas? Electricity? (We plan to buy a timer thingy for one of outlets to make "presence" in the house for bad folks out there and run it 2-3 hours a day with 10 W lamp)

MDM

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Re: Winter vacation away from home - tips for home
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2015, 02:48:08 PM »
The usual bogeyman is "burst water pipe."  That can come from freezing - or just because.  Both are low probability so don't agonize over any of this.  But the probability is not zero, so a few simple things:
 -  There should be a master water shutoff valve for the whole house.  Close it, then open a sink faucet until the water stops flowing (so you know the master valve is actually shut).
 -  33oF - at the coldest part of any water line in the house - is sufficient to prevent freezing.  What you don't know is how well insulated the lines in the walls are, correct?  Thus you won't know how many degrees above 33 the inside air temp needs to be.  But odds are that 50oF inside air temp will be plenty warm enough to avoid freezing in any of your lines, particularly with the temperatures so far this winter.
 -  Wouldn't do this for 2 weeks, but if you ever have some exceptionally cold (e.g., -30 or so) weather overnight and are concerned about a water pipe in the wall freezing, allowing a small stream (or fast drip) of water from a faucet served by said pipe can help prevent freezing there.

Enjoy your vacation!

FerrumB5

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Re: Winter vacation away from home - tips for home
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2015, 07:42:08 AM »
How does "shut off water to the house" and water heater still on work? water heater will require water for proper work, won't it?

MDM

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Re: Winter vacation away from home - tips for home
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2015, 09:24:46 AM »
How does "shut off water to the house" and water heater still on work? water heater will require water for proper work, won't it?
As long as "drain water heater" is not one of the steps, all should be well.  There may be occasional heat input needed to get the water in the tank up to the temperature setting, but then it will just sit there and stay warm for as long as the tank insulation keeps it warm.

If one goes to the extreme of draining the hot water tank then yes the heat input to it should be disabled.

Goldielocks

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Re: Winter vacation away from home - tips for home
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2015, 04:30:16 PM »
Some common practices around here.  All of these may be better suited to 2 months away, but you never know...

1 Shut off water
2. Shut off hot water heater, you could disconnect the washer line (feed) too -- these are under high pressure sometimes.
3. Have someone check on home very 3 days (briefly). Most insurance require this for full coverage
4. have a light on a timer inside
5.  Turn down heat
6. Redirect mail, put up no flyers sign, etc.
7.  create a self watering setup for your plants if needed...  (water siphon would do).
8.  Turn off power bars (you have these for a lot of equipment, right?)