Author Topic: How low can I set my thermostat?  (Read 4060 times)

purplepants

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How low can I set my thermostat?
« on: November 05, 2014, 01:43:21 PM »
When I'm going out of town and temps are expected to be below freezing, how low can I safely set the thermostat inside? 

I have some out of town travel coming up and the house will be unoccupied.  I'd like to bump the thermostat down while I'm gone, but I'm clueless - does the heat need to be on to keep the pipes from freezing or something?

If it matters, the house is on a crawlspace and that's where the water heater is. 

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2014, 01:48:37 PM »
I think the lowest I would go is in the mid 50s and I would open any cabinets that house plumbing (under sinks) so that the warm air can reach them too.

CubicleEscapee

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2014, 04:23:57 PM »
As a precaution, whenever I leave my house for more than a day, I shut off the water at the main and then run the indoor faucets to drain the pipes.  In an extended absence in the winter, I turn my heat off completely.

RetiredAt63

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2014, 04:46:19 PM »
We used to close up a summer cottage:
If you are turning the heat off, all drains need plumbing antifreeze (not the same as car antifreeze.  Toilet bowls as well as tanks need to be as empty as possible.  Once everything is drained and antifreeze added, air access needs to be stopped so the antifreeze does not slowly evaporate - the biggie here was always saran wrap over the toilet bowl.  This would take the cottage through a cold Ontario winter, no problems.

When I go away, I turn the heat down, and turn the hot water tank off and the well pump off.  Most things drain if we have a power failure (i.e. lose heat).  If I were gone for a lot more than a week at a time I would probably do the compete winterization just like a cottage.

As a precaution, whenever I leave my house for more than a day, I shut off the water at the main and then run the indoor faucets to drain the pipes.  In an extended absence in the winter, I turn my heat off completely.

purplepants

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 06:57:27 AM »
Thank you, this helps tremendously! 

Next week I'll be traveling but it's not meant to get below 48F, so I'll just shut the heat off completely. 

In December, I'll be out of the country for a few weeks so I'll follow these tips.  I'm not sure if I'm able to shut my water off at the main - I attempted to do it myself a few years ago when I had a water leak, but the plumber had to do it with a special tool.  Maybe it's worth it to see if I can buy one of those tools somewhere.

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2014, 12:37:55 PM »
I would totally find that tool. What are you going to do when the faucet explodes and the valve at the sink is frozen open? Let the house flood until a plumber can get around to you?

Or when the pipe in the wall/attic/crawlspace leaks?

Get the tool, like, yesterday.

And I set the heat to 50 if I'm gone. Could probably go lower, but that's just me, and the amount of work to winterize the house wouldn't be worth it to me for the dollars saved for 2 weeks of low heat.

Greg

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2014, 10:08:36 AM »
I'm not sure if I'm able to shut my water off at the main - I attempted to do it myself a few years ago when I had a water leak, but the plumber had to do it with a special tool.  Maybe it's worth it to see if I can buy one of those tools somewhere.

In new and recently built homes there is a water main shutoff valve inside the home, just after it enters the home in most cases.  You could have one installed if you don't have one.  A simple 90 lever valve that can be hidden in the wall access panel if needed.

Spork

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2014, 10:13:16 AM »
I'm not sure if I'm able to shut my water off at the main - I attempted to do it myself a few years ago when I had a water leak, but the plumber had to do it with a special tool.  Maybe it's worth it to see if I can buy one of those tools somewhere.

In new and recently built homes there is a water main shutoff valve inside the home, just after it enters the home in most cases.  You could have one installed if you don't have one.  A simple 90 lever valve that can be hidden in the wall access panel if needed.

This probably varies by geographical location.   I'm in the south and every house I've been in has had it outside -- a couple of feet before the water line hits the house.  Our freeze line is not very deep here, so it's easy to keep it below that.

Rezdent

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Re: How low can I set my thermostat?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2014, 10:26:25 AM »
I would totally find that tool. What are you going to do when the faucet explodes and the valve at the sink is frozen open? Let the house flood until a plumber can get around to you?

Or when the pipe in the wall/attic/crawlspace leaks?

Get the tool, like, yesterday.

Best. Advice. Ever.