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Old 02-18-2009, 06:30 AM   #21
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19 years in JAX (NE Florida). Pretty nice winters, some cool days, but within a short drive of Orlando and all of that stuff (I do not like Orlando area at all; but most kids love to visit). Couple of hours to Tampa Bay area too. Sometimes I wonder why I am now living in OHIO (not really but late December and January and even February and March can be tough).
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:07 AM   #22
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We are looking at the Carrabelle/Apalachicola area, in the panhandle. I've only been down there once (on vacation), but we liked it then, and it seems like the kind of place we are looking for as a winter refuge. Not too crowded, lots of public land, good fishing nearby, etc.. Not as warm as south Florida, I know, but hey, even 40-50 degrees would look good compared to what we have to endure up here, ha. If anyone has first-hand knowledge of the area, I'd love to hear what you think of it - thanks.
I like that area as well (for the reasons you mention) and usually spend a couple of weeks there each year (St. George Island). Carrabelle and St. George Island are also among the few places in FL where dogs are still allowed on the beach -- and I prefer to take the mutt with me on vacations if possible.
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:56 PM   #23
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Hi RAE,

I guess we are 2 of a kind...search my thread of a few weeks back, "Would like to live in 2 places after retirement," and you will see many of the same issues and responses. One thing occurred to me after reading these posts: You mentioned 2 feet of snow in February, and that you're relying on a good neighbor to check the house. Are you expecting him/her to check the house when there's 2 feet of snow around it? Seems like that's just exactly when the furnace will go on strike. Just a thought.
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Old 02-19-2009, 06:47 PM   #24
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Hi RAE,

I guess we are 2 of a kind...search my thread of a few weeks back, "Would like to live in 2 places after retirement," and you will see many of the same issues and responses. One thing occurred to me after reading these posts: You mentioned 2 feet of snow in February, and that you're relying on a good neighbor to check the house. Are you expecting him/her to check the house when there's 2 feet of snow around it? Seems like that's just exactly when the furnace will go on strike. Just a thought.

Hi Amethyst - that's interesting, I guess I will have to go back and search for the thread you started. Yes, we do get a lot of snow here, and the walkway to the house would have to be shoveled to in order to access it in February. But, I could pay my neighbor to keep a path shoveled to the front door from the plowed road (maybe 50 feet away), which would not be too big of a job. Normally, I shovel a whole lot more (big driveway, deck, etc) but if I am gone, the only shoveling that would be required would be a path from the road to the house, so it could be checked.
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Old 02-22-2009, 11:35 AM   #25
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I have been spending summers in the western North Carolina mountains and winters in Florida for about 18 years. I have a cabin in North Carolina at an elevation of 4500' where winters are probably not as severe as where you are, but temperatures reach near or below zero in midwinter. Snow is usually not heavy. I have evolved a "winterizing" system that may or may not work for you, but may give you some ideas. First of all I shut off the main water line at the meter, drain all water lines, toilets, water heater, washing machine, dishwasher, etc. and put anti-freeze in all traps and toilet bowls. Leave all faucets open so as to avoid any trapped water. (This sounds like a lot of work, but normally takes me only about an hour to accomplish). I give any perishable food to a neighbor or bring it to Florida. Any remaining liquid food in glass jars gets put into the tub or the upright freezer in the basement. Everything else stays pretty much where it is.

After covering the furniture, putting things away and cleaning up so that we will have a nice clean house to return to next summer, I shut off the main power. That's it. I don't leave any furnace on ... just let the temperature go where it will. In all the years of doing this, I have never had any damage from freezing or breakage. My main concern is always the potential damage from a falling tree, broken windows, etc. A trustworthy neighbor is your best bet for keeping an eye out for these problems.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:03 PM   #26
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If keeping your furnace running is a major issue, you might want to look into a standby generator that will kick into service automatically if the power goes out.
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:50 PM   #27
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I have three homes, the one in Wisconsin I freeze like a rock all winter. Drain the pipes, hook the aircompressor to the outside spigot, blow out the lines, and turn the furnace, and water heater off. Hasn't hurt anything yet, been 7 years. I have learned one thing, don't worry about nothing, just enjoy yourself.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #28
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Sounds like you have the inside-the-house issues covered, but one more thing to think about- nothing says "unoccupied" like virgin snow... we have a cabin in the mountains; most break-ins occur in the winter when thieves can tell when no one is around. (we have been lucky so far...)
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