Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Snowbirds - closing up routine
Old 06-11-2019, 08:31 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5
Snowbirds - closing up routine

To those of you who escape the cold weather for the winter... We are planning to leave our northern home unoccupied for the first time this winter. Up until now our son has been our winter live-in caretaker, but that will no longer work for us. I am curious what other northerners (we are in upstate NY) do about the heat, specifically. Can one safely leave a house without heat (we use natural gas) for 3 months, assuming the water pipes have been drained? If you are willing to share, I'd be interested in your shutdown check lists. Thank you.
__________________

whitet is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-11-2019, 08:53 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,616
Drain the toilets too. I have also known folks who leave cabins in northern Wisconsin who pour a little antifreeze in the bowl as well. The water won't freeze and the sewer gas won't come up either.
__________________

COcheesehead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 08:53 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
calmloki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Independence
Posts: 5,956
We leave our Oregon home with the heat shut off for 6 months in winter. I drain the water heater about 1/2 way down sometimes but prefer to leave it on vacation mode so I don't have to think about the tank plumping up in a freeze. Then I just worry about gas leaks or the tank boiling dry. Gotta have something to think about in vacationland. The house interior moisture comes up to ambient outside - it is noticeably damp feeling on our return, as all the wood and drywall has a winter's worth of humidity stored up. We haven't seen any serious damage yet after 10 years - except when an upstairs door got open for some months and the wood floor finish in the entrance kinda went away. We froze an icemaker line and washing machine line once

We also leave our SoCal house uncooled in summer while gone - some candles melt, some elastics fail, but it costs less to replace than cooling and wasting energy.

Per COcheesehead's comment - we plunge toilets, drain tanks and then top up the bowl with RV tank antifreeze and some bleach, then cover with saran wrap. Also fill sink, tub, and shower traps with rv antifreeze.
__________________
"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." Dalai Lama
calmloki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 10:11 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Ronstar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: A little ways southwest of Chicago
Posts: 10,982
I leave the heat on at 55 degrees for 3 months. Shut off the water and drain the pipes a little. I keep a thermometer close to an indoor IP camera so that I can see the indoor temp remotely.
__________________
The wilderness is calling and I must go.
Ronstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 12:26 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,743
Drain the toilets and all water taps. Turn off the water supply. Keep the furnace on low. Check your furnace air filter before you go...replace if necessary. Don't forget turn your hot water heater (if you have one) down or off. We also unplug all electrical devices that are on standby...tv, toaster, etc.

We place all valuables-papers, jewelry, and computer hard disk w/ digital photos in our safe deposit box. We take the battery out of our summer car and put it in the basement. Other car is OK since we are only gone for 2-3 months.

Check your insurance. My guess is that there is a requirement to have you home checked at specific intervals. Determine what this period is. Ask the person who does this to record dates/times.

Keep pathways to your home cleared of snow for emergency access.

We are fortunate. We have a wonderful neighbour who checks on our home and empties our junk mail. We travel 2-3 months, twice a year fall and winter. No plants, no pets. HOA does lawns and snow removal.

We have moved everything possible to email....bank statements, credit card statements...everything prior to early retirement.

DW ensures that she has the proper supply of her meds.

So far, after many extended trips all has been good. No issues whatsoever. After all...why stay at home in the dark, cold, snowy climate listening to winter storm reports when you can travel to warmer climes
brett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 01:10 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 5,634
We're north of Boston and just turn down the temp to around 60 as we head to Fort Lauderdale. All our (trustworthy) neighbors also snowbird so there's no one around anymore to check on things.

We have temperature sensors (accurite.com , actually intended for outdoor use) which we put on top of our furnace and on each floor and can read the indoor temps via internet.

We do not turn off the water as the furnace--steam heat--needs regular automatic re-fills to keep running. We also have a couple of IP cameras in case something starts leaking etc.

KEY (literally) We also have one of those locks on our basement door that we can unlock/lock remotely in case we need someone to get into the house.

Plow guy comes as needed. Mail does build up but it's on an enclosed porch and no one but the mailman sees that.

At this point however, either DW or I are never gone more than 2-3 weeks without one of us needing to go back for a day or two so the house is seldom 'alone' for longer than that. And because we go back and forth all winter, a lengthy re-boot isn't practical.

Personally, letting a house (walls, floors, appliances) get down into the minus numbers--even with the water drained--is not a good idea but I can't say why.
__________________
Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
marko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 03:28 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 21,805
I have two homes that get mothballed for 6 months.

For ours, we close the valves that supply hot and cold domestic water to the house, open a faucet to relieve the pressure, set the thermostats at 55F and lock the door.

On my mother's 3-season "camp", I turn the water off where it enters the building, drain the hot water heater tanks, and drain all the hot and cold water supply lines and blow them out with a shop vac, leave faucets open so if there is any residual water when it does freeze it has room to expand and then put RV antfreeze in the drains/traps and the washing machine. No heat.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...60/35/5 AA
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 03:38 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
gromit's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 191
The link below takes you to an older 7 page thread that had a number of tips on leaving a house for a lengthy period of time.


How long can you leave home and leave it empty?
gromit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 05:32 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OldShooter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: City
Posts: 2,999
If the house will freeze, the water pipes need to be emptied. This can be done with compressed air but it is a hassle and success is hard to ascertain for sure.

We routinely let our three-level walkout lake home freeze, but I have arranged the water piping into zones and also set up the piping so everything is downhill to the basement, where i have drain and zone cutoff ball valves. If a pipe does break due to water not properly drained I can cut off water to that zone until I can fix the pipe.

When we are ready to leave I turn off the pump, open all the sink and tub faucets to admit air, open the water heater drain, open any closed zone valves, and open the system drain valve. After flushing toilets until the tanks are as close to empty ad possible, I use a plunger to eliminate as much water from the toilet bowls as possible, then add RV antifreeze to both the tanks and the bowls. I also add RV antifreeze to the traps under the sinks. Overall it takes about a gallon to do the house.

This sounds harder than it is, taking maybe 20 minutes total. Admittedly, getting the piping properly set up was no picnic.
OldShooter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 08:36 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 21,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
....but I have arranged the water piping into zones and also set up the piping so everything is downhill to the basement, where i have drain and zone cutoff ball valves. ...
Our place was like that before we demolished and rebuilt... I turned off the water supply, opened all the faucets and then everything drained into a 5 gal pail with opening one ball valve.... it was a really sweet system.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...60/35/5 AA
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 08:56 PM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Placerville
Posts: 825
For all sink and toilet traps, use the 'pink stuff' Sold at RV dealerships and Walmart, this stuff won't freeze and saves pipes.

Shut off water at the meter or entry to the property, not just to the house. Drain the water lines by blowing out with air. Many landscaping irrigation systems use a air hose connection to blow out water, should duplicate for the home.

Don't leave stuff in the fridge or freezer. Fridge because they may freeze if it gets cold enough and both just in case you have a power outage and it ain't cold enough.

For that matter, I have a home weather system with sensors in my freezer and fridge. When alarm levels are met, my cloud based weather dashboard will text and e-mail with the event. I can then log into my cameras and look-see what's up, or call a neighbor or family member to check it out.
Stop or forward mail and newspaper.
Forward land line phone to your cell phone.
skipro33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2019, 10:09 PM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Wheaton
Posts: 173
we set the heat at 60 and do not drain the toilets, pipes, etc. but we have placed Notion sensors in each bathroom, by the WH, etc. we can monitor them via the interweb. also have indoor and outdoor sec. cams, ring doorbell, neighbors who watch the place and other folks we can call to help out as needed.
rk911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 05:19 AM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 21,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipro33 View Post
....Shut off water at the meter or entry to the property, not just to the house. Drain the water lines by blowing out with air. Many landscaping irrigation systems use a air hose connection to blow out water, should duplicate for the home. ...
At my mom's place, I can easily blow out the domestic water pipes by putting a shop vac exhaust on the outside hose spigots and opening up all faucets.

Also, don't forget to run RV antifreeze through the washing machine so any residual water doesn't freeze and break the pump. Finally, I drain water from refridgerator icemaker line since I one time had a fitting for the icemaker water supply freeze and break.

I have a Blink security system at each property where I can monitor temperatures and if there is any motion inside the house it sends a video clip to the cloud and sends me an alert.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...60/35/5 AA
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 07:24 AM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 5,634
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipro33 View Post
For that matter, I have a home weather system with sensors in my freezer and fridge. When alarm levels are met, my cloud based weather dashboard will text and e-mail with the event. .
This is a good idea! We have them throughout the house monitoring room temperatures but now I'll have to get one for the fridge, even though it's fairly new.
__________________
Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
marko is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 07:28 AM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Winnipeg
Posts: 2,185
A Wi-Fi thermostat is a good investment as it allows you to remotely monitor the house temperature. We went south for 5 weeks over the winter and I set it to 14C (about 57F) and regularly checked the temperature. When we were on the way home I remotely increased the temperature so we would come home to a warm house.

That being said, it's a good idea and probably a requirement by your insurance company to have someone regularly check on the house.
Music Lover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 07:59 AM   #16
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Placerville
Posts: 825
Quote:
Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
At my mom's place, I can easily blow out the domestic water pipes by putting a shop vac exhaust on the outside hose spigots and opening up all faucets.

How do you know it's through all water spigots and toilets throughout the house? Seems to me, the first one blown clean would be the path of least resistance for all the other traps under sinks and toilets remaining. Perhaps when one blows clear, it's plugged somehow and the vac exhaust is allowed to push against the next least resistance line. And so on and so on.
skipro33 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 08:40 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Vermont & Sarasota, FL
Posts: 21,805
Quote:
Originally Posted by skipro33 View Post
How do you know it's through all water spigots and toilets throughout the house? Seems to me, the first one blown clean would be the path of least resistance for all the other traps under sinks and toilets remaining. Perhaps when one blows clear, it's plugged somehow and the vac exhaust is allowed to push against the next least resistance line. And so on and so on.
I feel air coming through each faucet. Also, she has an unfinished basement and the pipes are accessible and there are a couple drains in the supply pipes at low spots that I open once most of the water is out. While I haven't needed to do it, I could close one faucet at a time once the shop vac is blowing air through the pipes to mitigate the least resistance issue that you wrote about. The pipes don't really need to be totally dry... it is ok if there is a little residual water as long as it has room to expand when it freezes... that is why I leave all valves open during the winter.. so any freezing water can expand without breaking anything.

I've use this process annually for over 15 years without any problems.

For the toilets and drains, I suck up the toilets and blow out drains and then fill the toilet bowls and traps with RV antifreeze.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56...60/35/5 AA
pb4uski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 08:49 AM   #18
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5
Thank you to all who have replied. What a wealth of great information!
whitet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 01:38 PM   #19
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 5
For those of you who keep the heat on, do you have emergency generators to handle extended power outages? We have gas heat, but without power to run the fan, the heat will not circulate.
whitet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2019, 02:37 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Wheaton
Posts: 173
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitet View Post
For those of you who keep the heat on, do you have emergency generators to handle extended power outages? We have gas heat, but without power to run the fan, the heat will not circulate.
yes. and we are 'sposed to get a text from the power company when the power goes out (we don't) but we do get a text when the genny runs. we had a 60.5-hr power outage this past January and the genny hummed along flawlessly. we were an island of light in the blacked-out neighborhood. I offered a 20-amp circuit to the neighbors on either side. the one neighbor had a newborn so they evacuated to a family's house. when I asked the other neighbor what his plans were...lights, fridge, etc. he said, "heck, no! the kids are driving me nuts. I'm hooking up the TV and satellite!!"
__________________

rk911 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
snowbirds


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Arizona - suggestions for snowbirds? tvmovie Travel Information 2 04-03-2010 12:48 PM
Taxes for Canadian Snowbirds in the US kcowan FIRE and Money 13 06-16-2008 12:55 PM
Snowbirds Almost Retired Life after FIRE 7 07-05-2004 10:32 PM
SnowBirds Almost Retired Other topics 0 06-24-2004 11:13 AM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:13 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.