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burled
how to winterize vacant house???

As the grandmother of a deployed soldier, I am in process of winterizing his house which will be sitting vacant this winter in an area where typical lows are low 20s, maybe down to mid-teens. I know to cover outside faucets, turn off water, drain pipes, commodes, etc. Do I need to drain the electric water heater also? Anything else I need to do?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: how to winterize vacant house???

Turn the electric off to the water heater first then drain. I would also dump some antifreeze in the drains and toilet to protect the traps. Thanks for his service, and hope he comes home soon.
Jack

libcarp
Re: how to winterize vacant house???

It sounds like you're going to be turning the heat completely off - note that if there is any wood flooring, paneling, etc. you may experience cracking.

I did this once with a place I only use during the summer... never again! I now leave the heat set on 60 in the winter, it cost next to nothing to run and keeps the wood from drying out. But, I still prep like the heat is off in case of an extended power failure.

You'll also want to put on your check list to remove all food from the refrigerator/freezer and don't forget the kitchen cabinets of anything that can spoil or freeze. That same goes for the medicine cabinet and anything liquid in the basement or garage.

As far as the water is concerned, turn off the water at the outdoor meter/valve and open all the valves (including any outside hose bibbs) to drain the water from the pipes, drain the water heaters, flush the toilet tanks as well as the water reservoir in the refrigerator and any 'instant' hot water tanks. The note to put antifreeze in the traps is a good idea - I use the blue windshield washer stuff, it's won't protect if it gets down in the single digits, but we seldom get more than a few days that cold here, and I pour a good 1/2 gallon down each drain and cover the drain, although I suspect they still dryout after a month or so - all the sinks have traps as well as the dishwasher and any floor drains in the basement or garage.

I only use gas for cooking, so I also turn off the gas at the meter just to prevent any issues should a leak develop. I also pull the fuses and switch off the circuits feeding everything except the furnace and some motion-sensor lights on the exterior.

Having a monitored burglar/smoke alarm system is a good idea, especially if it's not a place where you can/will be driving past on a regular basis to keep an eye on it... a good neighbor is also priceless in these situations. In most areas you can also notify the police that the place is vacant and depending on the department will either do an extra patrol (drive by) of the area or in smaller communities they will get out of their car walk around the place and do a door/window check once a day.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: how to winterize vacant house???

And if you are not stopping by daily, put the mail on hold for pick-up at the P.O. and stop paper deliveries.
Jack

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: how to winterize vacant house???

when you empty the freezers/refrigerators, unplug them and be SURE TO PROP THE DOORS OPEN, learned that lesson the hard way! also drain and disconnect the water lines to the refrigerator water dispenser and/or ice maker if they exist and remove any water filters either in the fridge or if they are in-line (learned that lesson the hard way too!:eek::().

you can get non-poison anti-freeze to use for the pipes, an RV supplier or camping place usually carry it year-round.

burled
Re: how to winterize vacant house???

Many thanks for all the helpful info. Have already done some of these things but some new ideas. This makes me feel better to know that I am not overlooking some minor thing that could be disastrous.

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