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Closing a house down in Winter

What problems could arise?

sarahgash
post 21.Feb.2013, 08:22 PM
Post #1
Joined: 21.Feb.2013

I would like to know how to close a house down in Winter to save paying heating bills all winter when it is unoccupied. Can anyone tell me how to I can do this? Thanq
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Johno
post 21.Feb.2013, 08:27 PM
Post #2
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

Two key questions. What kind of heating do you have ie can you leave some electric heaters on for a trickle of heat. And secondly what water installations do you have. Because the ultimate is draining these very completely and filling all traps with glycol. And an afterthought - where exactly is this house to know how cold it might get.

ps And consider your insurance - mine specifies quite high minimum temperatures, especially for rooms with water appliances to retain cover.
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Svensksmith
post 21.Feb.2013, 09:36 PM
Post #3
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

Some things that I have heard can occur: supply hose for washing machine bursting and filling house with water (make sure and shut off at the supply), power failure and temp dropping below freezing causing pipes to burst (there is a product that will monitor the temperature of your house and give you a call if it drops below a set amount...I'm assuming it has a battery backup) and, of course, burglary.

Good idea to check with insurance.
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Yorkshireman
post 21.Feb.2013, 10:40 PM
Post #4
Joined: 22.Nov.2011

One of the reasons insurance companies often require a temp of between 10-12C within the property to be covered is if you leave the house below that for some time it highers the risk for mold (mögel) to develope ...not good.

Everything depends upon how you get your water. If supplied from your own pump house, then make sure there is a heater there to keep the pump house temp 2C or a little higher ... are the pipes dug down deep?, if so, stop the water at the main stop-cock, so no water us coming into the house ... open all taps and let the water run dry, leave the taps open!... flush the toilet so the cistern is emptied ... get glycol and pour into all the drains, sink drain, shower drain and toilet so that all the water-locks (ubends) are filled with a mixture of water and glycol. And if you have heating that uses water, then you will need to drain the system, and probably best to also blow compressed air through the system to push out the water ...make sure all valves and thermostats are fully open to let the water flow out!

Oh Yes!... and make sure that if you have a water meter, you inform the local kommun you are freezing down the house, otherwise there is risk that you will freeze/break the meter sad.gif ...they may come and remove it. or make sure it is drained etc...
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Pursuivant
post 22.Feb.2013, 10:24 AM
Post #5
Joined: 12.Aug.2008

Pipes freezing would be the main issue.
Other issues:
- All the furniture getting "temperaturized", so when you start heating the chairs dry and fall into pieces.
- All linen and stuff getting damp. House smells if "rotten".
- Any food must be removed as if you get mice or rats they chew to anywhere.
- Condensation damp also effects all electronics, so they might blow when you turn them on.

This is a common thing with summer cottages, hence certain "traditional" rituals like airing the linens and storing stuff in a certain way. Not impossible, but you need to have the "know" instead of a "think".

The suggestion in keeping at least the 10-12 is a good one, if you intend to say rent the house within 2-3 months.
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Johno
post 22.Feb.2013, 11:25 AM
Post #6
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

Another of those annoying threads where a question is asked and then response from the op is slow. Grr !

My electric heaters all have a minimum setting of 5 degrees so that the expectation is that owners flick them back to minimum setting when leaving and can feel relatively secure. Only thats a bit low in a room where there is water, our surveyor suggested 10 degrees in that case. Personally we run at closer to 10 degrees throughout, both for safety and for a quicker heat up on winter visits.

Its a wooden house and I have studied seasonal internal humidity levels with interest. Houses actually get pretty dry in the winter, the summer months are the moistest, and thats probably when mould conditions are worst ?

Anyway, turning heating off completely seems a worst option. As Yorkshireman says, getting all the water out of a system like ours with 2 water heaters would be horrendous. And getting glycol into every bend also having to flush it out again. And having too big a temperature and humidity cycle in the house seems asking for trouble, mould, summer cottage smell, etc.

Lastly on the insurance, our insurer periodically sends out advice for cottage owners on making places safe when unoccupied. I keep copies at the cottage so cant refer to one at this moment. But they will have conditions.
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sarahgash
post 23.Feb.2013, 04:33 PM
Post #7
Joined: 21.Feb.2013

So much interesting information...sorry for late comment but can only access forum properly at weekend. The house is in Vasterbotten about 12 miles from Skelleftea.

The house is made of wood, has electric radiators and a new condensing luftewarm heating unit. It's around 75 square metres over three floors, including basement. The costs for Kraft power have been around £300 per month for the last six months, and the house has only been occupied for around six days of that time.

I'll look at insurance and have a close read of all the replies. If the water for an adjoining house is supplied through a communal pipe who is responsible for keeping the pipes warm? Anybody know?
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Johno
post 23.Feb.2013, 06:05 PM
Post #8
Joined: 23.Jul.2008

Your reply seems to indicate some heat left on - what temperature settings do you have ?

Water supply pipes are generally dug deep enough so that they are not affected by winter cold but they do of course have to come up into the house. Where is your stop valve situated - if underground before the house, then thats ok from that point of view. But where it rises may be a problem. House heating will also warm under the house where the pipes come up. Turn the house heating off and they will freeze. They may be flexible and not prone to frost damage - only you can know. And of course you are responsible for everything on your property. They may already be trace heated. Only you and your plans can know. Of course turn the electricity off and that heating will stop.

Have you any temperature data for Skellefteå in those 6 months ? Is that £1800 for 6 months from the end of the summer ? Perhaps some more detail by month.
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Micardo
post 23.Feb.2013, 10:39 PM
Post #9
Joined: 22.May.2006

We used to leave the house at 10-12c but found it to expensive and reduced it to 6. Downside was that it seemed a bit damp for a while and took 2 days to warm up. Biggest problem was that the mice used to eat everthing, including the poison.
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skogsbo
post 23.Feb.2013, 10:52 PM
Post #10
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

Bad winter for mice this year, they'll eat the poison, die, freeze solid, then start to smell in spring. Probably trapped over 200 this winter. We don't use poisons because of the animals etc.
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Micardo
post 23.Feb.2013, 10:57 PM
Post #11
Joined: 22.May.2006

Solved the problem there, moved here full time, got a cat
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For all
post 23.Feb.2013, 11:01 PM
Post #12
Joined: 25.Dec.2012

Thermal insulation, pipes for heating and building.
Windows are often the main cause of energy consumption,
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For all
post 23.Feb.2013, 11:03 PM
Post #13
Joined: 25.Dec.2012

See please
 
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