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Keeping a Home Winterized Year-Round

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Peggy in Utah, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    PEGGY: Hi, I have a home that was built in the 70s and the bathrooms have toilets that are attached to the wall instead of the floor.

    TOM: OK.

    PEGGY: And I am going to be having some plumbing work done and I’m wondering if I should have those replaced because frankly it’s a little nervous. I have someone very heavy that comes over to the house and I’m afraid if he sits on the toilet it’s going to fall right off the wall.

    TOM: Well those are usually put in very, very well as they’re attached to the wall. Now do you see any weakness? Is there any bulging or looseness in the toilet at all?

    PEGGY: Doesn’t seem to be any bulging or looseness but the toilet seems to be tipped slightly forward in both bathrooms. It just doesn’t feel like it’s quite horizontal anymore.

    TOM: Alright, you mentioned you were going to have some plumbing done. When the plumber comes over have the plumber take a look at those toilets and tell the plumber your concern about their security and the plumber will be able to detect whether or not there’s any weakness. It may be that that thing hasn’t moved since the day it was put in in 1970. But those toilets are usually bolted to the wood framing on the wall and they really don’t move whatsoever. So I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless there’s some evidence that it’s actually moving now, Peggy.

    PEGGY: OK, and I had a second question.

    TOM: Alright, go head. Two-for-one special today. (Leslie chuckles)

    PEGGY: OK, great. I have a guest cottage that has been winterized and there’s not going to be anyone coming during the summer.

    TOM: OK.

    PEGGY: Is there any problem with just leaving it indefinitely winterized or is that bad for the pipes?

    TOM: No, there’s nothing – no reason that you can’t leave it winterized. The only thing to remember is that if you have …

    LESLIE: You might have to worry about moisture though conditions for the summer.

    TOM: Yeah. If you have no heating and no cooling there you could get swelling of the walls, swelling of the doors; you could get mold that forms. So it’s good to have the HVAC system working even if it’s not, you know, keeping it super cool or super warm in the winter; just to have it moving some air and conditioning that air so you don’t have a humidity issue.

    PEGGY: OK, I see. So if – do you suppose if I just opened the windows?

    TOM: Well, in the summertime? Well sure, if it’s very dry but I do think …

    LESLIE: But what about a security issue …

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: … especially if the home is not going to be attended to all summer?

    PEGGY: Well, it’s on the second floor of a very large garage so there really wouldn’t …

    TOM: Alright, well just keep an eye on it. We don’t want to have any – a lot of times when you have a vacation property or a home that’s been winterized you get a lot of condensation and then mold issues. So just keep an eye on it. Don’t, you know, not check it for six months because you might be surprised by the fuzzy stuff on the walls the next time you do.

    PEGGY: OK, great. Thank you very much.

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