Winterize Plumbing in Your Home
LESLIE: Nancy in Connecticut needs some help with winterization of a house. How can we help you today?
NANCY: Yes, hi. We go out west for the winter and leave our house in Connecticut. And for the past couple of years, we’ve left the heat on about 60 but last year we had a pipe burst – a radiator burst – and we had a huge, huge mess. And I’m wondering if we should just drain all the pipes, turn off everything and not have to worry about that.
TOM: Nancy, are you turning off the domestic water supply?
TOM: So the water is off. It’s really the heating water because you have a hot water heating system?
NANCY: We do.
TOM: Yeah, the problem is that even though you’re leaving it at 60, there may be some parts of the plumbing that are more susceptible to cold weather. For example, those parts that are up against the exterior wall are going to get colder quicker.
NANCY: (overlapping voices) Right.
TOM: And leaving it at 60 is really pretty chilly still. I would probably have told you to go 65. But in terms of do I want to drain the whole thing, there are other issues with that. Because if you don’t have heat on in the house, the lumber is going to swell; the doors are going to swell; if you have wallpaper, it can start to peel off the walls; you can get mold that grows on drywall. Without that heat, there are a lot of bad things that could happen. So it is a good idea to have the heat on but I do think, in this case, what you want to do is go up a little higher and maybe go 65; even 68, if you’ve had a problem before.
And put it on a thermostat – you know, a clock thermostat – so it’s mostly on at night. It can go off a little midday. But I would think that you would really want to maintain it in that 65 to 68-degree range.
NANCY: OK, thank you so much for your help.
LESLIE: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT