Winter travel - leaving your house - Fiberglass RV


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Old 12-09-2013, 10:55 AM   #1
Raz
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Winter travel - leaving your house

I know many of you travel south for an extended period in the winter. I'm curious what steps you take to avoid damage to your house due to cold. Obviously, folks who leave their home inhabited don't have an issue. But folks who leave their home uninhabited must either leave the heat on (expensive?) or drain the pipes and deal with anything that can freeze. Do you use a check list? Have you ever come home to any surprises? Raz
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:24 AM   #2
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Good morning Raz. This will be the 5th year for us leaving in the winter. We set the thermostats at around 45°F, open the doors under the sinks, turn off the hot water heater, put a small electric heater with a 35° thermostat next to the hot water heater. So far that's taken care of all the pipes.
Unplug the garage door opener. Turn off all those things that use a remote control. Unplug all "wall warts". Turn off all computer equipment including cable modem and router.
There's two gates to the back yard, we put padlocks on them.
If you don't have a monitored alarm system, you might want to consider one. Mine has full time fire monitoring along with several detectors for intrusion. The peace of mind allows for a much more relaxed trip.
I print business cards with our cell phone numbers and 3 of our kids phone numbers. They all have individual access codes to the alarm system and keys. One them is the sales person that sold us the alarm system, and she comes by a couple times while we're gone.

The biggest headache has been the mail. We've reduced the mail so we get to very little, and few magazines. We use the temporary forwarding service provided by USPS. Forwarding the mail to one of the kids. The problem with that is they treat the temporary the same as a permanent change of address. That is they send a change of address notice to the magazines. We get no bills in the mail, all that's done with automatic bill pay and over the internet.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:33 AM   #3
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I always make sure to turn the water off at the basement entry. Who knows if the furnace will keep the house warm? Easy to do and saves thousands of messy cleanup and repair. Failure is rare, but people buy insurance at longer odds. I also ask the neighbors to keep and eye out; they are eagle eyed.

If I remember I move a couple tons of gold bars to my bank's vault.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:37 AM   #4
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As well, most insurance policies, at least around here, stipulate that someone has to inspect the house every 2 or 3 days, to ensure all is okay. This is just good habit anyway, especially in the winter.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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I bought an alarm from Amazon for about $75. Three phone numbers can be programmed into it. It will call the numbers if the temp. goes below 45, if the power goes off, and has a sensor to put on the floor to detect water. My aunt checks the house a couple times a week also, and picks up and forwards our mail. I leave the heat at 60. We did get a call for no heat last winter, called my aunt who went right over and verified the fact, then called the repair service who went and fixed the problem. We have base board hot water heat and an oil fired boiler. Something I would have fixed myself if I was home as I had done that type of work for a few years, but had to rely on a former coworker this time.
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Old 12-09-2013, 12:15 PM   #6
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My house heats with hot water and I can not turn off the water while absent. I found this
FloLogic 3.0 Automatic Water Shutoff System
it monitors my use and anything extraordinary it shuts off the water. For instance a longer than usual shower or watering the lawn will activate it, but otherwise is works silently in the back ground. It also gave me a homeowners discount.
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:31 PM   #7
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If you have a basement the suggestion of a water detector for the alarm as Mary and Bob posted seems like a good feature. Along with a good battery backup pump for the sump. I have one co-worker who sustained significant water damage due to basement flooding during a storm that knocked out power , another that was able to hand bail the crock enough to keep up with water when power went out.

Storm that takes out power may also put significant water into the sump system.

Do any of these alarm systems work with mobile phone service? Or do they require a land line?
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:33 PM   #8
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I can control my furnace from my iPhone with one of these https://nest.com
But with no power I guess it would not work as my router is 120v.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:11 PM   #9
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Our alarm system is connected to the phone landline. I do have a sump pump, but no battery backup pump. I do have a gasoline powered pump, and a generator, and ample supply of firewood for our fireplace, BUT, I have to be home to deal with all that stuff. Hoping for winter that's not too cold, no big sudden thaw, and no power outages. Will I be that lucky??
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
If you have a basement the suggestion of a water detector for the alarm as Mary and Bob posted seems like a good feature. Along with a good battery backup pump for the sump. I have one co-worker who sustained significant water damage due to basement flooding during a storm that knocked out power , another that was able to hand bail the crock enough to keep up with water when power went out.

Storm that takes out power may also put significant water into the sump system.

Do any of these alarm systems work with mobile phone service? Or do they require a land line?
Mine has a battery back up and uses the cell phone system. The power can go out and the system is still active. There's two batteries one for the alarm functions and one for cell system.

I know that the people that monitor know when the power is off and the system is on battery. I'll have to ask my rep about when and if they call.

I know they call when the smoke alarm goes off, I had a fireplace smoke and set off the alarm before I could get the smoke cleared out. I immediately got a call. Later my rep. told that the fire dept was dispatched.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
Mine has a battery back up and uses the cell phone system. The power can go out and the system is still active. There's two batteries one for the alarm functions and one for cell system.

I know that the people that monitor know when the power is off and the system is on battery. I'll have to ask my rep about when and if they call.

I know they call when the smoke alarm goes off, I had a fireplace smoke and set off the alarm before I could get the smoke cleared out. I immediately got a call. Later my rep. told that the fire dept was dispatched.
So Byron your using a service or monitored system right? Do you get a break on your home owners insurance with that?

I was thinking more of the DIY isystems but had not found one that I liked.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:35 PM   #12
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If you're concerned about water problems, maybe turn it off at the main? For sure, shut off the water at the clothes washer, dishwasher and all the sinks/toilets. There's something about those "rubber" hoses that decide to let go while you're gone. I replace the clothes washing hoses at least every 10 years. Cheap insurance. Then, no more hoses to worry about... just the "hard" pipes. And, if the main is shut off... you'd only worry about freezing temps. Not, worn out stuff.
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:44 PM   #13
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Thought I'd throw in my nickle, we don't got pennies anymore,,,
Our insurance requires someone check the house at least every other day.
We hire a fellow that stops by the house daily, we shut off the water, the water heater, unplug computor and all plug in stuff. I set the heaters at minimum and place a small heater in the basement.
The hired man is instructed to shut off heat when outside is above freezing and take whatever steps necessary in the event of an emergency.
I trust his judgement and don't even think about the house when I'm gone.
Fred
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FRED SMAILES View Post
..... and don't even think about the house when I'm gone.
Fred
This is what it is all about, attaining peace of mind, no matter what level you need to go to to attain it.
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