09:13AM | 10/23/04
Member Since: 10/22/04
1 lifetime posts
I've just become a snowbird and will be leaving my Michigan home vacant for much of the winter. What are the recommendations for shutting off the water while away? First, is shut off even necessary? If so, the whole house or just washing machine? Do sinks need to be drained? Toilets? Will pipes be harmed by being left empty for several months? Is anti-freeze necessary in the system if the heat is left on 60 degrees continuously. Any other advice for leaving an empty house for the winter?


06:37PM | 10/23/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Robert, and welcome to the world of snowbirddom!

I should say that I'm a big believer in shutting off water for extended durations, esp. in winter. I saw a picture a while back of the mess left behind from leaks/freeze and believe me, you don't wanna go there. There was massive damage.

Some of your questions I'm not really qualified to handle. E.g., will pipes be harmed? (I would doubt it, but the mess left behind by a freeze can be a real disaster, as I said.

I know in our area (Colorado) I fret if we're gone in subzero weather and always have a neighbor look in. But it takes surprisingly little water to make a huge mess after a broken pipe.

If it were me, I'd turn off water and drain what's leftover by opening a couple of taps (including one on the lowest level). I'd shut off the water heater.

As for washing machine, I like the idea of shutting water to it after every use. A lot of pressure off rubber hoses. Again, a little break, a big mess.

I've never (knock on wood) had drain lines freeze, but this has happened. I'd think at 60 degrees you'd be fine--except maybe in crawlspaces, etc. A bit of antifreeze is probably cheap insurance--esp. if it gets REAL cold there.

Good luck, and enjoy the sunbelt!


-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


07:36AM | 10/26/04
Member Since: 09/17/02
527 lifetime posts
I would shut off the water for sure. You should also be aware that most insurance companies won't cover damage unless you have someone checking on the house evry couple of days.


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