01:58PM | 12/25/05
Member Since: 12/24/05
2 lifetime posts
I am going to have to move in with mother due to her illness and need to know what I need to do to prepare my house for the move. To keep from paying 2 different sets of bills, I am going to shut off all utilities in my house...gas, electric and water. What precautions do I need to take to try to prevent water pipes from freezing, etc.? I would appreciate any and all advice.


05:19AM | 12/26/05
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Dusty,

Welcome to the forum! And sorry to hear about your mom's illness.

A few things I can think of off-hand:

1. Not sure where you are, but in places where it gets pretty doggone cold (like here in CO), it's possible for the underground waterline to the house to freeze. So I'd look for the shutoff at the meter, rather than the one at/under the house.

2. Flush toilets, then put some antifreeze down the toilets.

3. You will need to drain water lines inside. Open several faucets, including ones at low points so water can drain out.

4. I have a friend who drains his hot water heater when he leaves. Not a bad idea, really. You need to make sure your water heater is TURNED OFF BEFORE DOING THIS! It takes quite a while to drain (and will take some time to re-fill when you move back in). And when you move back in, be sure tank is refilled before turning it back on (whether gas or electric).

I DO think it's a good idea to shut off the water. It doesn't take much water to make a helluva mess.

If your house is going to be vacant for a long time, you will want to find a way to check on it regularly--or find someone who will. Do you have any idea on how long it will be vacant? You don't want squatters moving in.

If I think of anything else, I will post later. All the best to you, your mother and her recovery and comfort.


-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


05:24AM | 12/26/05
Member Since: 12/24/05
2 lifetime posts
Thank you so much k2 for the information and the good wishes. The information helps tremendously. I am in KY and it is very cold right now and will probably be so for quite a while. I will be close enough to keep an eye on the house several times a week and I don't know how long I will have to be gone; therefore the reason I need to go ahead and shut everything off. Again, thanks for the information.


05:40AM | 12/26/05
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Actually, I just found my friend's "checkout procedures" for his 2nd home. A lot of this won't apply, but here is most of the text. I left most of this in, in case it jogs your memory about some other things to do. Obviously, he leaves his electric turned on.

I got to thinking that it may not be bad for you to have your own "checkout procedure."

Again, good luck. Anyway, here goes:

I now turn off the well pump when I leave so on the way into the house, stop at the circuit breaker box and flip the breaker labeled “pump” on. Please be sure to turn it off on the way out.

I now lock the little garage door with the deadbolt so you need to use the key to unlock. While I am there over the weekend I just use the doorknob lock but it doesn’t hold very well so I use the other one when I am leaving after the weekend.

After going into the house, go into the basement and turn on the water feed, make sure the lever is down on the water filter to flush (position four), plug in the bigger water filter, close the hot water tank drain so it can begin to fill, if you are in the heating season plug in the boiler ( I often unplug it until late October and again in about April as supplemental heating is adequate but use it during the really cold winter months like November through March when it is always plugged in so it can respond to demand.) Don’t turn on the hot water heater circuit breaker or press the manual override button until the tank has stopped filling (maybe 15 minutes.) I also turn up the ETS to about 60 degrees first thing and fire up the pellet stove if the house is cold. Then while you are busy carrying things into the house, it is heating it up. The two ceiling fans really help move the heat off the ceiling and help moderate the climate. In case the propane guy has been there while I was out of town, he often shuts the tank valve if he thinks it was near empty when he filled. Usually you will find a bill under the doormat saying he has turned off the gas. All you need to do is turn it back on. The tank is underground and all you will see is the black filler cover about 20 feet SE of greenhouse. Boiler and stove are electronic ignition so if you turn the gas on, everything will fire up with use. Spare pellets, if any, are stacked in the garage along the north wall.

Check out procedure:

Starting near the back door—

 Make sure the icemaker is in the off position, the fridge doors are closed and you left some cold beer in the fridge (or a better quality wine than we left for you.) Please make sure you toss anything that will smell really bad by the time we return.

 Double-check that the ovens are off by hitting the “Cancel” button one more time.

 The two ceiling fans are on switches next to the stove (if you turned off the upstairs fan at night, you need to turn it back on in the morning so the downstairs switches can both be in down position for “off”)

 Please throw the two sheets back over the couch to keep off dust and sunlight.

 Make sure outside light switches are off.

 Turn the ETS to the lower setting if it is cold, or to the full “off” setting so it doesn’t load at all if outside temperatures are mild.

 Lock the front door.

 If you had the outside light on timers, please pull the timers (front and back porch, east end of north side of house, at outside circuit breaker box.)

 I usually leave the timer on the lamp in the front office and close that door.

 As you go room-to-room, make sure windows are latched.

 In the laundry, go downstairs and presuming that you are done with the bathrooms 1) turn off the water valve 2) flip the hot water heater switch (marked with red nail polish in the circuit breaker box) 3) pull the plug on the water filter if you used it 4) open the drain on the hot water heater and let it run into the sump (this takes a ½ hour so don’t wait around for it to finish). I often pull the lever down on the water filter position #4 and it lets the cold water drain down also.

 In the laundry, check the other ovens.

 Take the garbage out of the compactor or wastebaskets and drop in the bins at the subdivision entrance.

 There are three heat zones (near front door, laundry and upstairs north bedroom) and in the winter these all are set to just above their lowest setting.

 I usually remake the bed with clean sheets just before leaving and pile towels, bathmats and sheets in the laundry. The night before I leave I run loads of laundry and put on outside line if weather cooperates or do as much as I think will dry overnight on ETS, drying rack and in front of pellet stove. I also use old sheets to cover the bed and the rocker.

 Check out all the light switches in the garage and make sure doors are locked.

 The water in the fridge door and icemaker has been twice filtered and should be safe. I wouldn’t drink out of the taps. Before turning on the icemaker or drinking the water, I run a few pitchers and pour them in the sink. Otherwise the water can get a little stale and mineral tasting.

 If you have watered my plants, make sure the hydrants are closed (handles down) or if there is danger of freezing that all hoses are disconnected and ¼ turn valves open to drain.

 On the way to the car, I open the main circuit housing and flip off the water pump switch.


-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


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