View Full Version : Leaving Stick House in cold weather?

Mr Pachu
07-15-2018, 10:02 PM
We will have the opportunity to become snowbirds this coming winter and wonder what you all do with your stick house during this time especially if it's located in a cold climate (Canada)?

Do you rent it? Leave it empty and have someone check on it every so often?

07-16-2018, 06:33 AM
We turn the heat down to 51 and pay the neighbor to look after it. They also pick up our mail and clear the snow off the driveway.

07-16-2018, 06:43 AM
We have our old home place here on the farm. Occasionally we will rent it out. When we don’t rent it we worry about the heat going off and it freezing up so we hook an electric heat thermostat to a light and set it in the window. If the heat goes off the light comes on. We check on it occasionally.

Montana Man
07-16-2018, 07:14 AM
Sell it! :)

07-16-2018, 07:27 AM
We leave it. Vacation Lake House, only there some of the summer anyway. Turn off water. Turn off breakers on most major appliances.. Set thermostat at 55. Refrigerator and wine cooler off with doors open. Lawn service on board for yard cleanup. Already have mail service via Dakota Post. Good alarm system and good neighbors. Do set up timer lights upstairs and downstairs.

Mr Pachu
07-17-2018, 10:30 PM
Sell it! :)

We have to downsize before we can sell it, but that is eventually the plan.
Will go full time after we sell.

07-18-2018, 07:17 AM
if you really want to save money just drain pipes, turn heat off and turn most electric off.
but, you must be sure that all the water is gone from everywhere!!!
worsed thing might be a few nail pops.

Traveliní Gran
07-18-2018, 12:10 PM
Check with your home insurance first. They should be able to tell you what you need to to cover it. You will want someone to check it no matter what. We emptied our water lines and hot water tank( electric)- as well as turning it off. turned down heat, installed “Ring” doorbell and left our internet active so we could still check on our yard and house, as well as answer door no matter where we were with data on our cellphones. We set temp to 11C, should have emptied fridge and freezer but thought they wouldn’t use too much energy... also had alarm system but that wasn’t too useful. We have lots of solar lights and motion activated lights as well as good neighbours. You might try blowing out your water lines to be sure they’re clear. Timer lights with LED bulbs are another good idea. I’d also like to put a Ring on the 5th wheel for boon docking if we can get cell signals

07-27-2018, 01:00 PM
We turn off the water, leaving a dedicated feed to the burner on, & set the temp to 50-51. We have a freeze alert on the phone, if we call the house & the phone rings, all is well, if we get a busy the house is below 46Deg. & we need to call someone with the key. We also have something called a SENSI thermostat that the bride can control from her i phone. From her phone we can check the current temp in the house, raise or lower it.

07-28-2018, 05:48 AM
We are in the upper Peninsula of Michigan so we get plenty of minus zero temps. We shut off the water and blow out all the water lines. Add rv anti freeze to the toilet and water traps , shut off the heat and head South. Never a problem in 10 yrs. But it depends what type of ground your basement is in . If theres clay that would be a different story

07-28-2018, 05:52 AM
But it depends what type of ground your basement is in . If theres clay that would be a different story

Why would that make a difference and what are the differences?

07-28-2018, 06:08 AM
Our basement is down in sand and gravel. Doesn't shift when it freezes. From what I was told , if you are in a clay type soil in sub zero temps the frost will freeze the clay mixture and it will shift causing problems with your foundation which causes the house to shift , drywall cracks ect. I have no first hand knowledge of this just what I have been told. If it was me I would ask contractors in your area. Just as a yardstick when we left last year it was minus 14F with very little snow cover. Typically we average 300 inches per year. So if there is little snow the frost can pound down 5 ft or so. That's why our water lines are down 7 ft.

07-29-2018, 01:38 PM
We have a Nest thermostat along with a Nestcam and Nest Hello doorbell. The thermostat drops to 50F in the winter and 85F in the summer when we're away. August smart lock handles the front door should we need to let anyone in. Additionally, smart outlets that turn (LED) lights on and off on a somewhat random schedule.

I forward mail to a friend's house, she opens and scans / sends anything we might need via email.

When we're home, I cut my front lawn along with my neighbor's. When we're away, he cuts mine. (the back yard turns to a wheat field but never so bad I can't take care of it with two cuttings when we get home.)

Eventually we'll sell it and go F/T for a couple years before relocating.

07-29-2018, 02:24 PM
We will have the opportunity to become snowbirds this coming winter and wonder what you all do with your stick house during this time especially if it's located in a cold climate (Canada)?

Do you rent it? Leave it empty and have someone check on it every so often?
We put in heat pump system and turn it down to 45 for the winter. When it is not generating itself it runs on gas. The wife wondered over herbs and geranium in the Michigan basement. We have some one check every so often for sump pump failures and plow the drive. Good neighbors keep an eye on the place and maillady knows when we leave and when to expect us back.

07-29-2018, 09:08 PM
We drain electric hot water heater, unplug everything except our internet. Forward mail, empty garage fridge to house fridge and unplug it, pay neighbor to remove snow and come in once a week to water the flowers. Set heat at 50. And lastly I take my big thermometer off of the deck and set it in a inside window the neighbor can see. If temp drops it's not a week between plant watering for my neighbor to see there is a problem.. leave Minnesota for Texas and I don't worry about the stick & brick.

07-30-2018, 07:28 AM
This will be our 6th year of wintering in FL. We typically leave in early Nov., to avoid the freezing rain and road salt. We turn our general thermostats to 51 F and turn off water pump and supply valve. We rely heavily on our WiFi system to garner information. I do have a standby generator equipped to handle the main operating systems of our home in the event of prolonged power outages. We have a Nexis thermostat that I can control with my smartphone and monitor temps. I can also operate some of our light switches the same way. I also installed a number of security cameras, some indoors that I can access via my smartphone. We have several friends that will watch our place and when snow accumulates, have a company that will plow and sand the drive. We take all of our tax info with us. We have the USPS forward our mail to our FL address or hold it if we're en route to some other destination. We furnish an entry key to a dedicated HVAC company/ in the event our furnace needs attention. We do not drain our water system simply because we have a hydronic heating system, although I do shut off the water supply valve to the furnace as well. Make sure you get a lot of things "tuned up" before you leave, like the furnace, and give instructions to the people checking on your home.

DebNJim B
07-30-2018, 04:46 PM
You may want to set that thermostat light up differently. If the power in the house goes out the heat is off and the light won't come on. I have one set so the light is on when it's warm and goes out if the temp drops too low. That way my neighbor knows if the light is off either the heat is off, the power is off, or the bulb has blown. Either way he needs to check it out.

07-30-2018, 05:11 PM
Thanks, good idea except I live in country and no real neighbors.