Long vacation with hot water heating system

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krishmunn

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We have forced hot water heating system . The system is over 20/25 years old but still going strong.

We will be out of country for a month during Jan/Feb and a bit concerned about what happens if it breaks. Winter is brutal here in New England and a prolonged period with no heat will likely cause a pipe burst

I am trying to figure out what is the nest approach --
I was thinking of Wrapping heating cable on the main line
Got an advice to shut off the main so that damage is minimal if there is a failure

Is both the above combined the best approach or is there anything else that I can do

Also, I am planning to drain water from water heater (just open the near hot water faucet). Should the water heater (Gas) be turned off after water is drained out or can it remain turned on ?
 
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Tuttles Revenge

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If the heat is off you would have to do extensive winterizing of your home. Drain and blow out all the water piping. RV antifreeze of all your fixtures and especially the toilet. Banks learned the hard way back in 09 when they foreclosed on so many homes and didn't hire anyone to winterize.. lots of flooded out vacant homes. Yuck. Maybe sublet your place? Or have someone stop in on occasion, even if you do winterize.
 

jadziedzic

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Definitely turn off the water heater if you drain it.

Assuming your house has WiFi available, perhaps purchase a couple of net-connected temperature sensors that would alert you to falling temperatures in the house. (You can probably get ones that use cellular connections instead.) Make arrangements with a local heating company to leave them a key so they can get into the house if you detect a loss of heat?
 

krishmunn

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Thanks all
I think I did not construe the question right at least for part.

My question is -- is it ok to turn off water of whole house. I thought the hot water heating system is closed system and unless there is a leak, it will run even with the main turned off ?
 

John Gayewski

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Thanks all
I think I did not construe the question right at least for part.

My question is -- is it ok to turn off water of whole house. I thought the hot water heating system is closed system and unless there is a leak, it will run even with the main turned off ?
Yes it will run with the water off, but the damage will still be extensive even with the water off. Simply because ALL of the components will have water in them and they will break.

You need a way to monitor your system through the internet on your phone. This could be done in several ways. You'll also need someone you can call in case something does happen.

You need to check your home insurance. They may require some kind of daily inspections when you go on vacations. I've worked on someone's home who went south for the winter and their insurance wouldn't cover them because they were gone longer than a month without a house sitter.
 

jadnashua

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FWIW, I have a hydronic system, and I have an internet connected thermostat. Almost two years ago, I had a stroke and crashed my plane...while I was in the hospital, I checked my thermostat one day and found that the house was colder than the set point of the thermostat...had my neighbor come over, and all it took was a reset. Don't know why it needed that, but it hasn't happened again...it could have been messy, but I'm in a townhouse with only two outside walls, so it may not have gotten cold enough to freeze, but it could. If your utility hasn't used up all of it's energy efficiency program funds for the year, you can get up to (I think) $100 back on a smart thermostat, making that investment a little less expensive along with some of the sales going on right now, and, one should save about 10% on your energy bill, and pay for itself within the year. When I bought mine about this time of year, I found that my utility had exhausted their available funds for this, and missed out on it...if I'd know, I probably would have waited until the next January, but hey, they aren't really all that expensive.
 
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