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Old 09-19-2011, 07:01 AM   #1
jerzeyjoe's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Forked River, NJ
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What do you do?

I have a question for those that do head south over the winter months... what precautions so you take to protect your stick house from the freezing temperatures in case of an extended power outage...I worry about bursting pipes if we were to loose electric for a few days due to an ice storm...I have hot water baseboard heat and I know I can have antifreeze put in that system.. do you drain the domestic water pipes?.. also since the USPS will only hold mail for 30 days do you forward your snail mail?... Joe

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Old 09-19-2011, 07:50 AM   #2
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Location: Marathon, Florida
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We have a wireless flood/freeze alarm that has a red light that goes in the window and flashes for the neighbors to see. Fortunately for us one who we are good friends with is in heating and a/c. One thing we did not consider is when going from a few weeks away on vacation to the entire winter the batteries don't last long enough. So I am thinking of upgrading to this one Amazon.com: Reliance Controls THP217 Automatic Phone-out Freeze Monitor: Home Improvement It would be connected to a BPS (back up power supply) and the phone line on FiOS also has a BPS. They are short lived but I am sure someone would let us know if the power was off for very long.

We have forced air heat so no worry about plumbing for that but we do drain the pipes by simply shutting off the water and opening the lowest valve, and outside spigot and connecting a garden hose to the hot water tank drain and run it outside to drain. It isn't as good insurance as filling the pipes with anti freeze but in the event of a freeze the water would at least not continue to run. I understand that your hot water heat plumbing can be filled with glycol to prevent freezing.

Mail wise we have a UPS mail box in Florida and change our address to there and have mail forwarded. UPS gives you a street type address not a PO box number. They will also sign for packages and will put a note in your box if there is something for you that will not fit. They can hold, forward and most anything else you can pay for. The one we use is also right next to the grocery store so it isn't much of a problem to stop. If you are with Good Sam show your card and they may give you 15% off.

Mark & Nancy
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:14 AM   #3
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Location: Snowbird - Waterford Mi and Citrus Springs Fl.
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Regarding the water, our insurance will pay to repair burst pipes due to power outages - but not the "resulting damage" due to any flooding that might occur afterward. To prevent that possibility, all we do is turn the water off.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:17 AM   #4
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Here in Virginia, I do a complete drain of all water in the house so that pipes are empty. BTW, they don't have to be "perfectly dry", just drained.

I turn off the house main valve (in my basement) as well as the city feed valve (in the front yard at the street) for double insurance. I drain toilets and then place car windshield-washer antifreeze (about 2 cups each) into all drains, toilet bowls and toilet tanks. I also pour the same antifreeze into the washing machine and dishwasher and run them briefly (with no incoming water) so that their "low spots" are flushed of pure water and protected with the antifreeze. Of course, I drain the hot water heater too. I shut off the gas (of my forced-air heating system)...which is to say that the house is allowed to freeze while we're gone. Done this for 5 years and all seems to be OK when I return. BTW, I do have a battery-backed-up sump pump in case of a grid power outage of several days.

As for mail, we use USPS "Premium Mail Forwarding" (PMF) which is expensive: about $12/week. USPS forwards all mail, weekly, to the address you specify. We've had good success with our local P.O. being somewhat flexible and changing the destination address occasionally because we seldom "stay in one place" over the winter.

What's good about PMF is that no "forwarding" info is introduced into the P.O. computers. PMF is accomplished by a local guy or gal in the local P.O. who stuffs all weekly mail into a USPS box .... and then addresses that box by hand. We've had lots of bad experience with the P.O. attempting to forward to another place (or forwarding service), and then attempting to cancel that forwarding order once we've returned home. They can't seem to get the cancelling action correct. So we negate future pain by paying the high price for PMF up front. Then we use their 30-day holding during the time we are making our return trip home.
Robi & Dale ---- Go Navy ----
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