Water Heater / Plumbing in Empty House


My wife and I are selling our house in a nothern city (cold climate in winter). We now live in another city. Thus, there is no need for hot water, or for that matter, any water at all in the house. Because our city bills us a minimum usage charge for water / sewage, we are planning to have the city shut off the water to the house. We will leave the heat on in the house, but have turned the temp down to about 50F degrees.
In addition to the city shutting off the water outside the house, I am planning to shut off the main water valve inside our house. I also think I should probably shut off the hot water heater (gas) as well. Once that is done, I am planning to open all the faucets and drain the hot and cold water from the system, and place anti freeze in the drain catches afterwards.
Here are my main concerns:
1. Is it "bad" for the plumbing to leave the system open and empty for 6 months to a year like this?
2. Should I turn off the water heater (gas) altogether, or leave it on pilot? I was planning to turn it off altogether. Basically, I'm wondering if I leave the pilot on, will that generate enough heat to damage the bottom of the mostly empty hot water heater?
3. Should I leave the faucets open or closed once I've drained the system?
4. I wasn't planning to do anything with the washing machine, but is there something I should do? It's still connected as normal.
5. Should I flush and drain the toilet tank, or will leaving it dry cause problems when I turn on the water again later?
Is there anything else I should be considering?
Thanks for the comments...
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote: ...

Not particularly other than some seats or the toilet valves, etc., can (will?) harden and may require replacement if it is really a long time...

If there's no water in the tank, the gas ought to be off simply as a safety issue irrespective of anything else.

Don't see much real difference.

I wouldn't leave standing water in the lines,etc. If the water's off and the heat is on, it isn't going to freeze, but standing water will certainly create mold, odors, etc., that will quite likely really detract from value.

Same thing -- stagnant water for a long period of time is going to be a bad deal.

IMO, going this step is really going to make selling the house even that much more difficult. How much could the minimum monthly charge be you're trying to save? Do you have the house listed or are you just hoping someone will walk buy and see a sign in the yard and call from afar? Doesn't sound like a plan to really get a house sold if that is the actual objective.
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Thanks. Water / sewage fee is about $75 a quarter. House is listed with a realtor, who didn't think it would be a problem. We are considering turning everything back on in April / May for yardcare etc., but based on information we have, it is not likely that the house will have much sales traffic during the winter (there is no fee to have the water turned back on by the city).
Additionally, we are concerned about pipes bursting while we are not around to detect it and the ensuing water damage.
About the faucets, I just didn't know if leaving them open after draining the system would result in the piping drying completely out (as opposed to just draining most of the water) and whether leaving the system open and empty was worse for it than leaving it closed and empty.
dpb wrote:

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RP wrote:

you must put a low temp alarm in the home, one that calls a phone number or fashes a light so neighbors can report your home is too cold. otherwise serious damage can occur even with water off. stuff like ruined plaster walls.
vacant homes at at big risk for vandals. tell your homeowners company and rates will triple instantly. yet your required to tell them!
say something happens minor vandalism:( your homeowners will say no one living there, sorry you didnt inform us no coverage. they can use the lack of water and sewer to PROVE vacancy:(
IMHO having recently sold a home your better off leaving the water etc on, just turn OFF main valve so a broken pipe doesnt cause a flood.
sure you save 75 bucks a quarter but might discourage a single serious buyer
had a friend do this he left the basic phone service on and had a neighbor with key check on home and make call to prove the place wasnt vacant.:)
If you go ahead and turn off water put antifreeze in all traps like toilet in case of freezing
frankly if I were you 150 bucks is zip to save, and can cause more hassles than it solves
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RP wrote:

So you're talking about saving _maybe_ $150 if the minimum is a monthly fee or otoh, if it yearly quarterly, only roughly half that as this quarter is gone and you'd be on before the second quarter next year again, anyway. Meanwhile, anybody who _does_ come look at the house will try the sinks, stools, showers, etc., and find -- nothing! Not a feature likely to induce a feeling of "Let's buy this one, honey!" when you're in competition w/ other houses which do have water. If you're going that route, seems to me might as well go the rest of the way and shut off the power and heat as well and probably save more altho the disconnect/connect fees might eat it up, I don't know. Just my $0.02, imo, ymmv, etc., etc., etc., ... :)
Over a period of several months except for a puddle or two in a trap, perhaps, the residual water is going to evaporate slowly even if the faucets are closed, anyway. Everywhere except the few low points the system is going to dry out completely either way.
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congrats on moving. I hope your sale goes well.
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you know just ONE leaky seal etc from stuff getting dried out will likely cost more to fix than the cost of leaving the water on.
just close the main valve, leave note so shoppers can turn it back on if they want
home shooppers may suspect water off is trying to hide something.....
just make certain to alarm building in case furnace fails for some reason
whats the sales price of home? your trying to save 150 bucks top?
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You're asking for trouble!
Keep everything running. A home is like a machine.
It must run. In fact, you need someone to go in and run lights and water periodically or you're get bursting water pipes or worse.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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Yes, turning the water off may cost you a sale. Make arrangement with someone, trusted neighbor, relative, etc. to check on the house at leas one a week in mild weather, more in very cold weather. If I was a potential buyer and the house was empty, heat barely on, no water, I'd probably just move on to the next showing.
There are monitors for water flow or flooding. Get one and sleep better.
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the agent who sold my home said the key is getting shoppers to spend time in the home.....
at a chilly 50 degrees with no water it might encourage a FAST no sale visit.
you might be better off at 60 degrees, with their winter coats on they will be comfy.
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Can't see why it would matter

dishwasher both need special care.

toss some RV anti freeze in.

possible to avoid broken pipes in the lowest points. I have drains in the lowest points and blow the lines out with compressed air and still get an occasional burst pipe.
Are you sure you really want to do this? As a buyer I wouldn't be impressed. But if you do, try to be thorough and use lots of RV antifreeze all over.
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