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
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
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
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...
Not particularly other than some seats or the toilet valves, etc., can
(will?) harden and may require replacement if it is really a long
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
whats the sales price of home? your trying to save 150 bucks top?
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.
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.
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
you might be better off at 60 degrees, with their winter coats on they
will be comfy.
My cottage has been winterized for 40 years. Hasn't hurt it yet.
Turn it off completely.
Can't see why it would matter
All appliances come with winterizing instructions. The washing machine and
dishwasher both need special care.
Get as much water out as you can, with either a sponge or a pump, and then
toss some RV anti freeze in.
Unless your lines have drains in them to allow for draining it might not be
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
But if you do, try to be thorough and use lots of RV antifreeze all over.
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