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  • FIRST POST
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 28th Oct 18, 3:00 PM
    • 15Posts
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    ShadyCharacter
    Bad idea not to keep heating on low during Winter..?
    • #1
    • 28th Oct 18, 3:00 PM
    Bad idea not to keep heating on low during Winter..? 28th Oct 18 at 3:00 PM
    Hello everyone,

    I have a house over in Wales in the valleys which is going to be unoccupied until next year. I wonder if anybody out there knows whether it would be all right to leave the heating off during the Winter? As I've heard that that could potentially cause the pipes to freeze, which would result in a more expensive problem to fix than the cost of keeping the heating on low.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
Page 1
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 28th Oct 18, 3:37 PM
    • 15,140 Posts
    • 20,738 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    • #2
    • 28th Oct 18, 3:37 PM
    • #2
    • 28th Oct 18, 3:37 PM
    We keep the heating set at 12 degrees minimum in our local church (built 1300 and something) year round. Apparently, this will significantly help prevent deterioration of the fabric of the building due to damp and insects etc. Gas bill is around £2k a year.

    Cheap compared to restoration costs.

    When we are away, our house heating is set to come on if temperature drops below 7 degrees.
    Last edited by Gloomendoom; 28-10-2018 at 3:40 PM.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
    • welshbookworm
    • By welshbookworm 28th Oct 18, 3:45 PM
    • 2,596 Posts
    • 6,744 Thanks
    welshbookworm
    • #3
    • 28th Oct 18, 3:45 PM
    • #3
    • 28th Oct 18, 3:45 PM
    Prince Charles advised Camilla to stop wasting energy during the winter by heating her swimming pool at Ray Mill, her house near the picturesque Wiltshire village of Lacock.
    She did as he suggested — even though she’d been advised by professionals to keep the heating on in order to avoid the pipes freezing and bursting and causing damage to the pump.
    And as they’d predicted, that’s precisely what happened — resulting in a repair bill for thousands of pounds.
    Would have been cheaper to keep the heating on
    The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 28th Oct 18, 4:00 PM
    • 33,479 Posts
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    getmore4less
    • #4
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:00 PM
    • #4
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:00 PM
    I have ours set to 5c with the water tank set to 10c

    When away last winter house went under 10 but stayed above 5 a sunny day it gets a bit of heat gain.

    You could install a connected themostat with Internet access and control remotely.
    • Apodemus
    • By Apodemus 28th Oct 18, 4:27 PM
    • 1,147 Posts
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    Apodemus
    • #5
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:27 PM
    • #5
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:27 PM
    If the house really is unoccupied you have the option to drain down the system and leave it unheated, which is possibly the most MSE answer!
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 28th Oct 18, 4:36 PM
    • 3,275 Posts
    • 3,404 Thanks
    LadyDee
    • #6
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:36 PM
    • #6
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:36 PM
    I left my home empty for 3 months during the winter, and a plumber advised me to set the thermostat to 5degrees (frost setting). Insurance company actually asked me about this when I rang to tell them the house would be empty.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 28th Oct 18, 4:41 PM
    • 8,014 Posts
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    EachPenny
    • #7
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:41 PM
    • #7
    • 28th Oct 18, 4:41 PM
    She did as he suggested — even though she’d been advised by professionals to keep the heating on in order to avoid the pipes freezing and bursting and causing damage to the pump.
    And as they’d predicted, that’s precisely what happened — resulting in a repair bill for thousands of pounds.
    Originally posted by welshbookworm
    I'm surprised the professionals didn't point out the possibility of draining down the pipework and pump, possibly even disconnecting vulnerable components and moving them to warm storage. Which would have been cheaper than heating the pool or carrying out repairs.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • d0nkeyk0ng
    • By d0nkeyk0ng 28th Oct 18, 5:00 PM
    • 653 Posts
    • 238 Thanks
    d0nkeyk0ng
    • #8
    • 28th Oct 18, 5:00 PM
    • #8
    • 28th Oct 18, 5:00 PM
    As others have pointed out, you may have a frost setting on your thermostat. Ours is set at 5*C whether the thermostat is in holiday mode or normal mode. Draining down would be a better solution.
    • Slinky
    • By Slinky 28th Oct 18, 5:15 PM
    • 5,587 Posts
    • 26,244 Thanks
    Slinky
    • #9
    • 28th Oct 18, 5:15 PM
    • #9
    • 28th Oct 18, 5:15 PM
    Word of warning if you go into your house when it's been on a very low theromostat and whack the heating straight back onto a normal temperature. We had condensation pouring down the wooden rafters in the loft when OH did this for 3 weeks when he was away one winter.
    • Fire Fox
    • By Fire Fox 28th Oct 18, 5:16 PM
    • 23,985 Posts
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    Fire Fox
    It would be worth also consulting your insurance companies: they may well have rules or guidelines for just such a situation.
    What a difference a day makes, twenty four little hours.
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 3rd Nov 18, 4:51 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ShadyCharacter
    Wow, so many great replies! It seems the general consensus is to keep the thermostat on a frost setting/minimum 5 degrees or to drain the pipework. Draining the pipework would obviously be cheaper, but is this something I would have to get a plumber for, or is it something that anybody with a quarter of a braincell can do (i.e. me)?
    • jk0
    • By jk0 3rd Nov 18, 5:03 PM
    • 2,532 Posts
    • 25,638 Thanks
    jk0
    I'd set it to at least 12 degrees. (It's to do with the dewpoint, and preventing condensation inside walls.)


    Personally my vacant properties are never under 15.
    • melanzana
    • By melanzana 3rd Nov 18, 5:07 PM
    • 2,797 Posts
    • 7,515 Thanks
    melanzana
    Prince Charles advised Camilla to stop wasting energy during the winter by heating her swimming pool at Ray Mill, her house near the picturesque Wiltshire village of Lacock.
    She did as he suggested — even though she’d been advised by professionals to keep the heating on in order to avoid the pipes freezing and bursting and causing damage to the pump.
    And as they’d predicted, that’s precisely what happened — resulting in a repair bill for thousands of pounds.
    Would have been cheaper to keep the heating on
    Originally posted by welshbookworm
    Now I doubt very much that Camilla would have to worry financially about anything like that really.
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 3rd Nov 18, 5:23 PM
    • 8,328 Posts
    • 26,139 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    We drain our Welsh system every year, and have figured out more and cunningly lower down taps.

    As far as we're concerned, you run on every tap in the house, turn off the water coming in & wait for the trickling to stop.
    We have an additional tap by the stopcock, which is about half an inch off the floor & we have carefully rotated baking trays to catch the escaping remaining water til we are reasonably sure the system is dry.

    In Spring, we have offspring at the stopcock & in the attic by the water tank, with torches, watching for leaks from pipes up in the attic. Any seen triggers a sequence of yells til the water is turned off, the pipe fixed & the water turned back on again. Restful & easy it isn't, but it does work, it's a family bonding experience, you learn to really appreciate someone who can swap out a length of water pipe in under 3 minutes & it is all Much Cheaper than trying to heat the place sufficiently to stop it freezing.

    If it takes a couple of years to master, every leak is an inspiration to try harder & a chance to improve your plumbing skills.
    • 25 Years On
    • By 25 Years On 3rd Nov 18, 6:13 PM
    • 203 Posts
    • 348 Thanks
    25 Years On
    My insurance for a regularly empty house said the temperature needed to be kept at 12 degrees Celsius.
    • ShadyCharacter
    • By ShadyCharacter 8th Nov 18, 8:31 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    ShadyCharacter
    Okay, perhaps 12 degrees would be better then. Unfortunately I'll be on my own (& not very confident either!), so draining the system sounds like it's not an option... Thanks a lot for all of your replies! I hope keeping the heating on isn't going to cost too much.....

    Oh by the way, does anybody have any advice for what month it would be safe to turn the heating off again (i.e. when it gets sufficiently warm again)?
    • PhilE
    • By PhilE 9th Nov 18, 12:05 AM
    • 374 Posts
    • 225 Thanks
    PhilE
    Around 12-14 degrees, if you want to be safe from mold. gov.uk state 14, when I'm out I have mine at 13 with a dehumidifier on.

    You really need to air a house out, even with heating on, for about half an hour a day. Can anyone come by and open the windows for a while?
    • Uxb
    • By Uxb 10th Nov 18, 6:49 PM
    • 1,240 Posts
    • 1,358 Thanks
    Uxb
    I would add that insurance may also specific the dates between which anti-frost protections shall be put in place - usually end of Nov to end of Mar.
    Also they may specify (and I have seen this) that during those periods the loft hatch shall be left open
    (not much point in keeping the house just frost free if the loft is as a result going to sub-zero).

    Edit:
    I usually say the main frost risk is in Jan /Feb when there is not much sun to warm things up and you may get whole days when it is below freezing particular when accompanied by freezing fog -this is the ultra high risk periods.
    By March, although we get cold nights by and large the entire days are not below freezing.
    Last edited by Uxb; 10-11-2018 at 6:54 PM.
    • coffeehound
    • By coffeehound 10th Nov 18, 7:16 PM
    • 2,042 Posts
    • 3,186 Thanks
    coffeehound
    You could follow the advice of the Telegraph columnist and run your boiler (full time) at a low radiator circuit temperature setting which should improve its efficiency.

    This comment should be tempered by a warning to check first that running in this way provides enough heat to stay on top of the situation as it will depend on a range of factors though.

    However, I heated a stone-built semi with boiler temperature on minimum 24/7 and it was able to maintain 17C during last December’s freezing spell. Probably higher temperature would have been possible too. It does mean the boiler runs a lot of the time.
    .
    Last edited by coffeehound; 10-11-2018 at 7:22 PM.
    • bob_a_builder
    • By bob_a_builder 10th Nov 18, 11:06 PM
    • 1,615 Posts
    • 789 Thanks
    bob_a_builder
    It would be worth also consulting your insurance companies: they may well have rules or guidelines for just such a situation.
    Originally posted by Fire Fox
    Recently took out unoccupied insurance on my mum house and one of the conditions is that the system is either drained or set to be constantly ON ( not timed) with a min temp of 12 deg, from 1st Nov to 1st March

    Also house has to be inspected every 30 days ( and records kept ) to maintain cover
    Last edited by bob_a_builder; 10-11-2018 at 11:11 PM.
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