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Author Topic: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.  (Read 542 times)

therealsimpsons

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Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« on: September 23, 2017, 10:21:26 PM »
We are leaving for a 90+ day trip to Florida over the winter. It will be the first time since we moved "out in the country", where we don't have city water or sewer. We now have well & septic.  Are there any pre-trip preparations necessary that are different with well & septic?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.
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Sun2Retire

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 10:32:28 PM »
Are there any pre-trip preparations necessary that are different with well & septic?


When I was on septic and left for awhile I'd take that opportunity to do a Rid-X treatment just before leaving; works best when additional liquid isn't being added to the system. Didn't do anything special with the well.
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Rene T

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2017, 06:44:21 AM »
We are leaving for a 90+ day trip to Florida over the winter. It will be the first time since we moved "out in the country", where we don't have city water or sewer. We now have well & septic.  Are there any pre-trip preparations necessary that are different with well & septic?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

There quite a few things I do to prepare the house but for now, the only thing I do relative to the septic is put a teaspoon full of vegetable oil in all the traps and about 1/2 cup in the toilets. This stops the water from evaporating and eliminating a stinky house when you return. 
I keep the heat set at 55. I leave my well pump on just in case my forced hot water heating systems requires water to replenish it through the pressure regulating valve. I piped up my plumbing so the rest of the house is shut off except the water going to the furnace.

See you in FL. Safe travels. 
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 06:45:53 AM by Rene T »
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ruthandken CDN

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2017, 07:15:47 AM »
I also live in the country and have a well and septic system.  I have several 'things' that are needed for the well.  There is an UV light, water softener system, regular filter system and an ozonator.   Because I turn off the water value from the well, and these 'thing's all require water to run, I unplug all of them.  I also unplug the hot water heater as it is a high efficiency unit and has a electric fan unit on the top of it.  I also turn off the propane to the heater.  By turning off all the water I don't risk a flooding issue if a pipe bursts.  I also cover each toilet bowl with Saran Wrap to stop them from drying out and allow smells into the house.  I close all drains from sinks, tubs etc which helps to stop the trap from drying out also.  Turn down the furnace and that's pretty much it.  I know it seems like a lot but it only takes a few minutes to do.  We are also gone for 3 months.  A neighbour keeps an eye on the house in our absence.
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Conquest2011

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2017, 07:41:45 AM »
I am assuming you live far enough north where you have freezing temperatures. This is what I do even with thermostat set at 55. With that condition, I drain the toilet flush tank, add RV or regular anti freeze to toilet tank and then flush (get the anti freeze inside the bowl) and add it to the toilet bowl and all drain traps. If you have a water conditioner disconnect and empty the water, shut the power off to well pump and empty the water pressure tank, drain dishwasher, washing machine pump, drain reverse osmosis water system and drain water heater, more than likely it will need a good flushing since I am on a well. Drain all plumbing evening if I am plan on heating the house. I have come home from a long trip over the winter to find the house without power and water lines frozen, luckily nothing was broken. Heck, it was warmer outside then it was inside, so I opened all the windows to get it warmer inside.  So now, I drain everything. Probably over kill, but I know I won't have to fix or replace frozen pipes or appliances. It don't take much to re-charge the water systems. If I am away for a month, then I will a friend come by and check on the house especially after a power failure or extremely cold temperatures.  I like leaving and having no house worries.
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whokares2

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2017, 07:42:02 AM »
I agree with shutting OFF the well not leaving it on.  Washing machine hoses have been known to fail at the most inopportune times.  I just shut off the breakers to pump.  If you have a electric garage door opener I would unplug it also.
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Charlie 5320

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2017, 08:01:47 AM »
I would also check your homeowners policy. I just checked mine and it states if the home is abandoned for more than 60 consecutive days the policy is voided. Something to think about, read your policy. My son has agreed to stay in my home for a few days a month when I decide to take an extended trip. I also live in the country, but my neighbors have my sons and my contact number in case of an emergency.   
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2017, 08:10:28 AM »
     Similar to Rene, we have hot water baseboard heat, but I shut off the city water and have our SIL or daughter turn it on and then off again when they check the house every week.  We have added a temperature and a fire sensor to our alarm system.  This saved problems a couple of years ago when the furnace broke down, our daughter got the call from our monitoring company and she was able to have the furnace company come and quickly repair the sensor, with no damage done.
    Check with your insurance provider to find out their requirements.  Ours requires the house be checked once a week, the driveway and walks shovelled, and generally have a lived in appearance.  We shut off, unplug any appliance that might draw electricity while away that is not necessary, TV, cable box, wifi, hot tap, etc.  We also place our phone, internet and cable on seasonal suspension.  The phone company can do that while allowing our alarm company number to work.
   Since we travel for long periods, we have placed most bills on automatic debit, and virtually all bills on internet billing.
   Enjoy your first extended trip, we sure did.

Ed
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Rene T

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2017, 08:16:28 AM »
I drain the toilet flush tank, add RV or regular anti freeze to toilet tank and then flush (get the anti freeze inside the bowl) and add it to the toilet bowl and all drain traps.

I would never use regular antifreeze because I have a septic system and it could possible upset the natural breaking down action by the microbes. Don't know it those are the correct words. Now RV antifreeze is biodegradable so that may work without disruption of the system. Now I say may work but even then, I would not use any type of antifreeze in a septic system.

If you're concerned about freezing the toilet bowl and tank, just sponge out all the water.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 07:32:50 AM by Rene T »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2017, 08:45:27 AM »
Quote
it states if the home is abandoned for more than 60 consecutive days the policy is voided.

That is a remote but real concern.  The key may be the word "abandoned" vs "unoccupied" or other wording. Many residential policies have some verbage about the place being in use as a private residence or similar wording. Read your policy carefully and ask an agent to officially explain whatever terms may be used. Make sure there is no statement of an actual time limit on "nobody home", e.g. 60 days.  Take notes and record the date/time of the conversation and the name of the agent.

When talking with my insurer (just filed an Irma claim and had another storm damage claim last year), I'm always careful to describe us being "away on vacation" or "traveling in our RV" and avoid using phrases like "the house is empty", which may set off alarms in their minds. Leaving some of your personal possessions there is one way to demonstrate the place is not abandoned, and so is having a definite plan of when you will return.  Also, having someone check it regularly mitigates against the insurer classifying it as "abandoned" or unattended.
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Charlie 5320

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2017, 09:05:32 AM »
[ Leaving some of your personal possessions there is one way to demonstrate the place is not abandoned, and so is having a definite plan of when you will return.  Also, having someone check it regularly mitigates against the insurer classifying it as "abandoned" or unattended.]

Gary this may be your opinion, but NOT mine after I read my policy. Abandonment could be interpreted different by different people. Something I will not challenge the insurance company on, if something were to happen while I was away on an extended trip.  You know they don't put that clause in the policy for nothing.
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QZ

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2017, 09:30:09 AM »
I would also check your homeowners policy. I just checked mine and it states if the home is abandoned for more than 60 consecutive days the policy is voided. Something to think about, read your policy. My son has agreed to stay in my home for a few days a month when I decide to take an extended trip. I also live in the country, but my neighbors have my sons and my contact number in case of an emergency.

I went through this issue with three companies that all said it's nothing to worry about except they would not give it to me in writing. One of them even got snotty when I when I inquired at their main office.  All my insurance is now with Citizens who gave it to me in writing and an email and says that they know i will be gone for 6 months and the property is snowed in. Where I am it gets cold enough to burst pipes so everything is shut off and the pipes are all blown out. I also try to turn off as many 120 v circuits as possible and unplug any wall transformers, clocks or electronics. Things like microwaves have been known to catch  fire even when not being used.



« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 09:33:26 AM by QZ »

Alfa38User

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2017, 09:46:29 AM »
Our home policy dictates that we have someone visit regularly to check heating etc. and a neighbour does that for us. We do not turn the water off as that can (and has) result in a frozen entry pipe. We have (in the past) left the toilet running but have now switched to the bathtub on a small trickle for better volume/flow. We do cut off the internet (email continues working) and satellite TV but leave the phone up and running, transferring it to an internet phone with a local number (MagicJack) and answering it in our winter home. Makes it easy for the kids/neighbours to call as no long distance charges are involved. Also masks the fact we are not home to the odd aluminum window sales people. We turn the heating down to about 55º or so. The driveway is kept plowed out by a contractor. Mail is transferred to our USA address although all the normal bills (Telephone, Gas, Electric, etc) are paid auto-magically from the bank account. Re-thinking that one as it is expensive and the neighbour goes to her box (next to ours) on a regular basis anyway. The pension cheques are auto deposits as well.

The automobile policy requires we advise them we will be spending (driving) 5 months in USA and they acknowledge this with a note confirming it. There used to be an addition charge but that was dropped several years ago.
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Sprucegum

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2017, 11:53:21 AM »
I wired a light bulb to a thermostat (I am a redneck) and hung it in a window that my neighbor can see from his kitchen. If the temperature in the house drops below 50F the light comes on and he will check it out.
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Dvan

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2017, 12:36:36 PM »
I wired a light bulb to a thermostat (I am a redneck) and hung it in a window that my neighbor can see from his kitchen. If the temperature in the house drops below 50F the light comes on and he will check it out.


That is genius
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Rene T

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2017, 03:33:24 PM »

That is genius

I heard of a guy one time installing a small night light under his thermostat. When the light was on at night, the thermostat sensed the heat and the furnace did not run. When the sun came up and the light went out, the thermostat would turn on the furnace.
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Stephen S.

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2017, 05:51:47 PM »
I wired a light bulb to a thermostat (I am a redneck) and hung it in a window that my neighbor can see from his kitchen. If the temperature in the house drops below 50F the light comes on and he will check it out.

A heat tape thermostat cube and a desk lamp. Buy them at any Walmart.

Now to really go redneck... salvage an emergency light with battery backup. Use colored lamps so it is obvious that it is the emergency light shining. That will tell your neighbor that the power is off.
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2017, 05:34:56 AM »
   I donno, I paid the alarm company $25 each for the fire and temperature sensors, they do not charge anything additional to monitor them, or to monitor if the power is on.  In my opinion, much safer than any DIY contraption I could ever build, plus my insurance company gives me a reduction in my annual premium for having the house monitored.
   Just my 2 cents worth, but in Canada that means it is worth nothing as we do not use pennies anymore and it would round down to zero.   ::)

Ed
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2017, 07:07:34 AM »
... drain the toilet flush tank, add RV or regular anti freeze to toilet tank ...

Automotive antifreeze is toxic and must be disposed of properly. It is never acceptable to pour it down the drain.
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Rene T

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2017, 07:33:43 AM »
Automotive antifreeze is toxic and must be disposed of properly. It is never acceptable to pour it down the drain.

X3.  Almost my exact words.
Rene & Lucille & co-pilot Buddy
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From the Granite State of NH
& Florida Snowbird in Lakeland FL

therealsimpsons

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2017, 11:10:56 PM »
Thank you for the replies and advice. Some research to do based on the comments received. Much appreciated.
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garyb1st

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2017, 11:17:57 AM »
Just checked my policy.  Two exclusions apply when a home is vacant for more than 30 days.  One, for glass breakage and one for vandalism.  However in both cases, the exclusion applies only with respect to personal property.  The portion of the policy that pertains to the dwelling itself has no such exclusions.  The term vacant is not defined consequently it likely includes the term unoccupied

When reading your policy, make sure you check both not only the insurance agreement, but the conditions and exclusions.  Sometimes an exclusion is found as a limitation to an insuring agreement. 

For those of you who don't want to spend hours trying to understand the coverage when at the end of the day, you've probably missed something, just ask your insurance company or agent.  Make sure they respond in writing. 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Preparing Sticks & Bricks for extended absence.
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2017, 11:31:33 AM »
Quote
The term vacant is not defined consequently it likely includes the term unoccupied. 

I would not assume that, but it is certainly within the realm of possibility. That term needs careful and formal advice from an official rep of the insurer before a claim arises.   Most courts consider a place to be occupied as long as you have belongings there and an intent to return and stay in residence, but that determination is subjective.   Being [temporarily] absent from your home is generally not the same as leaving a house "vacant", but again that needs to be clarified by a company agent.  Make it clear that your absence will be temporary and that you still consider it your home.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
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Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

 

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