HVAC

Published on August 10th, 2012 | by Henri

0

Utilities in a temporarily empty house

Q.    My home has been on the market for several months and I am getting a little anxious as I would like to get settled in my new apartment before the bad weather arrives. I may have to move before the home is sold so I need advice on the safe way to handle all utilities. I will leave the gas and electricity on and use a timer for the electric. The water is what worries me as to what to do about the hot water tank which uses gas to heat the water.

The home is located in a very nice neighborhood and I have neighbors who will check things from outside. I also have a real estate broker who will be checking the home inside and outside.

A.    The safest thing you can do is to leave the gas and electricity on so that the water in your house will not freeze (it’s also better for any furniture left in the house as the cold can cause the joints to become loose). You can turn the gas off at the water heater or simply turn its thermostat as far back as it goes so the gas will only fire up when the tank’s temperature gets to this lowest point. Set the house thermostat at 50 degrees F.

I am not sure what you mean by using “a timer for the electric”; the only reason for using a timer is to put some lights on so the house looks lived-in at nightfall.

You can also buy a warning device that you place in a window for your neighbors to easily see, in case there is a power interruption that shuts off the furnace and it does not reset itself automatically when the power comes back on. When the temperature in the house gets below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C), a red light warning flashes to alert someone of the problem. Your neighbors (if they have a key) can call in a service person to activate the furnace again unless your real estate broker is willing to do so.

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