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Going away for 4 weeks - heating on or off?

(43 Posts)
grendel Thu 11-Dec-08 10:30:29

We are in the happy position of buggering off to NZ for 4 weeks, just before Christmas for our trip of a lifetime.

I've never been away for so long before and I'm slightly worried about leaving the house unheated for that length of time in the middle of winter.

I'm thinking of leaving the heating on for the minimum time (0.5 hour morning and evening) but with the thermostat set really low so that it'll only come on if the house gets really cold. (We live in a modern fairly well insulated house in East Anglia.)

Is this mad or a good idea? And if it is a good idea, any suggestions as to what temperature? I'm thinking maybe 12 degrees?

Thanks for any advice.

DoesntChristmasDragOn Thu 11-Dec-08 10:32:32

You need to have it come on when it's coldest - ie the middle of the night.

WowOoo Thu 11-Dec-08 10:34:59

Def a good idea, if you leave it off house will be freezing when you get back and perhaps smell funny too.
We did this a few years ago. Set ours to come on for 45 mins in am and pm at 16 degrees. Not sure why we put it so high!

RTKangaSANTAMummy Thu 11-Dec-08 10:35:05

In one house we drain all the water and turn heating off and in other we leave heating on @ 16

The 1st one has storage heating so the heating and water are separate but in 2nd the water and radiators are combined so more complicated to drain all water off

So what kind of heating do you have ie is it water and heat combined in same system or can you drain off easily?

NotQuiteCockney Thu 11-Dec-08 10:38:33

The only real risk is if your pipes freeze. That doesn't really happen in this country, not outside the wilds of Scotland.

mishymoo Thu 11-Dec-08 10:38:44

I would leave it to come on once in the morning and once in the evening at 16oC! That way your pipes shouldn't freeze either!

purpleduckUnderTheMistletoe Thu 11-Dec-08 10:39:35

I would wrap the pipes that are close to outside -ie the pipes under the kitchen sink if it is next to an outside wall. Hopefully that would insulate them and stop them from bursting if there is a very cold snap.

Also would put heat on a timer.

RTKangaSANTAMummy Thu 11-Dec-08 10:40:30

I beg to differ we have had burst pipes twice in London

GrimmaTheNome Thu 11-Dec-08 10:43:33

Pipes DO freeze in this country! Certainly in Yorkshire and Lancashire as we've had it happen in both.

Don't leave unheated unless you can drain evrything.

If your house is fairly modern, do you have thermostatic radiator valves with a frost setting?

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Thu 11-Dec-08 10:44:00

I would keep it on v. low to come on early in the night and go off after dawn. 12C sounds good to me.
NQC - we once had the pipe that drains our bath freeze. Couldnt have a bath for a couple of days cos the water wouldnt go down! We are 'down south'. Not had a winter like it since but this winter so far has been colder than recent winters.

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Thu 11-Dec-08 10:45:29

oh...... GTN - is that what the little snowflake image means on the TRVs?
[thickie]

mrsruffallo Thu 11-Dec-08 10:46:50

I think it is environmentally irresponsible to leave it on at all.
Just put it on when you get back

NotQuiteCockney Thu 11-Dec-08 10:50:23

Oh, fair enough. Weird though, it's meant to be much more possible back home, certainly our winters are often -20 at night, but I've never had a pipe burst, don't think I left my heat on when I went away.

RTKangaSANTAMummy Thu 11-Dec-08 10:53:53

NQC

I think it depends on the house and the houses that I lived in in Canada were far more efficeint and warmer even in the -20 temps.

Here we ahve a problem with some of the older houses and them not being so efficient at keeping cold out and warm in combined with old pipes

TinselianAstra Thu 11-Dec-08 10:57:39

I have exactly the same question, but for January, and we live in a flat. Will the warmth of the other flats keep ours from freezing?

ClausImWorthIt Thu 11-Dec-08 11:00:01

I'd leave it on constant, but turn the thermostat down to about 12 or 13 - that way it will come on if it's really cold, but will mostly be off.

Am very envy of your holiday, btw! We had 3 weeks in Oz in the summer and it was fantastic.

geordieminx Thu 11-Dec-08 11:04:23

Friend lives in Edinburgh town, went back to Aus for 4 week last xmas - pipes froze, flodded house - everything wrecked beyond replair - luckily thr insurance company have been good - have moved them (+dd who was 9 months) into a lovely flat, but 1 year on they are still not back in their house due to all the drying out/works/rewiring/plastering blah blah blah

OhYouMerryMerryKitten Thu 11-Dec-08 11:10:37

Claus - thats a sensible option rather than guessing when its going to be cold!

MmeHereWeGoAWassailLindt Thu 11-Dec-08 11:11:54

Definitely don't leave heating off, the house will be freezing when you come home. It will take days for the walls to warm through again.

We often go home for Xmas and leave the heating on low to avoid this.

I would ask a friend / neighbour to pop in a few days befoe you return and put the heating on properly again. My PIL forgot to do this one year (or knowing him, decided it was a waste of money) and I was wore 3 jumpers for the first 24 hours as it was so cold.

MmeHereWeGoAWassailLindt Thu 11-Dec-08 11:11:58

Definitely don't leave heating off, the house will be freezing when you come home. It will take days for the walls to warm through again.

We often go home for Xmas and leave the heating on low to avoid this.

I would ask a friend / neighbour to pop in a few days befoe you return and put the heating on properly again. My PIL forgot to do this one year (or knowing him, decided it was a waste of money) and I was wore 3 jumpers for the first 24 hours as it was so cold.

RTKangaSANTAMummy Thu 11-Dec-08 11:16:20

Also if your water tank is in loft open the trap door to let the heat go up there to stop them freezing esp if you have loft insulated from celing to loft

mrsruffallo Thu 11-Dec-08 11:17:05

What's wrong with wearing jumpers forthe day?
Being environmentally responsible does mean a little inconvenience occasionally. I don't understand this attitude at all- heating is a luxury and to have it on in an empty house is very wasteful

RTKangaSANTAMummy Thu 11-Dec-08 11:20:20

but if your pipes burst and ruins walls, beds, carpets, books, photos and furniture

and how is that good for the enviroment??????

mrsruffallo Thu 11-Dec-08 11:24:48

Would that be a problem in a modern well insulated house?

MmeHereWeGoAWassailLindt Thu 11-Dec-08 11:29:13

My way of looking at it is that we had the heating on fullblast nonstop for days to get the house heated up again. You could feel the cold coming out if the walls in waves. It was so cold I slept in jumpers. And wore a hat indoors.

Maybe I am not environmentally friendly but I am not willing to freeze my arse off.

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