How to Properly Heat an Empty House in Wintertime

Even if a house is empty, it should still be heated during winter. Although Charlotte’s winters are relatively mild compared to those in the Northeast, it’s entirely possible for homes here to suffer damage if unproperly heated during a freeze! Whether you’ve got a vacation home, a vacant rental property, or are simply going to be away from the property for a while, here’s what to know about heating your empty house in winter.

Prepare the Pipes
The biggest concern regarding a vacant home in winter, of course, is frozen pipes. There are a few things you can to ensure that when temperatures dip, your pipes won’t burst. First, confirm the main water valve is operational; if it’s old and malfunctioning, call the city to put in a request for replacement.

If the property will be vacant for a while, shutting off the water supply and draining all the valves isn’t a bad idea. Either way, make sure to insulate any pipes exposed to the outside air, such as those in the crawlspace or basement.

Set the Thermostat
When a home is vacant, it’s important to strike the ideal balance between keeping it toocold, elevating the freeze risk, and keeping it too warm, wasting money on energy costs. When you prepare a house for vacancy, leave the heat ON (in case of a sudden cold snap) and set the thermostat for somewhere between 50-55 degrees.

Digital thermostats are a great fit for vacant homes! Some can even sense when a home isn’t being used and adjust themselves accordingly. Programmable thermostats that operate via app even allow you to turn the heat back up before you return to use the property.

Check the Humidity Levels
It’s important that your home’s humidity level stay relatively constant during winter. This prevents paint from cracking, wood from warping, and it also protects your house in the event of a deep freeze.

Older homes, in particular, tend to have a harder time regulating humidity levels; do what you can to insulate air leaks, attic spaces, and door jambs to prevent the outside air conditions to affect the moisture level in the home before you lock it up.

Leaving a home vacant for the season? Contact the pros at MTB Mechanical today to prepare your HVAC for winter’s chill. A little preparation now can go a long way towards ensuring your home is safe, dry, and ready to inhabit once you come back home.
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