Q: Can I safely leave the heat turned off in my cottage over winter? The floor is hardwood and I’m concerned about warping. I’m retired and don’t want to spend the $200 a month it costs to keep minimal heat on.
A: In my experience warping of floors is a function of moisture movement, not temperature change. If the floor has been stable for a number of years, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble leaving the heat off. Incrementally reduce the temperature, keeping your eye on the floor. I doubt you’ll have any issues, but it’s good to be sure. I live in cottage country and all the seasonal people I know leave the heat off all winter every winter in their cabins with no issues.
If you leave the heat OFF all winter, of course you’ll need to winterize the water system. You could drain the pipes of water, but this is always a bit risky. Water can remain in pipes and condensation can develop after draining and pool in low spots, splitting pipes as the water freezes. One option for winterizing water systems that I especially like is made by a plumber in northern Ontario, near where I live. It’s called The Clozer, and it makes it easy to inject non-toxic plumbing anti-freeze in all pipes and drain traps. This is the only practical way to winterize items like washing machines, dish washers and fridges with water dispensers.
Click below to see how The Clozer works. It’s a pretty interesting little invention made by plumber Brian Feeney who got tired of fixing split cottage pipes each spring.