Planning for a winter wonderland

This is the second in a three part series of columns dedicated to helping those who leave their home unattended for a period of time.

For this column I have interviewed Shane Jordi of Hansen Heating and Plumbing. Since 1946, Hansen Heating and Plumbing has been serving McHenry County and the surrounding area.

1. Specifically what should homeowners do themselves before they leave? Inside the home? Outside the home?

Inside the home, shut water off from main, open faucets, open cabinet doors under sinks, pour non toxic (rv) anti freeze in traps, remember floor drains and washing machine drain. Outside, disconnect all hoses from home and insure intake and exhaust from furnaces are un-obstructed. Turn water heater to vacation mode on thermostat.

2. With regards to the plumbing, what should be done when a homeowner returns from an extended absence?

Returning home, reverse the process slowly, fill the house and flush water lines throughout the house, and remember ice makers and water in refrigerator.

3. What advice do you have for homeowners that will be leaving their homes unattended during the winter months?

We would recommend having someone walk through the weekly depending on temperature, maybe install a winter watchman(small thermostat that plugs into a socket, and turns light on if temp drops below a set degree on thermostat), and setting a colored light in the front window for all to see if there is a problem in the house.

4. What, if anything, do you recommend that they request a plumbing professional to do prior to the home being unattended?

We offer a 24-hour emergency service. In extreme cases, we can winterize your home, drains, and water lines, using compressed air to remove all water. This service is usually used by real estate agents that have empty houses over the winter

5. If a homeowner leaves the water turned on while they are gone, what should be done by the person who is checking their home? How often should this be done?

If the water is left on during vacation, the house should be checked weekly, and in harsh temperatures, more often. A device such as lyric water detection can be linked to your phone through a router. Any security system can send alerts for water and temp, some newer thermostats offer this option too.

In the next column, we will discuss protecting your small appliances and ways to repel rodents.

Kathleen Carr is the owner of Assurance Home Service, Inc.,  a Home Watch company. She can be reached by calling 815-790-1247 or Have a question? Please contact her. She may address it in an upcoming column.

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